Lamarca v. State, No. SC03-1815.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation931 So.2d 838
Docket NumberNo. SC03-1815.,No. SC04-847.
Decision Date20 April 2006
PartiesAnthony LAMARCA, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. Anthony Lamarca, Petitioner, v. James R. McDonough, etc., Respondent.
931 So.2d 838
Anthony LAMARCA, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Anthony Lamarca, Petitioner,
v.
James R. McDonough, etc., Respondent.
No. SC03-1815.
No. SC04-847.
Supreme Court of Florida.
April 20, 2006.
Rehearing Denied June 7, 2006.

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John W. Jennings, Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Middle Region, Peter C. Cannon and Daphney Gaylord, Assistant CCR Counsels, Tampa, FL, for Appellant/Petitioner.

Charles J. Crist, Jr., Attorney General, Tallahassee, FL, and Scott A. Browne, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, FL, for Appellee/Respondent.

PER CURIAM.


Anthony Lamarca appeals an order of the circuit court denying a motion for postconviction relief under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851 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 explained below, we affirm the circuit court's order denying Lamarca's 3.851 motion and deny Lamarca's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

FACTS

On November 6, 1997, Anthony Lamarca was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of his son-in-law, Kevin Flynn. He elected to represent himself during the penalty phase and waived the presentation of mitigating evidence. The jury recommended a sentence of death by a vote of eleven to one, and the trial judge sentenced him accordingly. This Court upheld that sentence on direct appeal. LaMarca v. State, 785 So.2d 1209 (Fla.), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 925, 122 S.Ct. 281, 151 L.Ed.2d 207 (2001). The following facts are relevant to Lamarca's 3.851 motion and habeas petition.

On December 2, 1995, Anthony Lamarca met his daughter and son-in-law, Tonya and Kevin Flynn, at a neighborhood bar. Lamarca had recently been released from prison for a 1984 conviction for kidnapping and attempted sexual battery with a weapon. See Lamarca v. State, 515 So.2d 309 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987). Lamarca asked Tonya to borrow the keys to her car, but Kevin refused and offered to drive Lamarca home instead. The two left the bar.

Later that night, Lamarca returned to the bar alone and told Tonya that she had to pick up Kevin at Joseph Lamarca's home. Joseph Lamarca is Anthony Lamarca's father. When they arrived at the otherwise unoccupied house, Lamarca

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raped Tonya. He then appeared from a back room with a rifle in his hand and told Tonya that he was going to kill himself. He instructed her to stay put until she heard gunshots. After he left the room, Tonya fled to a nearby phone booth and reported that she heard shots being fired at a nearby residence. She gave the police Joseph Lamarca's address. When the police arrived at Joseph's house, they discovered that the front door looked as though it had been kicked in, and after obtaining Joseph's permission to search the residence, they found a rifle.

The police began searching for Anthony Lamarca. One detective arrived at Anthony Lamarca's trailer and spotted Kevin's body through a window. Upon entering the trailer, he found Kevin's body on the bedroom floor, bullet casings matching the rifle recovered from Joseph's residence, and blood splattered throughout the house. Lamarca was eventually arrested in Washington where he was living with Lori Galloway and her adult son, Darren Brown. Lori and Lamarca corresponded frequently while Lamarca was in prison, and they were married shortly after Lamarca's arrest for the murder of Kevin. The marriage ended before Lamarca's trial.

At trial, Brown testified on the State's behalf. He claimed that Lamarca arrived in Washington unannounced, carrying very few belongings. In addition, James Hughes, Lamarca's former fellow inmate, testified that Lamarca told him in July 1995 that Lamarca was planning to kill Lamarca's son-in-law because the son-in-law had raped Lamarca's daughter. Hughes had charges pending against him in Charlotte County at the time Lamarca's trial took place. Jeremy Smith also testified for the State, claiming that Lamarca arrived at Smith's home on the night of December 2, 1995, and said, "I did it. I killed him." Smith asked who he had killed, and Lamarca said, "Kevin . . . it really sucked, but I had to do it." Smith testified that he lent Lamarca a shirt to wear that night, even though he and Lamarca were obviously different sizes. Smith testified further that he did not know whose shirt he gave Lamarca because "there were lots of clothes in the house." At the time Lamarca's case was being investigated, Smith was waiting to be sentenced for violating probation. After the evidence and arguments had been presented, the jury convicted Lamarca of first-degree murder.

At the penalty phase, Lamarca requested to represent himself and refused to present any mitigating evidence. The trial judge appointed Lamarca's penalty phase counsel as standby counsel. At the court's request, Lamarca's penalty phase counsel made a statement of the mitigation she would have presented if Lamarca had not waived his right to counsel and to present mitigation. This mitigation included, among other things, mental health mitigation from Dr. Glenn Caddy as well as testimony from Lori Galloway regarding Lamarca's positive characteristics and his kindness toward Lori and her children. Lamarca's penalty phase counsel stated that she also would have presented testimony from Lamarca's family members, but Lamarca was adamant that they not participate. The jury voted eleven to one to impose the death penalty, and the trial court agreed with this recommendation. The court found one aggravating factor, prior convictions for the violent felonies in 1984, and determined that the mitigating evidence did not outweigh this factor.1 The trial court sentenced Lamarca to death.

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This sentence was upheld on direct appeal. LaMarca, 785 So.2d 1209.2

Lamarca's rule 3.851 amended motion for postconviction relief contained twenty-three claims.3 The trial court considered

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twenty-two claims during a five-day evidentiary hearing.4 In an order dated September 12, 2003, the trial court denied all of Lamarca's claims. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the trial court's order and deny Lamarca's petition for writ of habeas corpus.

3.851 MOTION FOR POSTCONVICTION RELIEF

We begin by addressing Lamarca's claims for postconviction relief. When reviewing a motion for postconviction relief following an evidentiary hearing, this Court defers to the trial court's findings of fact as long as these findings are supported by competent, substantial evidence. Rodriguez v. State, 919 So.2d 1252, 1268-69 (Fla.2005). We affirm the trial court's denial of each claim. Lamarca has failed to overcome the strong presumption that his counsel rendered effective assistance as required by Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). Moreover, he has failed to establish either a Brady or a Giglio violation. Finally, his sentence is not unconstitutional, nor did the trial court abuse its discretion by allowing the prosecutor who represented the State in Lamarca's trial to conduct the evidentiary hearing. We address each of these claims below.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims

Most of the claims Lamarca raises in his postconviction motion allege ineffective assistance of counsel. Lamarca claims his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to contact Dr. Glenn Caddy to perform an additional psychological evaluation to determine if Lamarca was competent to represent himself in the penalty phase; failing to file a motion for continuance before trial; failing to file a motion to suppress the rifle seized from Joseph Lamarca's residence; failing to call key witnesses; failing to effectively cross-examine key state witnesses; failing to present mitigating evidence in the penalty phase; and failing to impeach Jeremy Smith with evidence of his prior misdemeanor. We affirm the trial court's denial of each claim.

Standard of Review

When considering claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, this Court applies the following standard:

An ineffective assistance claim has two components: A petitioner must show that counsel's performance was deficient, and that the deficiency prejudiced the defense. To establish deficient performance, a petitioner must demonstrate that counsel's representation "fell below

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an objective standard of reasonableness."

Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 521, 123 S.Ct. 2527, 156 L.Ed.2d 471 (2003) (citation omitted) (quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984)). The prejudice prong of the analysis "requires showing that counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable." Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052. Failing to establish either prong results in a denial of the claim. Ferrell v. State, 918 So.2d 163, 170 (Fla.2005). When reviewing these claims, we defer to the trial court's findings of fact regarding the credibility of witnesses and the weight assigned to the evidence, but we review the performance and prejudice prongs de novo. Windom v. State, 886 So.2d 915, 921 (Fla.2004) (citing Stephens v. State, 748 So.2d 1028, 1034 (Fla.1999)). Lamarca has failed to satisfy the Strickland standard in any of his claims.

Failure to Inquire into Lamarca's Competence

Lamarca claims that defense counsel was deficient for failing to order an additional psychological evaluation when Lamarca informed counsel that he planned to represent himself during the penalty phase. This claim rests largely on the testimony of Dr. Glenn Caddy, who testified at the evidentiary hearing that Lamarca became incompetent after hearing his daughter, Tonya Flynn, testify at trial that he raped her. Caddy testified that Tonya's testimony triggered Lamarca's posttraumatic stress disorder...

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28 practice notes
  • Whitehead v. State, CR-04-2251.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 30, 2006
    ...assuming that the waiver was valid and in relying solely on that waiver to reject the appellant's allegations. Compare Lamarca v. State, 931 So.2d 838, 850 (Fla. 2006) (upholding a mitigation waiver where the defendant represented himself during the penalty phase and chose not to present an......
  • Stallworth v. Inch, Case No.: 3:17cv937/MCR/EMT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • July 8, 2019
    ...having requested a continuance, which was denied. See Lawrence v. State, 969 So. 2d 294, 313-314 (Fla. 2007). See also Lamarca v. State, 931 So. 2d 838, 847-848 (Fla. 2006). Defendant is not entitled to relief on this claim.(Ex. C1 at 160-63). The First DCA affirmed the circuit court's deci......
  • Chames v. Demayo, No. SC06-1671.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 20, 2007
    ...the right to counsel, the judge must confirm that the defendant understands the consequences of such actions. E.g., Lamarca v. State, 931 So.2d 838, 854-55 (Fla.2006) ("[T]rial courts are required to make the defendant `aware of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation ...'......
  • Krawczuk v. Tucker, Nos. SC10–680
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 29, 2012
    ...thus procedurally barred from consideration in a postconviction motion.”) (citations and internal quotations omitted); Lamarca v. State, 931 So.2d 838, 851 n. 8 (Fla.2006). As for Krawczuk's claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to these remarks, we find no deficiency whe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Whitehead v. State, CR-04-2251.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 30, 2006
    ...assuming that the waiver was valid and in relying solely on that waiver to reject the appellant's allegations. Compare Lamarca v. State, 931 So.2d 838, 850 (Fla. 2006) (upholding a mitigation waiver where the defendant represented himself during the penalty phase and chose not to present an......
  • Stallworth v. Inch, Case No.: 3:17cv937/MCR/EMT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • July 8, 2019
    ...having requested a continuance, which was denied. See Lawrence v. State, 969 So. 2d 294, 313-314 (Fla. 2007). See also Lamarca v. State, 931 So. 2d 838, 847-848 (Fla. 2006). Defendant is not entitled to relief on this claim.(Ex. C1 at 160-63). The First DCA affirmed the circuit court's deci......
  • Chames v. Demayo, No. SC06-1671.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • December 20, 2007
    ...the right to counsel, the judge must confirm that the defendant understands the consequences of such actions. E.g., Lamarca v. State, 931 So.2d 838, 854-55 (Fla.2006) ("[T]rial courts are required to make the defendant `aware of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation ...'" (qu......
  • Krawczuk v. Tucker, Nos. SC10–680
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 29, 2012
    ...thus procedurally barred from consideration in a postconviction motion.”) (citations and internal quotations omitted); Lamarca v. State, 931 So.2d 838, 851 n. 8 (Fla.2006). As for Krawczuk's claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to these remarks, we find no deficiency whe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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