This Man Was Sentenced to 1000 Years at 17, and They Won't Reconsider

| by Cassandra Cassillas

A Florida state appeals court has ruled to uphold the 1000-year-sentence of a man convicted of twenty criminal felonies at the age of 17.

The Times-Union reports that in 1984, Arthur O’Derrell Franklin, now 48, abducted and raped three Jacksonville women. He was convicted on multiple counts of armed sexual battery, kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault with a judge holding a retainer on one-third of his sentence – or basically disqualifying him for parole for 333 years.

The Times-Union referred to the original news clippings. They report that the incident devastated the three victims, which each spoke of during the trial – one woman said the attack had “shattered her life and marriage,” another said she had been “permanently crippled,” and the third said she’d “lost control of her life while dealing with what happened.”

They also included Franklin’s statement before he was sentenced.

“I would like to say I’m sorry about what happened to the victims,” Franklin told the judge. “I wouldn’t mind getting another chance to prove I am a man and not an animal.”

They report Judge Donald Moran telling Franklin, and the other man involved, that “they were never getting out of prison while they were alive.”

Franklin appears to have forgotten the judge’s words. When he appealed to the courts, he argued that his sentence was unconstitutional according to the 2010 Supreme Court Case Graham vs. Florida, which states that juveniles cannot get life without parole for non-homicide offenses.

The court stated that the sentence would stand since Franklin was now eligible for parole. The Times-Union reports Circuit Court Judge Tatiana Salvador relinquished her power to veto parole decisions.

Tallahassee Assistant Public Defender Glen Gifford, who argued on behalf of Franklin to the appellate court, told the Times-Union that he may ask the entire 1st Circuit to rehear the appeal, but he’s not sure what the next step will be.