A Florida man's 30-year prison sentence for sexual battery has been tossed by an appeals 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 Percy Edgardo Torres, 44, 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 Torres should be resentenced by a different judge. The minimum sentence he faces is nine years and four months.