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Edwards v. Secretary, Department of Corrections

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

May 30, 2017

VICTOR EDWARDS, Petitioner,
v.
SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, etal., Respondents.

          ORDER

          ROY B. DALTON JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This cause is before the Court on an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Petitioner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 7). Respondents filed a response to the amended petition in compliance with this Court's instructions and with the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases for the United States District Courts. (Doc. 15). Petitioner filed a reply to the response (Doc. 18).

         Petitioner alleges two claims for relief in his amended habeas petition.[1] For the following reasons, the amended petition for writ of habeas corpus is denied.

         I. Procedural History

         Petitioner was charged, along with several other co-defendants, with armed trafficking in 400 grams or more of cocaine (count one), conspiracy to traffic in cocaine (count two), possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (count eight), unlawful use of a two-way communications device to facilitate the commission of a crime (count thirteen), possession of drug paraphernalia (count fifteen), and possession of cannabis (count sixteen) (Doc. 16-1 at 165-73). Petitioner filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained, arguing the search was based on an invalid search warrant.[2] Id. at 185-204. The trial court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion to suppress, after which it denied the motion. Id. at 9-74.

         Petitioner entered a nolo contendere plea to the charged counts and reserved his right to appeal the denial of the motion to suppress. Id. at 79-95. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to concurrent ten-year terms of imprisonment for counts one, two and eight, to be followed by fifteen-year terms of probation, to a concurrent five-year term of imprisonment for count thirteen, and to time served for counts fifteen and sixteen (Doc. 16-2 at 48-63. Petitioner appealed, and in his initial brief he challenged the denial of his motion to suppress (Doc. 16-3 at 28-48). The Fifth District Court of Appeal (“Fifth DCA”) affirmed per curiam. Id. at 81.

         Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Rule 3.850 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (Doc. 16-4 at 11-41). The trial court summarily denied the motion. Id. at 81-88. The Fifth DCA affirmed per curiam (Doc. 16-5 at 42). Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Id. at 54-67. The Fifth DCA denied the petition without discussion (Doc. 16-6 at 162).

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Standard of Review Under the Antiterrorism Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”)

         Pursuant to the AEDPA, federal habeas relief may not be granted with respect to a claim adjudicated on the merits in state court 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.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

         “[S]ection 2254(d)(1) provides two separate bases for reviewing state court decisions; the ‘contrary to' and ‘unreasonable application' clauses articulate independent considerations a federal court must consider.” Maharaj v. Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 432 F.3d 1292, 1308 (11th Cir. 2005). The meaning of the clauses was ...


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