THIS CAUSE is before the Court on Petitioner Charles Hamilton's 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for writ of habeas corpus. Hamilton challenges his judgment and sentence rendered in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, Florida in Case No. CF96-12042.
A review of the record demonstrates that the petition must be denied.
Hamilton was tried and found guilty of two counts of sexual battery on a victim less than twelve years of age. On April 30, 1997 he was sentenced to life in prison (Exhibit 001 p. 51-59).
Hamilton's direct appeal in the State Second District court of Appeal was filed in case number 97-2086. In his appeal, Hamilton raised the following issues: 1. Whether the trial court erred in finding that the juvenile victim's testimony about the crime was competent; 2. Whether the trial court erred in denying the Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal when the evidence showed, at most, one count of sexual battery.
The State Second District Court of Appeal affirmed Hamilton's direct appeal in an Order dated August 26, 1998. The Mandate issued on September 14, 1998. Hamilton was subsequently determined to be a sexual predator in an Order signed by the trial court April 27, 1999. Hamilton's appeal from this Order was affirmed by the State Second District Court of Appeal on March 9, 2001 in case number 2D99-2196.
Post Conviction Proceedings
Hamilton's next filing occurred on August 30, 2000, when Hamilton sought post conviction relief at the trial level pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850. In his rule 3.850 motion, Hamilton raised the following issues: 1. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to take a deposition of and subpoena for trial State's witness Evelyn Miller; 2. Trial counsel was ineffective for misleading and misinforming the Defendant thereby causing Defendant to involuntarily agree to counsel's choice of a judge only trial; 3. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to timely file a motion in limine and motion for bill of particulars before trial; 4. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to take a deposition and subpoena trial State's witness Ms. Peg Sneller of the Children's Advocacy Center.
The trial court held an evidentiary hearing, after which the trial court entered a final Order dated September 3, 2002, wherein the trial court denied relief on all claims. Hamilton appealed the trial court's ruling to the State Second District Court of Appeal in case number 2D02-4592.
In the appeal, the State responded to the following two issues which Hamilton raised in his single issue Pro Se brief: 1. The trial court erred, as a matter of law, when the court ruled that Hamilton intelligently, freely and voluntarily waived his right to jury trial; 2. Whether the trial court properly denied relief as to counsel's failure to depose and subpoena Peg Sneller for trial. The state district court of appeal per curiam affirmed the denial of relief on February 20, 2004.
Hamilton filed a second 3.850 Motion in the state trial court on July 7, 2003, asserting that the state's attorney assigned to prosecute his trial was an impostor who was never properly sworn in as an assistant State's attorney. This motion was summarily denied by the state trial court. The denial was affirmed by the State Second District Court of Appeal on February 20, 2004 in case number 2D03-4337.
Hamilton filed a Petition alleging ineffective assistance of Appellate Counsel in the State Second District Court of Appeal on July 7, 2003. The appellate court dismissed this Petition as untimely in case number 2D03-3079. The State did not participate in the action and was not served with a copy the Petition. As the Second District's files have since been destroyed, the Respondent is unable to produce a copy of Hamilton's Petition. However, Respondent filed a copy of the Second District Court of Appeals's docket sheet, along with the Order dismissing the Petition and the Order denying rehearing as Exhibit 006.
Hamilton next filed a motion in the state trial court seeking DNA testing pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.853 on March 25, 2004 which was summarily denied by the trial court on August 6, 2004. This ruling was affirmed by the ...