Martin v. Sec'y, Case No: 2:11 -cv-639-FtM-38CM

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
Decision Date07 October 2014
Docket NumberCase No: 2:11 -cv-639-FtM-38CM

MIGUEL MARTIN, Petitioner,

Case No: 2:11 -cv-639-FtM-38CM


October 7, 2014


This matter comes before the Court upon a petition for habeas corpus relief filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by Miguel Martin ("Petitioner"), who is presently confined at the DeSoto Correctional Institution in Arcadia, Florida (Doc. 1). Petitioner, proceeding pro se, attacks the convictions and sentences entered by the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court for Collier County, Florida in case number 04-3703-CFA for trafficking in cocaine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("MDMA") and possession of cannabis. Id. Respondents filed a response to the petition, and Petitioner filed a reply to the response (Doc. 13; Doc. 17).

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Petitioner raises twelve claims in his petition. Specifically, he asserts that: (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress; (2) the trial court erred by allowing a witness to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; (3) the trial court made a prejudicial statement during the jury selection process; (4) trial counsel failed to properly argue his motion for a judgment of acquittal; (5) trial counsel was ineffective for advising Petitioner to testify on his own behalf; (6) trial counsel was ineffective for allowing Petitioner to inform the jury that he was currently in jail; (7) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the "fundamental error" that occurred during the jury charge; (8) trial counsel failed to file a demand for a speedy trial; (9) trial counsel had a conflict of interest while representing Petitioner; (10) the trial court committed fundamental error and a due process violation for not establishing a prima facie case and the elements of the alleged crime and by convicting Petitioner under an unconstitutional statute; (11) a manifest injustice occurred under the equal protection of the law when Petitioner was singled out for prosecution; and (12) a manifest injustice occurred when Petitioner received a disproportionate sentence to the person arrested with him (Doc. 1 at 3-19).

Upon due consideration of the petition, the response, the reply, and the state court record, the Court concludes that the petition must be denied. Because the Court may resolve the Petition on the basis of the record, an evidentiary hearing is not warranted. See Rule 8, Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Petitions under Section 2254.

I. Background and Procedural History

On or about April 20, 2006, Petitioner was convicted after a jury trial of trafficking in 28 grams or more of cocaine, trafficking in more than 10 grams of MDMA, and

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possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis (Ex. 4 at 141-43).2 Petitioner was sentenced to 25 years in prison on each of the trafficking counts and to five years in prison on the possession count, with all sentences to run concurrently (Ex. 5 at 146-48). Petitioner's convictions and sentences were per curiam affirmed by Florida's Second District Court of Appeal (Ex. 9); Martin v. State, 951 So. 2d 842 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).

Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Rule 3.850 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure ("Rule 3.850 motion") in which he raised ten claims of ineffective assistance of counsel (Ex. 11). The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Second District Court of Appeal per curiam affirmed (Ex. 16); Martin v. State, 29 So.3d 1127 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010).

On or about September 4, 2007, Petitioner filed a petition for a belated appeal alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel (Ex. 19). The circuit court treated the petition as a petition alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, and denied the petition (Ex. 20).

On December 18, 2009, Petitioner filed a second Rule 3.850 motion in which he asserted that his trial counsel had been operating under a conflict of interest (Ex. 23). The motion was dismissed by the post-conviction court because it was untimely filed (Ex. 24). Petitioner appealed, and the Second District Court of Appeal per curiam affirmed (Ex. 26); Martin v. State, 36 So.3d 98 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010).

On December 20, 2010, Petitioner filed a petition alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel (Ex. 28). The petition was denied as an improper filing because

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Petitioner was attempting to use the writ of habeas corpus to obtain the kind of collateral post-conviction relief which may have been available by filing a motion in the sentencing court (Ex. 29). Petitioner appealed, and the Second District Court of Appeal per curiam affirmed with numerous citations to state court decisions (Ex. 34); Martin v. State, 69 So.3d 285 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011).

Petitioner filed the instant habeas petition on November 3, 2011 (Doc. 1).

II. Governing Legal Principles

A. Standard of Review Under the Antiterrorism Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA")

Pursuant to the AEDPA, federal habeas relief may not be granted with respect to a claim adjudicated on the merits in state court 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. § 2254(d). This standard is both mandatory and difficult to meet. White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1702 (2014). A state court's summary rejection of a claim, even without explanation, qualifies as an adjudication on the merits which warrants deference. Ferguson v. Culliver, 527 F.3d 1144, 1146 (11th Cir. 2008).

"Clearly established federal law" consists of the governing legal principles, rather than the dicta, set forth in the decisions of the United States Supreme Court at the time the state court issues its decision. White, 134 S.Ct. at 1702; Carey v. Musladin, 549 U.S. 70, 74 (2006) (citing Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000)). A decision is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if the state court either: (1) applied a rule that

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contradicts the governing law set forth by Supreme Court case law; or (2) reached a different result from the Supreme Court when faced with materially indistinguishable facts. Ward v. Hall, 592 F.3d 1144, 1155 (11th Cir. 2010); Mitchell v. Esparza, 540 U.S. 12, 16 (2003).

A state court decision involves an "unreasonable application" of the Supreme Court's precedents if the state court correctly identifies the governing legal principle, but applies it to the facts of the petitioner's case in an objectively unreasonable manner, Brown v. Payton, 544 U.S. 133, 134 (2005); Bottoson v. Moore, 234 F.3d 526, 531 (11th Cir. 2000), or "if the state court either unreasonably extends a legal principle from [ Supreme Court] precedent to a new context where it should not apply or unreasonably refuses to extend that principle to a new context where it should apply." Bottoson, 234 F.3d at 531 (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 406). The unreasonable application inquiry "requires the state court decision to be more than incorrect or erroneous," rather, it must be "objectively unreasonable." Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75-77 (2003) (citation omitted); Mitchell, 540 U.S. at 17-18; Ward, 592 F.3d at 1155. Petitioner must show that the state court's ruling was "so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement." White, 134 S. Ct. at 1702 (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 131 S.Ct. 770, 786-787 (2011)).

Finally, the Supreme Court has stated that "a decision adjudicated on the merits in a state court and based on a factual determination will not be overturned on factual grounds unless objectively unreasonable in light of the evidence presented in the state-court proceeding[.]" Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 340 (2003) (dictum). When

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reviewing a claim under § 2254(d), a federal court must bear in mind that any "determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct[,]" and the petitioner bears "the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); see e.g. Burt v. Titlow, 134 S. Ct. 10, 15-16 (2013); Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 340 (explaining that a federal court can disagree with a state court's factual finding and, when guided by AEDPA, "conclude the decision was unreasonable or that the factual premise was incorrect by clear and convincing evidence").

B. Standard for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

In Strickland v. Washington, the Supreme Court established a two-part test for determining whether a convicted person is entitled to relief on the ground that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance. 466 U.S. 668, 687-88 (1984). A petitioner must establish that counsel's performance was deficient and fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. Id. This is a "doubly...

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