State v. Trowell, No. 92,393.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPARIENTE, J.
Citation739 So.2d 77,24 Fla. L. Weekly S 235
Docket NumberNo. 92,393.
Decision Date27 May 1999
PartiesSTATE of Florida, Petitioner, v. Ronald TROWELL, Respondent.

739 So.2d 77
24 Fla.
L. Weekly S 235

STATE of Florida, Petitioner,
v.
Ronald TROWELL, Respondent

No. 92,393.

Supreme Court of Florida.

May 27, 1999.

Rehearing Denied August 5, 1999.


739 So.2d 78
Robert A. Butterworth, Attorney General, and James W. Rogers, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner

Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender, and P. Douglas Brinkmeyer, Assistant Public Defender, Chief, Appellate Intake Division, Second Judicial Circuit, Tallahassee, Florida, for Respondent.

PARIENTE, J.

We have for review the decision in Trowell v. State, 706 So.2d 332 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998) (en banc), which certified conflict with the decisions in Bridges v. Dugger, 518 So.2d 298 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987), Gonzalez v. State, 685 So.2d 975 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997), Loadholt v. State, 683 So.2d 596 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996), and Zduniak v. State, 620 So.2d 1083 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993). We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. For the reasons that follow, we approve Trowell.

Ronald Trowell entered a guilty plea and was convicted of armed burglary and first-degree murder for an incident occurring in 1991. Acting pro se, Trowell filed a timely motion seeking a belated appeal pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850.1 In the motion, Trowell alleged that his court-appointed counsel failed to file a notice of appeal as he requested.2 The trial court summarily denied the 3.850 motion. On appeal, the First District treated Trowell's appeal of the trial court's denial of his rule 3.850 motion as a petition requesting a belated appeal filed in the appellate court under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.140(j). See Trowell, 706 So.2d at 338. The district court reversed the denial of the 3.850 motion, finding that the motion stated sufficient grounds for a belated appeal under rule 9.140(j). See id.

In an en banc decision, the First District reasoned that under our decisions in Baggett v. Wainwright, 229 So.2d 239 (Fla. 1969), and Amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, 696 So.2d 1103 (Fla.1996), defendants seeking a belated appeal are required to allege only that they made a timely request of counsel to file an appeal and that counsel failed to comply with the request. See id. at 337. The district court acknowledged that defendants have only a limited right to appeal from a guilty plea under Amendments and Robinson v. State, 373 So.2d 898 (Fla. 1979). See Trowell, 706 So.2d at 336-37. However, it rejected a requirement that a defendant unassisted by counsel must first file "sufficiently stated errors before his appeal may proceed," which would be "entirely irrelevant to his appellate rights if his lawyer had simply honored his client's request and filed the notice." Id. at 338 (relying on Rodriquez v. United States, 395 U.S. 327, 89 S.Ct. 1715, 23 L.Ed.2d 340 (1969), and Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967)). Nonetheless, the district court stated that both timely and belated appeals from guilty pleas would be subject to dismissal

739 So.2d 79
if the record does not reveal a reviewable error. See Trowell, 706 So.2d at 337

Five members of the First District dissented. The dissenters argued that the majority opinion failed to distinguish between defendants who had pleaded guilty and those who went to trial. See id. at 339 (Joanos, J., dissenting); id. at 342 (Miner, J., dissenting). The dissents distinguished Baggett, Rodriquez, and Anders because those cases involved defendants who had jury trials. The dissenters asserted that a defendant who pleaded guilty has no right to a direct appeal absent an allegation that the appeal presents an issue cognizable under Robinson. See Trowell, 706 So.2d at 341 (Joanos, J., dissenting); id. at 343-44 (Miner J., dissenting).

In response to these opinions, Judge Webster, in a concurring opinion, observed that:

The rule advocated by the dissenters would create two classes—those whose attorneys honored their request to file a notice of appeal, who need not satisfy any further condition to prosecute their appeal; and those, like appellant, whose attorneys did not honor their request to file a notice of appeal, who, solely because of their attorneys' dereliction, must overcome an additional hurdle before they will be permitted to prosecute their appeal. I can perceive no rational basis for such disparate treatment.

Id. at 338.

ANALYSIS

We are asked to decide whether defendants who pleaded guilty must include in their petitions for belated appeal allegations regarding the issues to be appealed and the merits of those issues. The First and Fourth Districts have required that a defendant seeking a belated appeal allege only that the defendant made a timely request of counsel to file an appeal and counsel failed to do so. See, e.g., Trowell, 706 So.2d at 337; Gunn v. State, 612 So.2d 643, 645 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993). In contrast, the Second and Third Districts have held that if a defendant pleaded guilty, the petition seeking a belated appeal must allege that if granted, the appeal would be potentially meritorious because it presents an issue cognizable under Robinson. See, e.g., White v. Singletary, 711 So.2d 640, 640 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998); Bridges, 518 So.2d at 300. The opinions of the Fifth District have not squarely addressed this issue. See Denson v. State, 710 So.2d 144, 145 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998) (finding petition for belated appeal sufficient if it alleges that the attorney failed to file the appeal as requested, but not specifying whether the defendant had pleaded guilty or gone to trial); Courson v. State, 652 So.2d 512, 512 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995) (remanding for evidentiary hearing on ineffective assistance of counsel claim where defendant who pleaded guilty alleged that counsel failed to file notice of appeal as requested).

We begin our analysis with Baggett, in which this Court first set forth a procedure for indigent defendants to obtain a belated appeal by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the appellate court. 229 So.2d at 243-44. Relying upon the United States Supreme Court's decision in Rodriquez, we rejected the argument that the petitioner would have to demonstrate "at least arguable reversible error" as a precondition to obtaining the belated appeal. Baggett, 229 So.2d at 243. Although Baggett involved a defendant who had been convicted after a trial, the decision made no distinction between defendants who pleaded guilty and those who went to trial.

Subsequently, this Court concluded that the right to obtain a belated appeal should not depend upon whether the default occurred as a result of the actions of a court-appointed attorney or a private attorney. See State v. Meyer, 430 So.2d 440, 443 (Fla.1983). Each of the defendants in Meyer had been found guilty and each of their attorneys had failed to file a notice of appeal. We stated that "[t]he undisputed facts before us reveal, as a matter of law, the ineffective assistance of appellate

739 So.2d 80
counsel." Id. (emphasis supplied). Thus, the failure of counsel to file a notice of appeal as timely requested...

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84 practice notes
  • Childers v. State, No. 1D03-2154.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Junio 2006
    ...division without antecedent publication of panel decision, then withdrawn and replaced by en banc decision of full court), approved by 739 So.2d 77 (Fla.1999); Hadden v. State, 670 So.2d 77 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (en banc decision released without antecedent publication of panel decision), app......
  • Childers v. State, No. 1D03-2154.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Junio 2006
    ...division without antecedent publication of panel decision, then withdrawn and replaced by en banc decision of full court), approved by 739 So.2d 77 (Fla.1999); Hadden v. State, 670 So.2d 77 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (en banc decision released without antecedent publication of panel decision), app......
  • Iaccino v. Anderson, No. 1–07–0207.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 3 Diciembre 2010
    ...not credible. But these are evaluations the jury should be entitled to make based on all of the relevant and competent evidence. Cohen, 739 So.2d at 77 (Anstead, J., dissenting). Allowing an expert to be cross-examined and impeached with his written medical report serves to further the unde......
  • Hysmith v. Jones, Case No. 3:17cv473-LC-CJK
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Florida
    • 22 Octubre 2018
    ...belated appeal does not need "to allege that the issues that would be presented on appeal are potentially meritorious." State v. Trowell, 739 So. 2d 77, 80 (Fla. 1999). The appellate court considering the petition does not reexamine the underlying judgment or claim, and a ruling on the peti......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
84 cases
  • Childers v. State, No. 1D03-2154.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Junio 2006
    ...division without antecedent publication of panel decision, then withdrawn and replaced by en banc decision of full court), approved by 739 So.2d 77 (Fla.1999); Hadden v. State, 670 So.2d 77 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (en banc decision released without antecedent publication of panel decision), app......
  • Childers v. State, No. 1D03-2154.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 28 Junio 2006
    ...division without antecedent publication of panel decision, then withdrawn and replaced by en banc decision of full court), approved by 739 So.2d 77 (Fla.1999); Hadden v. State, 670 So.2d 77 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996) (en banc decision released without antecedent publication of panel decision), app......
  • Iaccino v. Anderson, No. 1–07–0207.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 3 Diciembre 2010
    ...not credible. But these are evaluations the jury should be entitled to make based on all of the relevant and competent evidence. Cohen, 739 So.2d at 77 (Anstead, J., dissenting). Allowing an expert to be cross-examined and impeached with his written medical report serves to further the unde......
  • Hysmith v. Jones, Case No. 3:17cv473-LC-CJK
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Florida
    • 22 Octubre 2018
    ...belated appeal does not need "to allege that the issues that would be presented on appeal are potentially meritorious." State v. Trowell, 739 So. 2d 77, 80 (Fla. 1999). The appellate court considering the petition does not reexamine the underlying judgment or claim, and a ruling on the peti......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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