As previously noted, WWE Hall of Famer Tammy “Sunny” Sytch was charged with numerous crimes from her March 2022 car accident including DUI manslaughter in connection with the death of 75-year old Julian L. Lasseter. Florida State Attorney RJ Larizza declared Sytch to be “a danger to society” and Sytch is facing up to 26 years in prison when she is sentenced on November 27th 2023.
Assistant Public Defender Jessica Roberts, who is Sytch’s attorney, is seeking a “downward departure” which allows a judge to impose a sentence that is less than what Florida law requires in some circumstances. Here is what was stated in the filing…
MOTION FOR DOWNWARD DEPARTURE
COMES NOW the Defendant, Tamara Lynn Sytch, by and through her undersigned Assistant Public Defender and moves this Honorable Court to grant this motion for the following reasons:
The Defendant in this case is charged with One Count of DUI Manslaughter, One Count of Driving While License Suspended with Death, Four Counts of DUI with Damage to a Person and Two Counts of DUI with Damage to Property.
The Defendant entered a split plea with an open plea on the counts of DUI Manslaughter and Driving While License Suspended with Death and a negotiated plea on the misdemeanor DUI counts whereby they will be disposed of with a time served sentence to run concurrent to each other and to the felony counts.
The Defense submits that Ms. Sytch meets the criteria for a downward departure.
Under Florida’s sentencing statutes, “[a] downward departure from the lowest permissible sentence … is prohibited unless there are circumstances or factors that reasonably justify the downward departure.” 921.0026(1), Fla. Stat. (2022). Subsection 921.0026(1) continues by indicating that subsection 921.0026(2) provides a non-exclusive list of mitigating factors. A trial court’s decision whether to depart from the guidelines is a two-part process. First, the court must determine whether it can depart, i.e., whether there is a valid legal ground and adequate factual support for that ground in the case pending before it (step I). Legal grounds are set f01th in case law and statute, and facts supporting the ground must be proven by “a preponderance of the evidence.’ This aspect of the court’s decision to depart is a mixed question of law and fact and will be sustained on review if the court applied the right rule of law and if competent substantial evidence supports its ruling.
Second, where the step I requirements are met, the trial court further must determine whether it should depart, i.e., whether departure is indeed the best sentencing option for the defendant in the pending case. In making this determination (step 2), the court must weigh the totality of the circumstances in the case, including aggravating and mitigating factors. This second aspect of the decision to depart is a judgment call within the sound discretion of the court and will be sustained on review absent an abuse of discretion. Discretion is only abused where no reasonable person would agree with the trial court’s decision. Banks v. State 732 So.2d 1065 (Fla. 1999)
MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE FOR DOWNWARD DEPARTURE
The defense intends to present evidence that Ms. Sytch meets the criteria for a downward departure under the following grounds.
921 0026(2)(d) The defendant requires specialized treatment for a mental disorder that is unrelated to substance abuse or addiction or for a physical disability, and the defendant is amenable to treatment.
WHEREFORE, Defendant prays this Honorable Court grant this Motion.