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Conner v. Secretary, Department of Corrections

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

January 9, 2017

ANTONIO CONNER, Petitioner,
v.
SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Respondent.

          ORDER

          JAMES D. WHITTEMORE JUDGE

         Petitioner, a Florida inmate filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his 2012 conviction for robbery with a firearm in Hillsborough County, Florida . (Dkt. 1), which Respondent opposes (Dkt. 6). Upon consideration, the petition is DENIED.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Petitioner was charged with robbery with a firearm (Respondent's Ex. 1, Vol. V, record pp. 194-97).[1] Before trial, Petitioner filed a motion to suppress Deputy William Sims' out-of-court and in-court identification of him(Id., Vol. I, record pp. 28-34). The motion was denied after an evidentiary hearing (Id., Vol. IV). Petitioner was found guilty of robbery with a firearm and sentenced to life as a prison release reoffender (Id., Vol. I, record p. 79; 80-94).

         On appeal, his appellate counsel filed an Anders brief, [2] concluding that there was no . meritorious basis for a claim of significant reversible error (Respondent's Ex. 2). The state appellate court affirmed without discussion (Respondent's Ex. 6); Conner v. State, 136 So.3d 599 (Fla. 2d DC A 2014) [table]. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a petition in the appellate court alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel (Respondent's Ex. 11). That court denied the petition (Respondent's Ex. 13). In his federal habeas petition, Petitioner raises a single ground for relief:

Appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to argue that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to suppress the out-of-court and any in-court identification of him by Deputy Sims.

         STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         Standard of Review Under the AEDPA[3]

         Habeas relief can only be granted if a petitioner is in custody "in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Section 2254(d), which sets forth a highly deferential standard for federal court review of a state court adjudication, provides:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings 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.

         In Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000), the Supreme Court interpreted this deferential standard:

In sum, § 2254(d)(1) places a new constraint on the power of a federal habeas court to grant a state prisoner's application for a writ of habeas corpus with respect to claims adjudicated on the merits in state court. Under § 2254(d)(1), the writ may issue only if one of the following two conditions is satisfied-the state-court adjudication resulted in a decision that (1) "was contrary to . . . clearly established Federal Law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States" or (2) "involved an unreasonable application of. . . clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States." Under the "contrary to" clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by this Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than this Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Under the "unreasonable application" clause, a federal ...

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