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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Court voids Jacksonville man’s sentence over religion

JACKSONVILLE — A man’s 30-year prison sentence for sexual battery has been tossed by a Florida appellate court that ruled a judge injected his religious views in the case.

The Florida Times-Union reported Friday that the 1st District Court of Appeal ordered a new sentencing hearing for 44-year-old Percy Edgardo Torres of Jacksonville. His 2011 conviction still stands.

The appeals court found that Circuit Judge Russell Healey improperly discussed his own Roman Catholic religious views during Torres’ sentencing. A concurring opinion by one of the appeals judges said Healey appeared to base his sentence in part on how Torres had deviated from the Catholic faith.

The appeals panel ruled that Torres should be resentenced by a different judge.

The minimum sentence Torres faces is nine years and four months.

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