Mungin v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr.

Decision Date15 August 2022
Docket Number3:06-cv-650-BJD-JBT
CourtU.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida



Through counsel, Petitioner Anthony Mungin, a death-sentenced inmate filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Petition) (Doc 1) under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He is proceeding on a Second Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Death-Sentenced Person in State Custody Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Second Amended Petition) (Doc. 30).[1] He challenges a state court (Duval County) conviction for murder in the first degree.

Respondents filed an Answer to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 16) in response to the Amended Petition.[2] After Petitioner filed his Second Amended Petition, Respondents filed an Amended Answer to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Response) (Doc. 31)[3] and a supplemental state court record, referred to as an Appendix on this Court's docket (Doc. 32), using numerals to designate the tabs of the supplemental record.[4] Petitioner filed a Reply to Amended Answer to Second Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Reply) (Doc. 35).[5] See Order (Doc. 9).

Petitioner raises seven grounds in the Second Amended Petition:

Claim 1: “Mr. Mungin received ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase of his capital trial, in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution[;]
Claim 2: “Mr. Mungin received ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase in violation of the Sixth Amendment[;]
Claim 3: “The Duval County Public Defender's Office had an actual conflict of interest based on prior and simultaneous representation of key state witness Kirkland, in violation of Mr. Mungin's Sixth Amendment right to conflict-free counsel [;]
Claim 4: “The Florida Supreme Court erred in its ruling on direct appeal that Griffin v. United States, 502 U.S. 46 (1991), compelled a finding that reversal of Mr. Mungin's conviction for first-degree murder[;]
Claim 5: “The Evidence was insufficient to prove the underlying felony as proof of felony murder[;]
Claim 6: “Mr. Mungin received ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal in violation of the Sixth Amendment[;] and
Claim 7: “The Florida Supreme Court's determination that the Introduction by the State of Evidence that Mr. Mungin shot a collateral crime victim in the spine was harmless error was error.”

Second Amended Petition at 63, 119, 136, 140, 145, 148, 164 (capitalization and emphasis omitted).


Imbedded in the Response is a Motion to Strike (Motion). Response at 5-6. This Motion is due to be stricken. Pursuant to Rule 12(f)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter upon motion made by a party before responding to the pleading. Here, Respondent did not move to strike before responding to the pleading and failed to file a separate motion that complies with Rule 12 and Local Rule 3.01(a) (requiring the filing of a motion in a single document no longer than 25 pages). Indeed, it is improper to seek affirmative relief by imbedding a request in a response. See Rule 7(b)(1), Fed.R.Civ.P. Thus, the Court will strike Respondent's Motion to Strike contained within the Response.


“In a habeas corpus proceeding, the burden is on the petitioner to establish the need for an evidentiary hearing.” Jones v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 834 F.3d 1299, 1318 (11th Cir. 2016) (citations omitted), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 2245 (2017). To be entitled to an evidentiary hearing, the petitioner must allege “facts that, if true, would entitle him to relief.” Martin v. U.S., 949 F.3d 662, 670 (11th Cir.) (quoting Aron v. U.S., 291 F.3d 708, 715 (11th Cir. 2002)) (citation omitted), cert. denied, 141 S.Ct. 357 (2020). See Chavez v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 647 F.3d 1057, 1060 (11th Cir. 2011) (opining a petitioner bears the burden of establishing the need for an evidentiary hearing with more than speculative and inconcrete claims of need), cert. denied, 565 U.S. 1120 (2012); Dickson v. Wainwright, 683 F.2d 348, 351 (11th Cir. 1982) (same).

If the allegations are contradicted by the record, patently frivolous, or based upon unsupported generalizations, the court is not required to conduct an evidentiary hearing. Martin, 949 F.3d at 670 (quotation and citation omitted). In this case, the pertinent facts are fully developed in this record, or the record otherwise precludes habeas relief;[6] therefore, the Court can "adequately assess [Petitioner's] claim[s] without further factual development," Turner v. Crosby, 339 F.3d 1247, 1275 (11th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 541 U.S. 1034 (2004).

Petitioner has not met his burden as the record refutes the asserted factual allegations or otherwise precludes habeas relief. Therefore, the Court finds Petitioner is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 474 (2007).


Federal courts are authorized to grant habeas relief to a state prisoner “only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” Lee v. GDCP Warden, 987 F.3d 1007, 1017 (11th Cir.) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254), cert. denied, 142 S.Ct. 599 (2021). For issues previously decided by a state court on the merits, this Court must review the underlying state-court decision under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). In doing so, a federal district court must employ a very deferential framework. Sealey v. Warden, Ga. Diagnostic Prison, 954 F.3d 1338, 1354 (11th Cir. 2020) (citation omitted) (acknowledging the deferential framework of AEDPA for evaluating issues previously decided in state court), cert. denied, 141 S.Ct. 2469 (2021); Shoop v. Hill, 139 S.Ct. 504, 506 (2019) (per curiam) (recognizing AEDPA imposes “important limitations on the power of federal courts to overturn the judgments of state courts in criminal cases").

Thus, [u]nder AEDPA, a court cannot grant relief unless the state court's decision on the merits was ‘contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of,' Supreme Court precedent, or ‘was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.' McKiver v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 991 F.3d 1357, 1364 (11th Cir.) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2)), cert. denied, 142 S.Ct. 441 (2021). The Eleventh Circuit instructs:

A state court's decision is “contrary to” clearly established federal law if the state court either reaches a conclusion opposite to the Supreme Court of the United States on a question of law or reaches a different outcome than the Supreme Court in a case with “materially indistinguishable facts.” Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000). “Under the ‘unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle” from Supreme Court precedents “but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.” Id. at 413, 120 S.Ct. 1495.

Lee, 987 F.3d at 1017-18. Therefore, habeas relief is limited to those occasions where the state court's determinations are unreasonable, that is, if no fairminded jurist could agree with them. McKiver, 991 F.3d at 1364.

This high hurdle is not easily surmounted. If the state court applied clearly established federal law to reasonably determined facts when determining a claim on its merits, “a federal habeas court may not disturb the state court's decision unless its error lies ‘beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.' Shinn v. Kayer, 141 S.Ct. 517, 520 (2020) (per curiam) (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103 (2011)). Also, a state court's finding of fact, whether a state trial court or appellate court, is entitled to a presumption of correctness under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). “The state court's factual determinations are presumed correct, absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.” Sealey, 954 F.3d at 1354 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)). See Hayes v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 10 F.4th 1203, 1220 (11th Cir. 2021) (Newsome, Circuit Judge, concurring) (recognizing the universal requirement, applicable to all federal habeas proceedings of state prisoners, set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)).


Claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are “governed by the familiar two-part Strickland[v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984)] standard.” Knight v. Fla. Dep't of Corr., 958 F.3d 1035, 1038 (11th Cir. 2020), cert. denied, 141 S.Ct. 2471 (2021). To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a petitioner must successfully show his counsel “made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the counsel' guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment as well as show “the deficient performance prejudiced the defendant, depriving him of a ‘fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable.' Raheem v. GDCP Warden, 995 F.3d 895, 908 (11th Cir. 2021) (quoting Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687), cert. denied, 142 S.Ct. 1234 (2022). As both components under Strickland must be met, failure to meet either prong is fatal to the claim. Raheem, 995 F.3d at 908 (citation omitted).

Not only is there the Strickland mandated layer of deference there is an additional layer of deference required by AEDPA to the state court's decision. Thus, given the double deference due, rarely is relief warranted upon federal habeas review on a claim of...

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