Florence v. State, 1D99-170.

Citation754 So.2d 175
Decision Date31 March 2000
Docket NumberNo. 1D99-170.,1D99-170.
PartiesReginald Alvin FLORENCE, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)

Jennifer Mary Zedalis, Gainesville, for Appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General; Elizabeth Fletcher Duffy, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

PER CURIAM.

Appellant Reginald Alvin Florence filed a motion for post-conviction relief alleging his trial counsel had been ineffective for six reasons. The trial court issued an order denying relief on three of the grounds summarily and attaching portions of the record to refute Mr. Florence's allegations as to those grounds. He does not challenge summary denial on those grounds on appeal and consequently we do not address them here.1

As to the remaining three grounds, the trial court ordered an evidentiary hearing, but denied Mr. Florence's motion that he be appointed counsel for this hearing. Mr. Florence appeals the trial court's decision not to appoint counsel and alleges that, without counsel, he was unable to present his case effectively at the hearing. We agree and reverse.

In deciding whether to appoint counsel for a post-conviction hearing, a court should examine four factors: 1) the adversary nature of the proceeding; 2) the proceeding's complexity; 3) the need for an evidentiary hearing; or, 4) the need for substantial research. See Graham v. State, 372 So.2d 1363, 1366 (Fla.1979)

. Recognition of the need for an evidentiary hearing in itself recognizes that three of the four elements are present. See Williams v. State, 472 So.2d 738, 740 (Fla. 1985); Rogers v. State, 702 So.2d 607, 609 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997). Though need for an evidentiary hearing does not automatically mandate the appointment of counsel, any doubt must be resolved in favor of the defendant. See Williams, 472 So.2d at 740.

Here Mr. Florence was unable to present his case properly on the remaining three grounds of his motion without the appointment of counsel. See Williams, 472 So.2d at 740

(finding that appointment of counsel is necessary where the defendant's "lack of education and lack of sophistication make clear that he was unable to meet the technical requirements of going forward with the burden of proving his initial allegations, irrespective of the merits of those allegations"). He appeared for the hearing without a copy of his motion or the trial transcript. No subpoenas issued for any of the witnesses his motion faulted trial c...

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8 cases
  • Wheeler v. State, 1D00-128.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 15, 2002
    ...need for substantial legal research. Graham, 372 So.2d at 1366; Williams v. State, 472 So.2d 738, 740 (Fla.1985); Florence v. State, 754 So.2d 175, 176 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000); Johnson v. State, 711 So.2d 112, 115 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998). The trial court is more likely to appoint counsel if the mot......
  • Starkes v. State, 1D08-1219.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 14, 2009
    ...811 (1963) (establishing an indigent defendant's right to court-appointed counsel on direct appeal). Compare Florence v. State, 754 So.2d 175, 176 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000), with Toliver v. State, 737 So.2d 1142, 1143-44 (Fla. 1st DCA The motions appellant filed pro se under Florida Rule of Crimi......
  • Woodward v. State, 1D07-3509.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • October 15, 2008
    ...Courts should, moreover, resolve all doubts regarding the need for counsel in an indigent defendant's favor. See Florence v. State, 754 So.2d 175, 176 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000). At the hearing below, appellant failed to present any medical records or expert testimony to support the claim that his......
  • Gutierrez v. State, 3D02-428.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 23, 2003
    ...does not automatically mandate the appointment of counsel, any doubt must be resolved in favor of the defendant." Florence v. State, 754 So.2d 175, 176 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000) (citing Williams, 472 So.2d at One of the issues the trial court focused on was the defendant's claim that the trial tr......
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