Ford v. Strickland

Decision Date15 April 1982
Docket NumberNo. 81-6200,81-6200
Citation676 F.2d 434
PartiesAlvin Bernard FORD, Petitioner, v. Charles G. STRICKLAND, Jr., Warden, Florida State Prison; Louie L. Wainwright, Secretary, Department of Offender Rehabilitation, State of Florida; Jim Smith, Attorney General, State of Florida, Respondents.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit

Richard H. Burr, III, Nashville, Tenn., Marvin E. Frankel, New York City, for petitioner.

Joy B. Shearer, Asst. Atty. Gen., W. Palm Beach, Fla., for respondents.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before RONEY and KRAVITCH, Circuit Judges, and PITTMAN *, District Judge.

RONEY, Circuit Judge:

Alvin Bernard Ford was charged with shooting a wounded policeman in the back of the head at close range while fleeing from an armed robbery. Convicted of murder, Ford was sentenced to death in Florida. He appeals the denial of a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging essentially seven contentions: (1) improper admission of an oral confession; (2) failure of the Florida Supreme Court to require resentencing when it found three of the statutory aggravating circumstances unsupported by the evidence; (3) improper state trial court instructions on mitigating circumstances; (4) failure of the Florida death law to require a finding that aggravating circumstances must outweigh mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt; (5) failure of the Florida Supreme Court to apply a consistent standard of reviewing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the case; (6) ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing; and (7) review by the Florida Supreme Court of nonrecord materials in death cases, the so-called Brown issue. After examining each of these contentions carefully, we affirm the denial of the writ of habeas corpus.

Briefly, the facts giving rise to petitioner's conviction and sentence are as follows. On the morning of July 21, 1974, Ford and three accomplices entered a Red Lobster Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to commit an armed robbery. During the course of the robbery, two people escaped from the restaurant. Fearing police would soon arrive, petitioner's accomplices fled. Ford remained to complete the theft of approximately $7,000 from the restaurant's vault.

Officer Dimitri Walter Ilyankoff arrived on the scene. Petitioner allegedly shot him twice in the abdomen and, apparently realizing his accomplices had abandoned him, ran to the parked police car. Because there were no keys in the car, Ford ran back to the struggling, wounded officer. Petitioner asked Officer Ilyankoff for the keys and then allegedly shot him in the back of the head at close range. Ford took the keys and made a high speed escape.

Petitioner was convicted in Circuit Court, Broward County, Florida, of first degree murder. In accordance with the jury's recommendation, the trial judge sentenced him to death. On direct appeal, both the conviction and sentence were affirmed. Ford v. State, 374 So.2d 496 (Fla.1979). The United States Supreme Court denied Ford's petition for writ of certiorari. Ford v. Florida, 445 U.S. 972, 100 S.Ct. 1666, 64 L.Ed.2d 249 (1980).

Petitioner thereafter joined with 122 other death row inmates in filing an application for extraordinary relief and petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Florida Supreme Court. The petitioners challenged the court's practice of receiving nonrecord information in connection with review of capital cases. The Florida Supreme Court dismissed the petition, Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So.2d 1327 (Fla.1981), and the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari, Brown v. Wainwright, --- U.S. ----, 102 S.Ct. 542, 70 L.Ed.2d 407 (1981).

Ford then filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Rule 3.850 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and applied for a stay of execution. Relief was denied. Ford v. State, 407 So.2d 907 (Fla.1981).

Finally, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.A. § 2254 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The district court denied relief, and we granted a stay of execution so that the issues raised could be reviewed on appeal.

I. Admission of Ford's Oral Confession

Ford was arrested in Gainesville, Florida on the day of the murder. He refused to talk with Gainesville police officers, indicating he first wanted to consult a lawyer. He was given an opportunity to talk to a public defender, but refused to accept that representation. He was unable to reach his private attorney.

Fort Lauderdale police officers came to return Ford to Fort Lauderdale. The Miranda warnings were given and petitioner "wanted" to talk but would not give a written statement until he had contacted his lawyer. Petitioner's only statement at the time was "I didn't shoot that cop." On a small plane from Gainesville to Fort Lauderdale, another officer gave Ford Miranda warnings. Ford said he was willing to talk but would give no written statement until he had talked with his lawyer. After informing a Fort Lauderdale officer of his earlier unsuccessful effort to contact his attorney and his refusal of representation by the public defender, petitioner admitted participating in the Red Lobster robbery. Although denying participation in the killing, he admitted being left behind at the Red Lobster by his accomplices, seeing a police officer lying on the ground as he left the restaurant, and escaping in the police car which he abandoned for a green Volkswagen.

Ford claims admission of the above statement in his trial violated the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments and was contrary to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), and its progeny, including United States v. Priest, 409 F.2d 491 (5th Cir. 1969), 1 and Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981). He argues that having invoked without waiving his right to counsel, his responses to subsequent police-initiated custodial interrogation without an attorney should not have been admitted into evidence.

Petitioner moved to suppress his confession, but failed to appeal the trial court's denial of his motion on direct appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. Based on Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. 72, 97 S.Ct. 2497, 53 L.Ed.2d 594 (1977), the district court held Ford's failure to raise the issue on direct state appeal forecloses its consideration in this habeas corpus proceeding.

The Florida procedural law is clear. A criminal defendant's failure to raise an issue which could be asserted on direct appeal precludes consideration of the issue on a motion for post-conviction relief under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850. Hargrave v. State, 396 So.2d 1127 (Fla.1981). Accordingly, the state courts refused to consider this contention concerning the confession.

In Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 83 S.Ct. 822, 9 L.Ed.2d 837 (1963), the Supreme Court held a state prisoner who knowingly and deliberately bypasses state procedures intentionally relinquishes known rights and can be denied habeas corpus relief on that basis. Recognizing Fay left open the possibility of "sandbagging" by defense lawyers, the Supreme Court narrowed its sweeping rule in Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. 72, 89, 97 S.Ct. 2497, 2507, 53 L.Ed.2d 594 (1977). The Court held that absent a showing of both cause for noncompliance and actual prejudice, habeas corpus relief is barred where a state prisoner has failed to comply with a state contemporaneous objection rule. 433 U.S. at 87, 97 S.Ct. at 2506.

While Sykes arose in the context of a procedural default at the trial level, we have applied its rationale in cases involving a procedural default during the course of a direct appeal from a state court conviction. See Huffman v. Wainwright, 651 F.2d 347 (5th Cir. 1981); Evans v. Maggio, 557 F.2d 430, 433-34 (5th Cir. 1977). Other circuits have applied Sykes in the same fashion. See Forman v. Smith, 633 F.2d 634, 640 (2d Cir. 1980); Cole v. Stevenson, 620 F.2d 1055 (4th Cir. 1980); Gibson v. Spalding, 665 F.2d 863, 866 (9th Cir. 1981). Applying Sykes in this setting accrues the dual advantage of discouraging defense attorneys from omitting arguments in preparing appeals with the intent of saving issues for federal habeas corpus consideration and encouraging state appellate courts to strictly enforce procedural rules, thereby reducing the possibility the federal court will decide the constitutional issue without the benefit of the state's views. Gibson v. Spalding, 665 F.2d at 866; Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. at 90, 97 S.Ct. at 2508. Additionally, application of Sykes to the forfeiture of specific claims on appeal promotes the goals of comity and accuracy identified by the Sykes Court. Forman v. Smith, 633 F.2d at 639.

Thus, in this Circuit a state prisoner can forego the opportunity to raise constitutional issues in habeas corpus proceedings by deliberately bypassing state appellate procedural rules or by merely failing to follow them without showing both cause for the default and prejudice resulting from it. Because this record does not reveal Ford's procedural default was the result of an intentional bypass within the meaning of Fay, we turn to the cause and prejudice exception of Sykes.

Cause and prejudice are sometimes interrelated. Huffman v. Wainwright, 651 F.2d at 351. While the Supreme Court has not explicitly defined cause and prejudice, our precedents have defined "cause" sufficient to excuse a procedural default in light of the determination to avoid "a miscarriage of justice." Id. Prejudice means "actual prejudice" which in this case must result from the failure to appeal the trial court's admission of petitioner's statement. See Francis v. Henderson, 425 U.S. 536, 96 S.Ct. 1708, 48 L.Ed.2d 149 (1976); Buckelew v. United States, 575 F.2d 515, 519 (5th Cir. 1978).

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