United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
ENORCH D. HALL, Petitioner,
SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS and ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF FLORIDA, Respondents.
DALTON JR. United States District Judge
cause is before the Court on the Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus (Doc. 1) (the “Petition”) filed by
Petitioner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Rules
governing habeas corpus cases permit a district judge to
summarily dismiss a petition when “it plainly appears
from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it
that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Rule 4
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts. See Hittson v. GDCP Warden,
759 F.3d 1210, 1270 (11th Cir.2014) (stating summary
dismissal of a habeas petition is appropriate “if it
plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits
that the petitioner is not entitled to relief”). For
the reasons set forth below, the Petition will be dismissed
found Petitioner guilty of first degree murder. (Doc. 1 at
1). On January 15, 2010, the trial court sentenced him to
death. Petitioner filed a direct appeal with the Supreme
Court of Florida, which affirmed. (Id. at 2).
Petitioner next filed a motion for postconviction relief
pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851, which
the trial court denied. (Id. at 3-4). Petitioner
appealed and also filed in conjunction with the appeal a
petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court of
Florida affirmed the denial of his Rule 3.851 motion and
denied the petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Id..
currently has pending a second Rule 3.851 motion with the
state trial court, which concerns the judgment of conviction
and sentence under attack in this case.
entitled to habeas relief, Petitioner must first satisfy the
exhaustion requirement. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b); Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 515-16 (1982); Picard v.
Connor, 404 U.S. 270 (1971). A claim is exhausted when
it has been “fairly presented” to the highest
state court with an opportunity to apply controlling legal
principles to the facts bearing on the constitutional claim.
Picard, 404 U.S. at 275. The exhaustion requirement
is not satisfied if there is a post-conviction proceeding,
such as an appeal, still pending in state court, even if the
issue to be challenged in the petition for writ of habeas
corpus has been finally settled in the state courts.
Sherwood v. Tomkins, 716 F.2d 632, 634 (9th
Cir.1983). This is because, even if the federal
constitutional question raised by the petitioner cannot be
resolved in a pending state appeal, that appeal may result in
the reversal of the petitioner's conviction on some other
ground, thereby mooting the federal question. See
case, petitioner is currently pursuing his state court
remedies through a pending Rule 3.851 motion. Petitioner
specifically states that he “has not had the
opportunity to fully develop claims that arise from him
having been sentenced pursuant to a statute that has been
held to be unconstitutional.” (Doc. 1 at 66).
allow simultaneous federal and state proceedings would offend
the principles of comity that form the basis for the
exhaustion requirement.” Brown v. Walker, No.
1: 09-cv-2534-WSD, 2010 WL 3516820, at *1 (N.D.Ga. Aug. 31,
2010) (citing Horowitz v. Wainwright, 709 F.2d 1403,
1404 (11th Cir.1983). As a matter of comity, it is best left
to the Florida state courts to determine Petitioner's
constitutional claims and challenges, which are still pending
and have not yet been exhausted. In particular, the pending
state proceedings might result in the reversal of
Petitioner's conviction and/or sentence and eliminate the
federal question, thereby rendering any decision by this
Court moot and wasting precious judicial resources. There is
no indication that there has been any delay with regard to
the pending state court proceedings, and Petitioner has not
shown that existing circumstances render his available state
remedies ineffective to protect his rights.
Court must dismiss petitions that contain both exhausted and
unexhausted claims. Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 510
(1982). Thus, when a federal habeas petition contains claims
that are still pending in the state courts, and therefore
unexhausted, the petition must be dismissed in order to
provide the state courts with the opportunity to resolve the
pending claims. See Horowitz v. Wainwright, 709 F.2d
1403, 1404 (11th Cir. 1983) ("[t]he principles of comity
that form the basis for the exhaustion requirement clearly
would be violated by allowing [Petitioner] to simultaneously
pursue [his] appeal in Florida state court and [his] Section
2254 petition in federal court."); Durham v.
Wyrick, 545 F.2d 41, 43 (8th Cir. 1976) (claims asserted
in a federal habeas petition, which were also pending before
a state court in a motion for postconviction relief, were
unexhausted). In the present case, the Court concludes that
this case should be dismissed in light of the pending
proceedings in the state court.
result, the Court concludes that this case should be
dismissed without prejudice so that the state proceeding may
Certificate of Appealability
Court should grant an application for a certificate of
appealability only if the petitioner makes “a
substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). To make such a
showing “[t]he petitioner must demonstrate that
reasonable jurists would find the district court's
assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or
wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484
(2000); see also Lamarca v. Sec'y, Dep't of
Corr., 568 F.3d ...