State v. Meyer, Nos. 62257

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtEHRLICH; ALDERMAN
Citation430 So.2d 440
PartiesSTATE of Florida, Petitioner, v. William J. MEYER, Respondent. STATE of Florida, Petitioner, v. Inez SILVERA, Respondent. STATE of Florida, Petitioner, v. Phillip Michael LEVESQUE, Respondent. STATE of Florida, Petitioner, v. Cynthia Denise SMITH, Respondent. STATE of Florida, Petitioner, v. Robert Thomas AVERA, Respondent. Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Petitioner, v. Roy Lee EPPS, Respondent.
Decision Date31 March 1983
Docket Number62401,62560 and 62908,62487,Nos. 62257,62451

Page 440

430 So.2d 440
STATE of Florida, Petitioner,
v.
William J. MEYER, Respondent.
STATE of Florida, Petitioner,
v.
Inez SILVERA, Respondent.
STATE of Florida, Petitioner,
v.
Phillip Michael LEVESQUE, Respondent.
STATE of Florida, Petitioner,
v.
Cynthia Denise SMITH, Respondent.
STATE of Florida, Petitioner,
v.
Robert Thomas AVERA, Respondent.
Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Petitioner,
v.
Roy Lee EPPS, Respondent.
Nos. 62257, 62401, 62451, 62487, 62560 and 62908.
Supreme Court of Florida.
March 31, 1983.
Rehearing Denied May 24, 1983.

Page 441

Jim Smith, Atty. Gen., and Richard W. Prospect, Shawn L. Briese, Richard B. Martell, and Sean Daly, Asst. Attys. Gen., Daytona Beach, and Robert L. Bogen, Asst. Atty. Gen., West Palm Beach, for petitioners.

James B. Gibson, Public Defender and James R. Wulchak, Chief, Appellate Div., Asst. Public Defender, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Daytona Beach, and Alan H. Schreiber, Public Defender and Steven Michaelson, Asst. Public Defender, Chief, Appeal's Div., Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Fort Lauderdale, for respondents.

EHRLICH, Justice.

These consolidated cases are before the Court on discretionary review of questions certified to be of great public importance. 1 We have jurisdiction pursuant to article V, section 3(b)(4) of the Florida Constitution.

All six cases turn on one set of undisputed facts. Respondents, each represented by court-appointed counsel, have been found guilty of various crimes. Through neglect, inadvertence or error, their attorneys have failed to file timely notices of appeal, thereby eliminating the opportunity for direct review. All six respondents sought and were granted writs of habeas corpus to seek belated direct review of their convictions on the authority of Baggett v. Wainwright, 229 So.2d 239 (Fla.1969), and Hollingshead v. Wainwright, 194 So.2d 577 (Fla.1967). The district courts of appeal recognized the potential significance of a recent United States Supreme Court decision, Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 102 S.Ct. 445, 70 L.Ed.2d 509 (1981), to these cases and certified the following questions as being of great public importance:

I: IN LIGHT OF THE DECISION IN POLK COUNTY V. DODSON, [454 U.S. 312] 102 S.CT. 445 [70 L.Ed.2d 509] (1981), IS STATE ACTION INVOLVED IN THE FAILURE OF A PUBLICLY APPOINTED LAWYER TO FILE A TIMELY NOTICE OF APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE CONVICTED DEFENDANT, SO AS TO ENTITLE THE DEFENDANT TO BELATED APPELLATE REVIEW BY PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS?

II: IN THE LIGHT OF THE DECISION IN POLK COUNTY V. DODSON, [454 U.S. 312] 102 S.Ct. 445 [70 L.Ed.2d 509] (1981), IS STATE ACTION INVOLVED IN THE FAILURE OF A PRIVATELY RETAINED LAWYER TO FILE A TIMELY NOTICE OF APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE CONVICTED DEFENDANT, SO AS TO ENTITLE THE DEFENDANT TO BELATED APPELLATE REVIEW BY PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS?

While we approve the granting of the writs by the courts below, we disagree with the rationale on which they relied, and we answer the first question in the negative. 2

In granting the petitions, the courts below relied on a line of Florida cases which has interpolated an element of state action into the relationship between a court-appointed attorney and his indigent client. In light of the analysis provided by the United States Supreme Court in Polk County, we must revisit those cases.

Hollingshead v. Wainwright authorized the use of the petition for a writ of habeas corpus as a means for seeking belated appeal. In that case, the trial judge had refused to appoint counsel for the purpose of taking an appeal. This Court, relying on Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353, 83 S.Ct. 814, 9 L.Ed.2d 811 (1963), found this to be a violation of Hollingshead's due process

Page 442

rights. In order to remedy the situation, Hollingshead was granted a writ of habeas corpus to seek full appellate review.

Three years later, in Baggett v. Wainwright, this Court addressed the same fact situation with the same result, but made explicit the nature of the state action underlying the grant of habeas corpus relief.

Generally, in the present context, state action is shown when a responsible official in the State's system of justice fails to take proper steps toward affording the necessary incidents of an appeal, e.g., appointment of counsel for a convicted defendant, after the State's duty to act in this particular is activated ....

229 So.2d at 242. The Court then went on to address the problems posed by the failure of court-appointed counsel to take a timely appeal when requested by the client to do so. Albeit in dicta, the Court implicitly imputed to the state acts of the court-appointed counsel.

The difficulty reposes in the contention...

To continue reading

Request your trial
77 practice notes
  • Trowell v. State, No. 95-3082
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 20, 1998
    ...(on reh'g). 2 The second requirement has since been eliminated. See State v. District Ct. of App., First Dist.; State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440 (Fla.1983); Joseph v. State, 451 So.2d 886 (Fla. 5th DCA 3 Although Bridges does not actually cite Robinson, it relies on case law that does. 4 In hi......
  • Sims v. State, No. SC05-400.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 25, 2008
    ...834, 872 (Fla.2000); State v. Dist. Court of Appeal, 569 So.2d 439 (Fla. 1990), superseded by Fla. R.App. P. 9.140(j)(1); State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440 (Fla. 1983), abrogated by State v. Dist. Court of Appeal, 569 So.2d 439 (Fla. 1990). Although the majority has adopted the rule to govern "......
  • Jones v. Law Firm of Hill and Ponton, No. 6:00-CV-746-ORL31JGG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • March 26, 2001
    ...the knowledge and skill necessary to confront the circumstances of each case. See, e.g., Bill Branch, 555 So.2d at 455; State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440, 443 (Fla.1983), overruled on other grounds sub nom. State v. District Court of Appeal, First District, 569 So.2d 439 (Fla.1990). In addition......
  • Defender v. State, Nos. SC09–1181
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • May 23, 2013
    ...or privately retained, are under the professional duty not to neglect any legal matters entrusted to them.” State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440, 443 (Fla.1983) (citing Rule 4–1.3, Rules Regulating Fla. Bar (Diligence) formerly Fla. Bar Code Prof. Resp. D.R. 6–101(A)(3)). Whether an indigent defen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
77 cases
  • Trowell v. State, No. 95-3082
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 20, 1998
    ...(on reh'g). 2 The second requirement has since been eliminated. See State v. District Ct. of App., First Dist.; State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440 (Fla.1983); Joseph v. State, 451 So.2d 886 (Fla. 5th DCA 3 Although Bridges does not actually cite Robinson, it relies on case law that does. 4 In hi......
  • Sims v. State, No. SC05-400.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 25, 2008
    ...834, 872 (Fla.2000); State v. Dist. Court of Appeal, 569 So.2d 439 (Fla. 1990), superseded by Fla. R.App. P. 9.140(j)(1); State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440 (Fla. 1983), abrogated by State v. Dist. Court of Appeal, 569 So.2d 439 (Fla. 1990). Although the majority has adopted the rule to govern "......
  • Jones v. Law Firm of Hill and Ponton, No. 6:00-CV-746-ORL31JGG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • March 26, 2001
    ...the knowledge and skill necessary to confront the circumstances of each case. See, e.g., Bill Branch, 555 So.2d at 455; State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440, 443 (Fla.1983), overruled on other grounds sub nom. State v. District Court of Appeal, First District, 569 So.2d 439 (Fla.1990). In addition......
  • Defender v. State, Nos. SC09–1181
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • May 23, 2013
    ...or privately retained, are under the professional duty not to neglect any legal matters entrusted to them.” State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440, 443 (Fla.1983) (citing Rule 4–1.3, Rules Regulating Fla. Bar (Diligence) formerly Fla. Bar Code Prof. Resp. D.R. 6–101(A)(3)). Whether an indigent defen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT