Starkes v. Sec'y

Decision Date18 September 2017
Docket NumberCase No. 3:14-cv-894-J-34JBT
PartiesJIMMIE D. STARKES, Petitioner, v. SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Respondents.
CourtU.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida

JIMMIE D. STARKES, Petitioner,
v.
SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Respondents.

Case No. 3:14-cv-894-J-34JBT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA JACKSONVILLE DIVISION

September 18, 2017


ORDER

I. Status

Petitioner Jimmie Darnell Starkes, an inmate of the Florida penal system, initiated this action on July 28, 2014, by filing a pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1) under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He filed an Amended Petition (Doc. 6) on May 21, 2015, and a Second Amended Petition (Amended Petition; Doc. 11) on November 21, 2016. In the Amended Petition, Starkes challenges a 2008 state court (Duval County, Florida) judgment of conviction for possession of cocaine while armed and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Respondents have submitted a memorandum in opposition to the Amended Petition. See Respondents' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Response; Doc. 18) with exhibits (Resp. Ex.). On January 12, 2017, the Court entered an Order to Show Cause and Notice to Petitioner (Doc. 15), admonishing Starkes regarding his obligations and giving Starkes a time frame in which to submit a reply.

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On August 8, 2017, the Court directed Starkes, by September 11, 2017, to show cause why this case should not be dismissed for his failure to comply, and either reply to the Response or notify the Court he does not intend to reply. See Order (Doc. 19). Starkes has neither requested an extension, shown cause, filed a reply, nor notified the Court he does not intend to reply. The September 11, 2017 deadline having passed, the case is ripe for review.

II. Procedural History

On December 4, 2007, the State of Florida charged Starkes with possession of cocaine while armed (count one) and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (count two). See Resp. Ex. 1 at 35-36, Amended Information. Starkes entered a plea of guilty to counts one and two on January 15, 2008. See id. at 44-45; Resp. Ex. 2 at 249-71 (Plea Tr.). On February 14, 2008, the court sentenced Starkes to a term of imprisonment of fifteen years for count one, and a term of imprisonment of fifteen years for count two, to run concurrently with count one. Resp. Exs. 1 at 63-69, Judgment; 2 at 272-352 (Sentencing Tr.).

On direct appeal, Starkes, with the benefit of counsel, filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967). See Resp. Ex. 7. Starkes filed a pro se brief, arguing that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress (ground one), and the State of Florida erred when it vindictively prosecuted him twice for the same crime. See Resp. Ex. 9. On April 14, 2009, the

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appellate court affirmed Starkes' conviction per curiam, see Starkes v. State, 10 So.3d 1109 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009); Resp. Ex. 10, and the mandate issued on May 12, 2009, see Resp. Ex. 10.

On February 24, 2010, pursuant to the mailbox rule, Starkes filed a pro se motion to correct illegal sentence under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a) (Rule 3.800 motion). See Resp. Ex. 12 at 1-6. The circuit court denied the motion on April 12, 2010, see id. at 7-8, and later denied his motion for rehearing, see Resp. Ex. 13 at 1-18, 19. On October 13, 2010, the appellate court reversed the circuit court's denial of the Rule 3.800 motion and remanded the case for the court either to attach portions of the record refuting Starkes' claim or strike the habitual felony offender (HFO) designation. See Starkes v. State, 46 So.3d 621 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010); Resp. Ex. 15. On remand, the circuit court denied the Rule 3.800 motion and provided record attachments, see Resp. Ex. 16 at 12-24, and later denied Starkes' motion for rehearing, see id. at 25-29, 33. On March 24, 2011, the appellate court affirmed the circuit court's denial per curiam, see Starkes v. State, 61 So.3d 1119 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011); Resp. Ex. 17, and the mandate issued on June 16, 2011, see Resp. Ex. 17.

During the pendency of the Rule 3.800 proceedings, Starkes filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus on March 27, 2010, pursuant to the mailbox rule. See Resp. Ex. 19. On May 14, 2010, the appellate court denied the petition on the merits, see

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Starkes v. State, 37 So.3d 904 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010); Resp. Ex. 20, and later denied Starkes' motion for rehearing, see Resp. Ex. 21.

Additionally, during the pendency of the Rule 3.800 proceedings, Starkes filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 on February 18, 2011, pursuant to the mailbox rule. See Resp. Ex. 22. He filed an amended motion (Rule 3.850 motion) on March 9, 2011. See Resp. Ex. 23. In his request for post-conviction relief, Starkes asserted that counsel was ineffective because he misadvised Starkes: he faced a term of imprisonment of thirty years as an HFO for the offense of possession of cocaine while armed if he proceeded to trial (ground one), and to not testify during the suppression hearing as to Officer Sharp's alleged unlawful intrusion (ground four). Additionally, Starkes contended that counsel was ineffective because he failed to: adopt Starkes' pro se motion to disqualify Judge Haddock and preserve the issue for appeal (ground two); properly preserve for appellate review the issue relating to the trial court's denial of his motion for a continuance of the suppression hearing to locate defense witness Devon Brown (ground three); and file a motion to compel Judge Haddock to order Officer Sharp to answer the certified deposition question, file a motion in limine to prohibit Officer Sharp from testifying during the suppression hearing, and preserve the issues for appeal (ground five). The State responded. See Resp. Ex. 25.

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The circuit court partially granted the Rule 3.850 motion as to ground one relating to Starkes' assertion that he was improperly deemed an HFO as to count one; the court therefore struck the HFO designation as to count one. See Resp. Ex. 26. Additionally, the court denied the Rule 3.850 motion as to grounds two, three, four, five, and the remaining portion of ground one. See id. The court entered an amended judgment and sentence on May 5, 2014, nunc pro tunc to February 14, 2008. See Resp. Ex. 27. Starkes did not appeal the circuit court's decision.

III. One-Year Limitations Period

The Petition appears to be timely filed within the one-year limitations period. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).

IV. Evidentiary Hearing

In a habeas corpus proceeding, the burden is on the petitioner to establish the need for a federal evidentiary hearing. See Chavez v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 647 F.3d 1057, 1060 (11th Cir. 2011). "In deciding whether to grant an evidentiary hearing, a federal court must consider whether such a hearing could enable an applicant to prove the petition's factual allegations, which, if true, would entitle the applicant to federal habeas relief." Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 474 (2007); Jones v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 834 F.3d 1299, 1318-19 (11th Cir. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 2245 (2017). "It follows that if the record refutes the applicant's factual allegations or otherwise precludes

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habeas relief, a district court is not required to hold an evidentiary hearing." Schriro, 550 U.S. at 474. The pertinent facts of this case are fully developed in the record before the Court. Because this Court can "adequately assess [Starkes'] claim[s] without further factual development," Turner v. Crosby, 339 F.3d 1247, 1275 (11th Cir. 2003), an evidentiary hearing will not be conducted.

V. Standard of Review

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) governs a state prisoner's federal petition for habeas corpus. See Ledford v. Warden, Ga. Diagnostic & Classification Prison, 818 F.3d 600, 642 (11th Cir. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 1432 (2017). "'The purpose of AEDPA is to ensure that federal habeas relief functions as a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not as a means of error correction.'" Id. (quoting Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 38 (2011) (quotation marks omitted)). As such, federal habeas review of final state court decisions is "'greatly circumscribed' and 'highly deferential.'" Id. (quoting Hill v. Humphrey, 662 F.3d 1335, 1343 (11th Cir. 2011) (quotation marks omitted)).

The first task of the federal habeas court is to identify the last state court decision, if any, that adjudicated the claim on the merits. See Wilson v. Warden, Ga. Diagnostic Prison, 834 F.3d 1227, 1235 (11th Cir. 2016) (en banc), cert. granted, 137 S.Ct.

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1203 (2017); Marshall v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., 828 F.3d 1277, 1285 (11th Cir. 2016). Regardless of whether the last state court provided a reasoned opinion, "it may be presumed that the state court adjudicated the claim on the merits in the absence of any indication or state-law procedural principles to the contrary." Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 99 (2011) (citation omitted); see also Johnson v. Williams, 568 U.S. 289, 301 (2013).1 Thus, the state court need not issue an opinion explaining its rationale in order for the state court's decision to qualify as an adjudication on the merits. See Richter, 562 U.S. at 100.

If the claim was "adjudicated on the merits" in state court, § 2254(d) bars relitigation of the claim unless the state court's decision (1) "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) "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); Richter, 562 U.S. at 97-98. As the Eleventh Circuit has explained:

First, § 2254(d)(1) provides for federal review for claims of state courts' erroneous legal conclusions. As explained by the Supreme Court in Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 120

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S. Ct. 1495, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000), §
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