Petitioner, an inmate in the Florida penal system proceeding pro se, (hereinafter referred to as "Petitioner" or "Davis"), brings this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Dkt. #1). The Court has considered the petition and the Respondent's Response (Dkt. #16). Davis has not filed a Reply in spite of several extensions within which to do so. Upon review, the Court determines that the petition should be denied.
Davis was charged in Hillsborough County, Florida, with two counts of robbery and one count of aggravated assault. He pled guilty, but reserved his right to appeal the state court's denial of his motions to suppress his statements following his arrest and the identification by the victim of the aggravated assault charge. The state court, after holding an evidentiary hearing and denying the motions to suppress, accepted Davis's guilty plea on all charges and sentenced him to the negotiated plea of twelve years imprisonment with a ten year minimum mandatory prison term on the robbery charges. He was sentenced to five years on the aggravated assault count with all sentences running concurrently.
Davis appealed. The appellate court affirmed without written opinion. Davis v. State, 14 So.3d 1011 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009) [table]. Davis did not seek further relief on appeal, nor has he sought post-conviction relief. Respondent agrees that the petition is timely. Because the state court held an evidentiary hearing on the motions to suppress and this Court has the benefit of that record, no evidentiary hearing is necessary here.
The petition raises three grounds for relief:
(1) Petitioner was arrested without benefit of a warrant or probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment,
(2) the denial of Petitioner's motion to suppress his identification in the aggravated assault charge violated Petitioner's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, and
(3) the denial of Petitioner's motion to suppress all evidence and statements gathered after his illegal arrest was a violation of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The petition is governed by the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") which became effective on April 24, 1996. In reviewing a petition for writ of habeas corpus under § 2254, a federal court is limited to determining whether a petitioner is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). In making that determination, a federal court does not sit as an appellate court to rule upon evidentiary mistakes or the erroneous application of a state law unless necessary to correct a wrong of a constitutional magnitude. Wainwright v. Goode, 464 U.S. 78 (1983). A federal court cannot grant habeas relief unless a petitioner shows that the state court adjudication "resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established" Supreme Court law, or "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. § 2254(d)(1) and (2).
Petitioner was arrested without benefit of a warrant or probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
In ground one, Davis attacks the validity of his arrest. He argues that law enforcement had no probable cause to arrest him, especially without a warrant. He claims that the arrest was in violation of his constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment. But Fourth Amendment claims cannot be heard in a habeas corpus proceeding in federal court where a petitioner has received a full hearing of the matter in state court. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976).
In Stone, the Supreme Court held that a state prisoner may not be granted federal habeas relief on Fourth Amendment search or seizure issues if he was given a full and fair opportunity to litigate the constitutional nature of those issues in state court. 428 U.S. at 494. Here, Davis received a full and fair opportunity to litigate his Fourth Amendment claims, he just disagrees with the state court's factual findings and resulting decision. Since he received a full hearing in state court, ground one must be denied here. Even if this Court were not precluded from entertaining the issue, it would have failed on the merits.
Davis admits most of the underlying facts presented to the state court during the motion to suppress hearing. In May of 2004, someone carjacked William Anderson by use of a firearm. The carjacking took place a few hours after an attempted armed robbery of two female victims. The detectives investigating the cases put out a BOLO (be on look out) for Anderson's vehicle. About two months later on July 27, 2004, the vehicle was spotted parked in front of a duplex and placed under surveillance in the hopes that the person using the vehicle could be apprehended. After about 24 hours, when no one had returned to the vehicle, a detective interviewed a female who lived in the area and had been "paying ...