Appeals court overturns Jacksonville rapist's 30-year sentence

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Florida Department of Law Enforcement photo of Percy Torres

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Duval County man may get his time in prison shortened because a judge brought up his own religious beliefs before handing down a sentence.

The 1st District Court of Appeal upheld the conviction of Percy Torres, but ruled that he should be resentenced by a new judge. Torres in 2011 was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual battery.

During the sentencing, after Torres claimed that the sex was consensual, Circuit Judge Russell Healey told Torres: "You're a good Catholic fellow as I am. That's not the way Catholic people -- that's not the way anybody with morals should do anything."

COURT DOCUMENT: Percy Edgardo Torres vs. State of Florida ruling

The appeals court said that the statement made it appear that Torres was given a maximum sentence based on religious beliefs.

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

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