820 So.2d 199 (Fla. 2002), SC00-2483, Moore v. State

Docket Nº:SC00-2483, SC01-708.
Citation:820 So.2d 199, 27 Fla. L. Weekly S 186
Opinion Judge:The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam
Party Name:Thomas James MOORE, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. Thomas James Moore, Petitioner, v. Michael W. Moore, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections, Respondent.
Attorney:Michael P. Reiter, Capital Collateral Counsel - Northern Region, and
Case Date:March 07, 2002
Court:Supreme Court of Florida

Page 199

820 So.2d 199 (Fla. 2002)

27 Fla. L. Weekly S 186

Thomas James MOORE, Appellant,


STATE of Florida, Appellee.

Thomas James Moore, Petitioner,


Michael W. Moore, Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections, Respondent.

Nos. SC00-2483, SC01-708.

Florida Supreme Court

March 7, 2002

Rehearing Denied June 20, 2002.

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Michael P. Reiter, Capital Collateral Counsel-Northern Region, and John M. Jackson, Assistant CCRC-Northern Region, Office of the Capital Collateral Representative-Northern Region, Tallahassee, FL, for Appellant/Petitioner.

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General, and Stephen R. White, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, FL, for Appellee/Respondent.


Thomas James Moore, an inmate under sentence of death, appeals an order of the circuit court denying a motion for postconviction relief filed pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 and petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(1), (9), Fla. Const. For the reasons that follow we affirm the denial of Moore's postconviction motion and deny the petition for habeas corpus.


In 1993, Thomas James Moore was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed burglary, and arson in the robbing and killing of John Edward Parrish. The facts surrounding these crimes are discussed in Moore v. State, 701 So.2d 545, 547 (Fla.1997). 1 This Court affirmed Moore's convictions and sentence. See id. at 552. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Moore's petition for certiorari on April 20, 1998. See Moore v. Florida, 523 U.S. 1083, 118 S.Ct. 1536, 140 L.Ed.2d 685 (1998).

Postconviction counsel was designated for Moore on July 22, 1998. After receiving a series of extensions to file his 3.850 motion, Moore filed his second amended 3.850 motion on September 20, 1999. The lower court conducted a Huff 2 hearing on April 20, 2000, and denied all claims without an evidentiary hearing. Moore's motion for rehearing was denied on September 8, 2000. Moore now appeals that denial of his postconviction motion, raising eleven claims. 3

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3.850 Appeal

At the outset, we dispose of the following postconviction claims because they are either procedurally barred, facially or legally insufficient, clearly without merit as a matter of law, or moot. 4 We now turn to address the remainder of Moore's claims.

First, Moore argues the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to order state agencies to comply with Moore's request for additional public records. 5

On August 19, 1998, Moore initiated his public records request pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.852 (1996) by requesting various public records from

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the following agencies: (1) Department of Corrections; (2) Jacksonville Medical Examiner; (3) Fourth Circuit State Attorney's Office; (4) Jacksonville Sheriff's Office; and (5) Attorney General. Shortly thereafter on September 21, 1998, Moore requested public records from the Human Resources Division of the City of Jacksonville. Subsequently, and pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.852(h)(2) (1998), Moore made additional requests for public records on December 28, 1998 to the following agencies: (1) Jacksonville County Jail; (2) Jacksonville Fire and Rescue; (3) Jacksonville Sheriff's Office; (4) Human Resources Division--City of Jacksonville; (5) Florida Department of Law Enforcement; (6) The Florida Bar; (7) Department of Corrections; (8) Fourth Circuit State Attorney's Office; and (9) Duval County Clerk of the Circuit Court. In Moore's brief to this Court, however, he only appears to be challenging lack of compliance with public records laws by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office.

Moore first claims that the lower court erred in failing to hold a hearing on Moore's motions to compel, as well as the other pending public records requests and, thus, violated Moore's due process rights. When a capital defendant claims that a state agency is withholding pertinent public records, the trial court should hold a hearing regarding such claims. See Reed v. State, 640 So.2d 1094, 1098 (Fla.1994). In this case, however, the trial court held no fewer than three hearings pertaining to Moore's public records requests on the following dates: April 29, 1999; March 8, 2000; and April 20, 2000. Objections to the production of the additional records were only sustained after lengthy arguments by the parties and consideration by the trial court at each of these public records hearings.

Second, Moore argues that, despite his request, he was not provided the complete Jacksonville Sheriff's Office ("JSO") investigative file regarding Moore. The trial court, however, specifically heard arguments regarding this matter during its March 8, 2000, hearing, and subsequently issued an order directing the JSO to provide any such investigative files to Moore no later than March 17, 2000. Such files were made available to Moore not later than March 25, 2000. More importantly, Moore has made no showing that there is any additional information that has not been disclosed. Also, the trial court delayed the scheduled Huff hearing so as to provide Moore with an additional 20 days (subsequent to receiving the records) to amend his 3.850 motion--should he find any new information in the files.

Third, Moore contends that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to order the JSO and State Attorney's Office to comply with Moore's requests for additional public records. This Court applies an abuse of discretion standard when reviewing a trial court's determination that a defendant's right to public records was not denied. See Mills v. State, 786 So.2d 547, 552 (Fla.2001); Glock v. Moore, 776 So.2d 243, 254 (Fla.2001).

In Mills, this Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a request for further production of public records where the record supports the trial court's finding that the demands are overly broad, of questionable relevance, and unlikely to lead to discoverable evidence. See Mills, 786 So.2d at 552. Moreover, this Court has stated, rule 3.852 "is not intended to be a procedure authorizing a fishing expedition for records unrelated to a colorable claim for postconviction relief." See Glock v. Moore, 776 So.2d 243, 253 (Fla.2001) (quoting Sims v. State, 753 So.2d 66, 70 (Fla.2000)). Given

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Moore's own delays in reviewing available records and his failure to comply with the requirements of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.852(i) regarding requests for additional public records, we find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Moore's requests for additional public records.

Moore next claims the lower court erred in refusing to consider Moore's third amended motion to vacate his judgment of conviction and sentence. We find, however, that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in striking Moore's third amended 3.850 motion.

This Court has permitted amendments to rule 3.850 motions for postconviction relief upon the receipt of public records to include and new or additional claims in light of information obtained from the furnished documents. See Ventura v. State, 673 So.2d 479, 481 (Fla.1996); Reed, 640 So.2d at 1098; Muehleman v. Dugger, 623 So.2d 480, 481 (Fla.1993). However, a second or successive motion for postconviction relief can be denied on the ground that it is an abuse of process if there is no reason for failing to raise the issues in the previous motion. See Pope v. State, 702 So.2d 221, 223 (Fla.1997).

In this case, on March 8, 2000, and consistent with this Court's direction in Ventura, the trial court expressly invited Moore to amend his second amended 3.850 motion based upon any new information he received from the records he was pursuing:

If they come up with something as a result of obtaining the investigative file that they feel is something that can be added to the second amended or third amended, whatever we are on, 3.850, they are to, within 20 days from the March 17th, furnish proposed amendments to the state attorney's office and/or the attorney general.

Also, before the Huff hearing, the trial court expressly invited Moore to tender any claims that arose due to recently provided public records information. Moore's counsel could not show the trial court any substantive postconviction allegation that had come to light due to any public records that had been belatedly provided. Accordingly, the trial court found that "there are no proposed amendments that met the criteria that I set forth on March 8th." 6


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