Evans v. Jones

Decision Date12 March 2015
Docket NumberCase No.: 3:14cv114/MCR/EMT
CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
PartiesFREDRICK L. EVANS, Petitioner, v. JULIE L. JONES, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

This cause is before the court on Petitioner's petition for writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (doc. 1). Respondent filed an answer and relevant portions of the state court record (doc. 17). The court provided Petitioner an opportunity to reply (see doc. 18), but he has not done so.

The case was referred to the undersigned for the issuance of all preliminary orders and any recommendations to the district court regarding dispositive matters. See N.D. Fla. Loc. R. 72.2(B); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), (C) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). After careful consideration of all issues raised by Petitioner, it is the opinion of the undersigned that no evidentiary hearing is required for the disposition of this matter, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases 8(a). It is further the opinion of the undersigned that the pleadings and attachments before the court show that Petitioner is not entitled to relief.

I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The relevant aspects of the procedural background of this case are established by the state court record (see doc. 17).1 Petitioner was charged in the Circuit Court in and for Escambia County, Florida, Case No. 2003-CF-1316, with one count of trafficking in cocaine (28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams) (Count 1), and one count of sale, manufacture, delivery, or possession withintent to sell, manufacture, or deliver cannabis (Count 2) (Ex. A). Petitioner pled nolo contendere to the charges, with no agreement with the State as to his sentence (Ex. B). On April 23, 2004, the court adjudicated him guilty and sentenced him on Count 1 to fifteen years in prison, with a three-year mandatory minimum term, and with pre-sentence jail credit of 396 days; however, the court ordered that after serving a period of four years in prison, the balance of Petitioner's sentence on Count 1 would be suspended, and he would serve a period of two years of probation (Ex. C). On Count 2, Petitioner was sentenced to four years of imprisonment, to run concurrently with the sentence on Count 1 and with pre-sentence jail credit of 396 days (id.).

After Petitioner served the incarcerative term of his sentence in Case No. 2003-CF-1316, and while he was on probation, Petitioner was charged in the Circuit Court in and for Escambia County, Florida, Case No. 2007-CF-829, with one count of sale, manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver cocaine (Count 1), one count of possession of cannabis (more than 20 grams) (Count 2), and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia (Count 3) (Ex. D at 1). The State subsequently added a charge of failure to appear (Count 4), but then nolle prossed it (id. at 5, 59; see also Ex. J). A jury found Petitioner guilty as charged on all Counts (Ex. D at 47, Exs. E, F). The court adjudicated Petitioner guilty and sentenced him to ten years in prison on Count 1, a concurrent term of five years in prison on Count 2, and time served on Count 3, with presentence jail credit of 210 days (209 days on the VOP) (Ex. D at 51-64, Ex. J).

Petitioner was also charged with violating his probation ("VOP") in Case No. 2003-CF-1316 (Ex. H). Petitioner pled nolo contendere to the VOP (see Ex. I). The court found him guilty of the VOP, revoked his probation, and sentenced him to ten years in prison with presentence jail credit of 209 days, to run concurrently with his ten-year sentence on Count 1 of Case No. 2007-CF-829 (Ex. D. at 51-64, Exs. I, J).

Petitioner appealed the judgment in Case No. 2007-CF-829 to the Florida First District Court of Appeal ("First DCA"), Case No. 1D09-5354 (Ex. K). On November 1, 2010, the First DCA affirmed the judgment per curiam without written opinion (Ex. N). Evans v. State, 59 So. 3d 1156 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010) (Table). The mandate issued November 17, 2010 (Ex. O).

On December 30, 2010, Petitioner filed a motion for correction, reduction, or modification of sentence, pursuant to Rule 3.800(a) and (c) of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (Ex. P).On January 18, 2011, the state circuit court denied the motion to the extent Petitioner sought relief under Rule 3.800(c) as to Case No. 2007-CF-829, and dismissed it as untimely to the extent Petitioner sought relief under Rule 3.800(c) as to Case No. 2003-CF-1316 (Ex. Q). The court dismissed the motion without prejudice to the extent Petitioner sought relief under Rules 3.800(a) and 3.850 (id.).

On May 5, 2011, Petitioner filed another Rule 3.800(a) motion (Ex. R at 1-4). The state circuit court denied the motion in an order rendered September 19, 2011 (id. at 15-16). Petitioner appealed the decision to the First DCA, Case No. 1D11-5985 (Ex. R at 35). The First DCA affirmed the decision per curiam without written opinion on January 19, 2012, with the mandate issuing February 14, 2012 (Exs. S, T). Evans v. State, 78 So. 3d 537 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) (Table).

On June 28, 2012, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the First DCA, alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, Case No. 1D12-3225 (Exs. U, V). The court denied the petition on July 19, 2012 (Ex. W). Evans v. State, 92 So. 3d 310 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) (Mem).

On September 14, 2012, Petitioner filed a for post-conviction relief, pursuant to Rule 3.850 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (Ex. X at 1-19). The state circuit court struck the motion as facially insufficient with leave to amend (id. at 20-21). Petitioner filed an amended motion (id. at 22-35, 38-53). The state circuit court summarily denied the motion in an order rendered July 12, 2013 (id. at 54-151). Petitioner appealed the decision to the First DCA, Case No. 1D13-4274 (id. at 157). The First DCA affirmed the decision per curiam without written opinion on December 16, 2013, with the mandate issuing January 13, 2014 (Exs. Y, Z). Evans v. State, 128 So. 3d 799 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013) (Table).

Petitioner filed the instant federal habeas action on March 5, 2014 (doc. 1).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Section 2254(a) of Title 28 provides that "a district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court" upon a showing that his custody is in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States. As the instant petition was filed after April 24, 1996, it is subject to the more deferential standard for habeas review of state court decisions under § 2254 as brought about by the Anti-Terrorism andEffective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). Pub.L. 104-132, § 104, 110 Stat. 1214, 1218-19. In relevant part, section 2254(d) now provides:

(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim-
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C.A. § 2254 (2002).

The United States Supreme Court explained the framework for § 2254 review in Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 120 S. Ct. 1495, 146 L. Ed. 2d 389 (2000).2 The appropriate test was described by Justice O'Connor as follows:

In sum, § 2254(d)(1) places a new constraint on the power of a federal habeas court to grant a state prisoner's application for a writ of habeas corpus with respect to claims adjudicated on the merits in state court. Under § 2254(d)(1), the writ may issue only if one of the following two conditions is satisfied—the state court adjudication resulted in a decision that (1) "was contrary to . . . clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States," or (2) "involved an unreasonable application of . . . clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States." Under the "contrary to" clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by this court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than this Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Under the "unreasonable application" clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from this Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.

Id., 529 U.S. at 412-13 (O'Connor, J., concurring); Ramdass v. Angelone, 530 U.S. 156, 120 S. Ct. 2113, 2119-20, 147 L. Ed. 2d 125 (2000). In employing this test, the Supreme Court has instructed that on any issue raised in a federal habeas petition upon which there has been an adjudication on the merits in a formal State court proceeding, the federal court should first ascertain the "clearly established Federal law," namely, "the governing legal principle or principles set forth by the Supreme Court at the time the state court render[ed] its decision." Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 71-72, 123 S. Ct. 1166, 155 L. Ed. 2d 144 (2003). The law is "clearly established" if Supreme Court precedent at the time "would have compelled a particular result in the case." Neelley v. Nagle, 138 F.3d 917, 923 (11th Cir. 1998), overruled on other grounds by Parker v. Head, 244 F.3d 813, 835 (11th Cir. 2001).

Next, the court must determine whether the State court adjudication is contrary to the clearly established Supreme Court case law, either because "'the state court applies a rule that contradicts the...

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