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Fails v. Jones

Supreme Court of Florida

June 15, 2017

ANTHONY J. FAILS, Petitioner,
v.
JULIE L. JONES, etc., Respondent.

         Original Proceeding - Habeas Corpus

          Anthony J. Fails, pro se, Punta Gorda, Florida, for Petitioner

          No appearance for Respondent

          PER CURIAM.

         Anthony J. Fails, an inmate in state custody, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus with this Court.[1] His petition in this case is the twenty-seventh extraordinary writ petition or notice he has filed with this Court since 2008. It is the thirteenth extraordinary writ petition or notice he has filed pertaining to Escambia County Circuit Court case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX. We dismissed Fails' petition in this case and, in doing so, expressly retained jurisdiction to pursue possible sanctions against him. Fails v. Jones, No. SC17- 327, 2017 WL 1046225 (Fla. Mar. 20, 2017) (dismissing habeas petition and directing Fails to show cause why pro se filing restrictions should not be imposed); see also Fla. R. App. P. 9.410(a) (Sanctions; Court's Motion).

         Fails was convicted in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial Circuit, in and for Escambia County, Florida, in case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX, of attempted sexual battery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced in November 2005 to fifteen years' imprisonment on each count. All of Fails' filings in this Court seeking to challenge these convictions and sentences have been frivolous, devoid of merit, or inappropriate for consideration by this Court.[2] In addition to those filings specifically challenging his convictions and sentences in case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX, Fails has initiated fourteen other proceedings in this Court.[3] We have never granted Fails the relief sought by him in any of his filings.

         Fails' habeas petition in this case is no exception. In it, Fails challenged his convictions in case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX, arguing that he was wrongfully convicted based on an invalid charging information and improper jury instructions. The petition raised claims that could have or should have been raised at trial and, if properly preserved, on direct appeal in his criminal case. See Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.850(c) (stating that relief on such claims is unauthorized). Because we determined that the relief Fails sought was unauthorized, we dismissed the petition pursuant to Baker v. State, 878 So.2d 1236 (Fla. 2004), and in accordance with State v. Spencer, 751 So.2d 47 (Fla. 1999), we directed Fails to show cause why he should not be barred from filing any future pro se requests for relief in this Court pertaining to case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX. Subsequent to the issuance of the order to show cause, Fails filed eight pleadings. In his response to the show cause order, Fails continued to raise the same arguments raised in his previous petitions before this Court concerning his convictions. He argued that his convictions constituted a manifest injustice and that as a result, this Court should vacate his convictions. Upon due consideration of Fails' response, we find that his arguments are without merit.

         This Court has exercised its inherent authority to sanction litigants who abuse the judicial process and burden its limited resources with repeated requests for relief that are either frivolous or devoid of merit. E.g., Hastings v. State, 79 So.3d 739, 742 (Fla. 2011); Johnson v. Rundle, 59 So.3d 1080');">59 So.3d 1080, 1081 (Fla. 2011). Through his persistent filing of frivolous or meritless requests for relief, Fails has abused the judicial process and burdened this Court's limited judicial resources.[4]Fails' response to this Court's order to show cause failed to offer any justification for his abuse or to express regret for his repeated misuse of this Court's resources. His seven filings in addition to his response further indicate that Fails does not appreciate or respect the judicial process or this Court's limited judicial resources. We are therefore convinced that if not restrained, Fails will continue to abuse the judicial process and burden this Court with frivolous and meritless filings pertaining to circuit court case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX.

         Accordingly, the Clerk of this Court is hereby directed to reject any future pleadings or other requests for relief submitted by Anthony J. Fails that pertain to case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX, unless such filings are signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar. Under the sanction herein imposed, Fails may petition this Court about his convictions or sentences in case number 172004CF003733XXXAXX only when such filings are signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar whenever such counsel determines that the proceeding may have merit and can be filed in good faith.

         Additionally, we find that the petition filed by Anthony J. Fails in this case is a frivolous proceeding brought before this Court by a state prisoner. See § 944.279(1), Fla. Stat. (2016). Consistent with section 944.279(1), Florida Statutes (2016), we direct the Clerk of this Court to forward a certified copy of this opinion to the Florida Department of Corrections' institution or facility where Fails is incarcerated. See Steele v. State, 14 So.3d 221, 224 (Fla. 2009).

          All other pending motions and requests for relief are hereby denied. No motion for rehearing or clarification will be entertained by the Court.

         It is so ordered.

          LABARGA, CJ, and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, CANADY, POLSTON, ...


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