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Danny C. Taylor v. Secretary Department of Corrections

November 18, 2011

DANNY C. TAYLOR, PETITIONER,
v.
SECRETARY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



ORDER

Petitioner initiated this action for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 1, filed April 25, 2011). Upon consideration of the petition, the Court ordered Respondents to show cause why the relief sought in the petition should not be granted. Thereafter, Respondents filed a timely response to the petition for writ of habeas corpus in compliance with this Court's instructions and with the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (Doc. 14, filed August 29, 2011). In the response, Respondents allege that Petitioner's sole claim was procedurally barred. Despite having the opportunity to do so (Doc. 15), Petitioner filed no reply to the response.

Petitioner alleges one claim for relief in his habeas petition. Petitioner claims that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to properly investigate and prepare for his violation hearing and for not attempting to obtain a continuance of his case in order to accumulate evidence to show that no violation was committed (Doc. 1 at 6; Doc. 2 at 6). Upon due consideration of the petition, the response, and the state-court record, this Court concludes, for the reasons set forth below, that the petition should be denied as unexhausted and procedurally barred.

I. Procedural History

On March 11, 2008, Petitioner was charged by information with one count of driving while his driver's license was revoked as a habitual traffic offender, in violation of Florida Statute § 322.24(5) (App. A ).*fn1 On August 11, 2008, Petitioner entered a plea of nolo contendere to the charge and was sentenced to time served in prison, followed by eighteen months probation and community service (App. B, C, D). On April 21, 2009, an affidavit of violation was filed, alleging that Petitioner violated the terms and conditions of his probation (App. E). An amended affidavit of violation was filed on May 12, 2009 (App. F).

After a hearing on the violation of probation on July 7, 2009, Petitioner was sentenced to thirty months in prison (App. H). Petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence, but filed a notice of voluntary dismissal on December 9, 2009 and the Fifth District Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on December 11, 2009 (App. I, J).

Petitioner filed a Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 motion ("Rule 3.850 motion") for post-conviction relief on February 15, 2010 (App. L). On March 10, 2010, the trial court issued an order striking ground one of the motion as facially insufficient to establish a prima facie claim for relief and allowed an opportunity for Petitioner to amend the motion (App. M). On August 13, 2010, the motion was denied by the trial court (App. N). Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal per curiam affirmed on August 10, 2010 (App. P); Taylor v. State, 48 So. 3d 857 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010).

The instant petition was timely filed on April 19, 2011 (Doc. 1).

II. Governing Legal Principles

Because Petitioner filed his petition after April 24, 1996, this case is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792 (2001); Henderson v. Campbell, 353 F.3d 880, 889-90 (11th Cir. 2003). The AEDPA "establishes a more deferential standard of review of state habeas judgments," Fugate v. Head, 261 F.3d 1206, 1215 (11th Cir. 2001), in order to "prevent federal habeas 'retrials' and to ensure that state-court convictions are given effect to the extent possible under law." Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693 (2002); see also Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002) (recognizing that the federal habeas court's evaluation of state-court rulings is highly deferential and that state-court decisions must be given the benefit of the doubt).

a. Standard of Review Under the AEDPA

Pursuant to the AEDPA, habeas relief may not be granted with respect to a claim adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the adjudication of the claim:

(1) resulted in a decision that 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) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. ยง 2254(d). The phrase "clearly established Federal law," encompasses only the holdings of the United States Supreme Court "as of the time of the relevant state-court ...


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