Dean Rockmore, 48, has the distinction of serving life for the theft of socks. The Daytona Beach man received a mandatory life sentence as a repeat offender after he ran from a store with $4 of socks.
Rockmore was convicted of armed robbery because, when confronted by a loss prevention officer in the parking lot, he pulled up his shirt to show a gun. The crime began as an effort to steal both tee-shirts and socks. He dropped the shirts in the parking lot.
Since he qualified as a re-offender, Circuit Judge Margaret Hudson gave him life.
He will have a difficult time challenging the sentence. The Supreme Court has effectively barred challenges for disproportionate sentencing under the Eighth Amendment in a pair of decisions. In Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11 (2003), and Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63 (2003), the Court refused to find that noncapital sentences were unconstitutionally disproportional to the underlying crime. In Ewing, the defendant stole three golf clubs worth $399 each from the pro shop in El Segundo, California. He could have been charged with a misdemeanor under the discretion of the judge or prosecutor since this was a “wobbler” charge that could be prosecuted either as a felony or misdemeanor. They refused and his conviction triggered a life sentence under the state’s three strikes law. The Court later refused to overturn the sentence under the Eighth Amendment.
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