United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
J. DAVIS United States District Judge.
challenges a 2010 (Duval County) conviction for armed
robbery. Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of
Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (Petition) (Doc.
1) at 1. He filed the Petition on December 16, 2014, pursuant
to the mailbox rule. He raises three grounds in the Petition.
Respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus as Untimely and, Alternatively, Answer to
Petition (Response) (Doc. 11), and they calculate that the
Petition is untimely filed. In support of the Response, they
submitted an Appendix (Doc. 11). Petitioner filed a Reply to
the State's Response (Doc. 14). See Order (Doc.
to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA),
there is a one-year period of limitation:
(d)(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an
application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in
custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The
limitation period shall run from the latest of--
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for
seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application
created by State action in violation of the Constitution or
laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was
prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was
initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has
been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made
retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or
claims presented could have been discovered through the
exercise of due diligence.
(2) The time during which a properly filed application for
State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect
to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be
counted toward any period of limitation under this
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).
adequately address Respondents' contention that
Petitioner has failed to comply with the limitation period,
the Court will provide a brief procedural history. Petitioner
was charged by amended information with armed robbery. Ex. A
at 19. A jury returned a verdict of guilty as charged.
Id. at 50; Ex. B at 481.
March 3, 2010, the trial court sentenced Petitioner to 25
years in prison. Ex. A at 112-13, 130-56. Petitioner
appealed. Id. at 124; Ex. C; Ex. D; Ex. E; Ex. F;
Ex. G. On March 21, 2011, the First District Court of Appeal
(1st DCA) affirmed per curiam. Ex. H. The mandate issued on
May 27, 2011. Ex. K. The conviction became final on June 19,
2011 (90 days after March 21, 2011) ("According to rules
of the Supreme Court, a petition for certiorari must be filed
within 90 days of the appellate court's entry of judgment
on the appeal or, if a motion for rehearing is timely filed,
within 90 days of the appellate court's denial of that
limitation period began to run on June 20, 2011, and ran for
a period of 269 days, until Petitioner, on March 15, 2012,
filed a Petition Alleging Ineffective Assistance of Appellate
Counsel in the 1st DCA. Ex. L. This post conviction motion
tolled the limitation period until the April 13, 2012 denial
of the petition alleging ineffective assistance of appellate
counsel. Ex. M. The limitation period began to run on April
14, 2012, and ran for a period of 95 days, until Petitioner
filed a Rule 3.850 motion on July 18, 2012. Ex. N. This
motion tolled the limitation period, and it remained tolled
until the mandate issued on December 30, 2014. Ex. V.
Petitioner timely filed his federal petition on December 16,
2014, prior to the issuance of the mandate.
on all of the foregoing, the Petition, filed on December 16,
2014, pursuant to the mailbox rule, is timely. Therefore,
Respondents' Motion to Dismiss Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus as Untimely is due to be denied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
AEDPA governs a state prisoner's federal petition for
habeas corpus. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254;
Ledford v. Warden, Ga. Diagnostic & Classification
Prison, 818 F.3d 600, 642 (11th Cir. 2016),
cert. denied, 2017 WL 1199485 (U.S. Apr. 3,
2017). "'The purpose of AEDPA is to ensure that
federal habeas relief functions as a guard against extreme
malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not
as a means of error correction.'" Id.
(quoting Greene v. Fisher, 132 S.Ct. 38, 43 (2011)).
Under AEDPA, when a state court has adjudicated the
petitioner's claim on the merits, a federal court may not
grant habeas relief unless the state court's decision was
"contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application
of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the
Supreme Court of the United States, " 28 U.S.C. §
2254(d)(1), or "was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding, " id. §
2254(d)(2). A state court's factual findings are presumed
correct unless rebutted by clear and convincing
evidence. Id. § 2254(e)(1);
Ferrell v. Hall, 640 F.3d 1199, 1223 (11th Cir.
..."It bears repeating that even a strong case for
relief does not mean the state court's contrary
conclusion was unreasonable." [Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011)] (citing Lockyer v.
Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75, 123 S.Ct. 1166, 155 L.Ed.2d
144 (2003)). The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed
lower federal courts that an unreasonable application of law
requires more than mere error or even clear error.
See, e.g., Mitchell v. Esparza,
540 U.S. 12, 18, 124 S.Ct. 7, 157 L.Ed.2d 263 (2003);
Lockyer, 538 U.S. at 75 ("The gloss of clear
error fails to give proper deference to state courts by
conflating error (even clear error) with
unreasonableness."); Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 410, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000)
("[A]n unreasonable application of federal law is
different from an incorrect application of federal
Bishop v. Warden, GDCP, 726 F.3d 1243, 1253-54 (11th
Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 67
applying AEDPA deference, the first step is to identify the
last state court decision that evaluated the claim on its
merits. Marshall v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of
Corr., 828 F.3d 1277, 1285 (11th Cir.
2016). Regardless of whether the last state court
provided a reasoned opinion, "it may be presumed that
the state court adjudicated the claim on the merits in the
absence of any indication or state-law procedural principles
to the contrary." Harrington v. Richter, 562
U.S. 86, 99 (2011); see also Johnson v. Williams,
133 S.Ct. 1088, 1096 (2013). "The presumption may be
overcome when there is reason to think some other explanation
for the state court's decision is more likely."
Richter, 562 U.S. at 99-100 (citing Ylst v.
Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 803 (1991)).
the last adjudication on the merits is unaccompanied by an
explanation, the petitioner must demonstrate there was no
reasonable basis for the state court to deny relief.
Id. at 98. "[A] habeas court must determine
what arguments or theories supported or, as here, could have
supported, the state court's decision; and then it must
ask whether it is possible fairminded jurists could disagree
that those arguments or theories are inconsistent with the
holding in a prior decision of [the] Court."
Richter, 562 U.S. at 102; Marshall, 828
F.3d at 1285.
the § 2254(d) standard is difficult to meet, it was
meant to be difficult. Indeed, in order to obtain habeas
relief, "a state prisoner must show that the state
court's ruling on the claim being presented . . . was so
lacking in justification that there was an error well
understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement."
Richter, 562 U.S. at 103.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
in his first ground, asserts that the trial court erred by
excluding evidence relevant to the alibi defense, resulting
in the denial of Petitioner's constitutional rights under
the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution. Petition at 5. Respondents first claim that
Petitioner did not adequately exhaust this ground in the
state court system. Response at 12, 19-20. On direct appeal,
Petitioner presented the following issue: "[t]he trial
court committed reversible error in excluding the invitation
when the invitation was properly authenticated and relevant
to appellant's alibi defense and the court failed to
consider any alternative sanctions." Ex. C at i
(capitalization omitted). Under the Table of Authorities in
his brief, Petitioner references the Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution. Id. at
iii. In the brief, Petitioner states the following:
The trial court's ruling denied appellant his due process
right under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United
States Constitution and Article I Section 9 of the Florida
Constitution to defend against the State's evidence.
See, generally, Chambers v.
Mississippi, 41 ...