Windom v. State, No. SC01-2706

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation886 So.2d 915
Docket Number No. SC02-2142., No. SC01-2706
Decision Date06 May 2004
PartiesCurtis WINDOM, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. Curtis Windom, Petitioner, v. James V. Crosby, Jr., etc., Respondent.

886 So.2d 915

Curtis WINDOM, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Curtis Windom, Petitioner,
v.
James V. Crosby, Jr., etc., Respondent

Nos. SC01-2706, SC02-2142.

Supreme Court of Florida.

May 6, 2004.

Rehearing Denied as July 8, 2004.


886 So.2d 918
Jeffrey M. Hazen of Brody & Hazen, P.A., Registry Counsel, Tallahassee, FL, for Appellant/Petitioner

Charles J. Crist, Jr., Attorney General, and Scott A. Browne, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, FL, for Appellee/Respondent.

Rehearing Denied as to SC01-2706 July 8, 2004.

PER CURIAM.

Curtis Windom appeals an order of the circuit court denying a motion for post-conviction relief under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850. Windom also petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(1), (9), Fla. Const. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the circuit court's order denying Windom's rule 3.850 motion, and we deny Windom's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case, as set forth in this Court's direct appeal opinion, are as follows:

In her sentencing order, the trial judge set out the details of this tragic event, which occurred in the City of Winter Garden in west Orange County, Florida on February 7, 1992. Before the event was over, [Windom], armed with a gun, had murdered three people and seriously wounded a fourth. The pertinent facts taken from the trial record and stated in the trial judge's order are as follows:
Jack Luckett testified that he had talked with [Windom] the morning of the shootings. In their discussion, [Windom] asked Jack if Johnnie Lee had won money at the dog track and Jack said, "Yes, $114." [Windom] said Johnnie Lee owed him $2,000. When [Windom] learned Johnnie had won money at the track, he said to Jack, "My nigger, you're gonna to read about me." He further said that he was going to kill Johnnie Lee. That same day at 11:51 a.m. (per the sales slip and the sales clerk) [Windom] purchased a .38 caliber revolver and a box of fifty.38 caliber shells from Abner Yonce at Walmart in Ocoee. Mr. Yonce remembered the sale and recalled there was nothing unusual about [Windom] and that he was "calm as could be."
Within minutes of that purchase, [Windom] pulled up in his car next to where Johnnie Lee was standing talking to two females and Jack Luckett on the sidewalk. All three testified that [Windom's] car was close and [Windom] leaned across the passenger side of the vehicle and shot Johnnie Lee twice in the back. (Johnnie Lee's
886 So.2d 919
back was towards [Windom] and there was no evidence that he saw [Windom].)... After the victim fell to the ground, [Windom] got out of the car, stood over the victim and shot him twice more from the front at very close range.... [Windom] then ran towards the apartment where Valerie Davis, his girlfriend and mother of one of his children, lived. ([Windom] lived with Valerie Davis off and on.) She was on the phone, and her friend Cassandra Hall had just arrived at the apartment and was present when [Windom] shot Valerie once in the left chest area within seconds of arriving in the apartment and with no provocation....
From the apartment, [Windom] went outside, encountered Kenneth Williams on the street, and shot him in the chest at very close range. Mr. Williams saw the gun but did not think [Windom] would shoot him. Right before he was shot, he turned slightly and deflected the bullet somewhat. Although he was in the hospital for about 30 days and the wound was serious, he did not die. He said [Windom] did not look normal — his eyes were "bugged out like he had clicked." ...
From there, [Windom] ended up behind Brown's Bar where three guys, including [Windom's] brother, were trying to take the weapon from him. By that time, Valerie's mother had learned that her daughter had been shot, so she had left work in her car and was driving down the street. [Windom] saw her stop at the stop sign, went over to the car where he said something to her and then fired at her, hitting her twice, and killing her.

Windom v. State, 656 So.2d 432, 435 (Fla.1995).

The jury convicted Windom of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder, and unanimously recommended that Windom be sentenced to death. The trial court followed the jury's recommendation, finding two aggravating factors,1 three statutory mitigating factors,2 and four nonstatutory mitigating factors.3 State v. Windom, No. CR 92-1305 (Fla. 9th Cir. Ct. order filed Nov. 10, 1992). Windom appealed his convictions and sentences to this Court, raising thirteen issues.4 This

886 So.2d 920
Court affirmed Windom's convictions and sentences. Although this Court found that the evidence was not sufficient to support the cold, calculated, and premeditated (CCP) aggravator with regard to the murders of Valerie Davis and Mary Lubin, it affirmed Windom's death sentences with respect to these two murders, finding that the existence of the one aggravating factor was sufficient to outweigh the little weight given to the mitigating factors found by the trial court. This Court denied Windom's remaining arguments. Windom thereafter filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, which was denied. Windom v. Florida, 516 U.S. 1012, 116 S.Ct. 571, 133 L.Ed.2d 495 (1995)

Windom thereafter filed an amended motion for post-conviction relief, raising twenty-one claims.5 The post-conviction court held a Huff6 hearing and summarily denied several of Windom's claims. The court granted an evidentiary hearing on

886 So.2d 921
claims 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10. Following the evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court entered a final order denying all relief. State v. Windom, No. CR92-1305 (Fla. 9th Cir. Ct. order filed Nov. 1, 2001) (post-conviction order). Windom now appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his rule 3.850 motion. He also petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus

RULE 3.850 APPEAL

Windom's rule 3.850 appeal asserts that (1) his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present an insanity defense during the guilt phase of the trial; (2) his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and present mitigating evidence during the penalty phase of the trial; (3) his trial counsel affirmatively harmed his case by making damaging statements to the court and conceding the State's case; and (4) the post-conviction court erred in summarily denying his remaining post-conviction claims.

Issue 1: Ineffective Assistance of Guilt-Phase Counsel

To prove a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel:

First, the defendant must show that counsel's performance was deficient. This requires showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the "counsel" guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment. Second, the defendant must show that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense. This requires showing that counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable. Unless a defendant makes both showings, it cannot be said that the conviction or death sentence resulted from a breakdown of the adversary process that renders the result unreliable.

Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984).

This Court reviews a post-conviction court's Strickland analysis as follows:

[T]he performance and prejudice prongs are mixed questions of law and fact subject to a de novo review standard but ... the trial court's factual findings are to be given deference. See Stephens v. State, 748 So.2d 1028, 1034 (Fla.1999). So long as its decisions are supported by competent, substantial evidence, this Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court on questions of fact and, likewise, on the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given to the evidence by the trial court. Id. We recognize and honor the trial court's superior vantage point in assessing the credibility of witnesses and in making findings of fact.

Porter v. State, 788 So.2d 917, 923 (Fla.2001).

Windom argues that his trial counsel, Ed Leinster, was ineffective for failing to investigate and present evidence during the guilt phase of the trial that Windom was insane at the time of the shootings and that he shot the last victim, Mary Lubin, in self-defense. After holding an evidentiary hearing on this issue, the post-conviction court denied this claim, providing over twenty pages of analysis in its order.

A. Failure to Investigate Mental Health Experts

Windom's first claim of ineffective assistance of guilt-phase counsel contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present expert testimony to support an insanity defense. At the evidentiary hearing, Windom presented the testimony of Dr. Jonathan Pincus, Dr. Craig Beaver, and Dr. Robert Kirkland. The State presented the testimony of Dr. Sidney Merin. Dr. Pincus, a neurologist, concluded that Windom was psychotic at the time of the shootings and that Windom suffers from

886 So.2d 922
brain damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. Dr. Beaver, a licensed psychologist and clinical neurologist, testified that Windom experienced an acute psychotic episode when he shot the victims. Although he could not reach a specific diagnosis, Dr. Beaver stated that Windom's psychosis was probably caused by bipolar disorder in a psychotic manic phase, depressive disorder with a mood congruent psychotic feature, or schizophrenia paranoid type.

Dr. Robert Kirkland, a psychiatrist, testified that he evaluated Windom at the time of the trial to determine whether Windom was competent to stand trial and his mental condition at the time of the crimes. He stated that he was not given sufficient information to determine whether Windom was sane at the time he committed the crimes, but there was no indication that Windom had brain damage. Finally, Dr. Sidney Merin, a...

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50 practice notes
  • State v. Mares, No. S–13–0223.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 9, 2014
    ...that a large number of states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Teague analysis. Id. at 65–66; see also Windom v. State, 886 So.2d 915, 943 (Fla.2004) (reporting that to date twenty-eight state supreme courts and the District of Columbia had adopted the Teague analysis). The Ida......
  • State v. Mares, No. S–13–0223.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 9, 2014
    ...that a large number of states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Teague analysis. Id. at 65–66 ; see also Windom v. State, 886 So.2d 915, 943 (Fla.2004) (reporting that to date twenty-eight state supreme courts and the District of Columbia had adopted the Teague analysis). The Id......
  • Davis v. State, No. SC02-1424.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • October 20, 2005
    ...is supported by competent, substantial evidence and we therefore affirm the trial court's denial of this claim. See Windom v. State, 886 So.2d 915 (Fla.2004) (holding that the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court on questions of fact and, likewise, on the credi......
  • Taylor v. Sec'y, Case No. 8:10-cv-382-T-30AEP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • June 1, 2011
    ...evidence supports the circuit court's factual findings." Smith v. State, 931 So. 2d 790, 803 (Fla. 2006) (citing Windom v. State, 886 So. 2d 915, 921 (Fla. 2004)); see also Blanco v State, 702 So. 2d 1250, 1252 (Fla. 1997) (citing Demps v. State, 462 So. 2d 1074, 1075 (Fla. 1984)). In essen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
50 cases
  • State v. Mares, No. S–13–0223.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 9, 2014
    ...that a large number of states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Teague analysis. Id. at 65–66; see also Windom v. State, 886 So.2d 915, 943 (Fla.2004) (reporting that to date twenty-eight state supreme courts and the District of Columbia had adopted the Teague analysis). The Ida......
  • State v. Mares, No. S–13–0223.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • October 9, 2014
    ...that a large number of states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Teague analysis. Id. at 65–66 ; see also Windom v. State, 886 So.2d 915, 943 (Fla.2004) (reporting that to date twenty-eight state supreme courts and the District of Columbia had adopted the Teague analysis). The Id......
  • Davis v. State, No. SC02-1424.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • October 20, 2005
    ...is supported by competent, substantial evidence and we therefore affirm the trial court's denial of this claim. See Windom v. State, 886 So.2d 915 (Fla.2004) (holding that the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court on questions of fact and, likewise, on the credi......
  • Taylor v. Sec'y, Case No. 8:10-cv-382-T-30AEP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • June 1, 2011
    ...evidence supports the circuit court's factual findings." Smith v. State, 931 So. 2d 790, 803 (Fla. 2006) (citing Windom v. State, 886 So. 2d 915, 921 (Fla. 2004)); see also Blanco v State, 702 So. 2d 1250, 1252 (Fla. 1997) (citing Demps v. State, 462 So. 2d 1074, 1075 (Fla. 1984)). In essen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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