United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
ANTOON II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the Court on Petitioner Laurent Dorivcrt's
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Petition, "
Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner
challenges his conviction for the murder of his wife, which
occurred in their residence. Respondents filed a Response to
the Petition ("Response, " Doc. 12) in accordance
with this Court's instructions. Petitioner filed a Reply
to the Response ("Reply, " Doc. 18).
asserts seven grounds for relief. For the following reasons,
the Petition must be denied.
was charged with first degree murder (Doc. 13-1 at 38), and a
jury found him guilty as charged. (Doc. 13-2 at 22). The
trial court sentenced Petitioner to life in prison. (Doc.
13-2 at 53). Petitioner appealed, and the Fifth District
Court of Appeal of Florida ("Fifth DCA") affirmed.
(Doc. 13-5 at 106-07).
losing on direct appeal, Petitioner filed a motion for DNA
testing pursuant to Rule 3.853 of the Florida Rules of
Criminal Procedure. (Doc. 13-5 at 110-20). The state court
denied the motion. (Doc. 13-6 at 43-46). Petitioner appealed,
and the Fifth DCA affirmed per curiam. (Doc. 13-7 at
then filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to
Rule 3.850 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (Doc.
13-8 at 2-15), and the state court denied that motion.
(Id. at 66-70). Petitioner appealed, and the Fifth
DCA affirmed per curiam. (Id. at 180). Petitioner
now seeks habeas corpus relief in this Court under 28 U.S.C.
Standard Of Review Under The Antiterrorism Effective Death
Penalty Act ("AEDPA")
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;
(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). The phrase "clearly
established Federal law, " encompasses only the holdings
of the Supreme Court of the United States "as of the
time of the relevant state-court decision." Williams
v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000).
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 'yfor Dep 1
o/Corr., 432 F.3d 1292, 1308 (11th Cir. 2005). The
meaning of the clauses was discussed by the Eleventh Circuit
Court of Appeals in Parker v. Head, 244 F.3d 831,
835 (11th Cir. 2001):
Under the "contrary to" clause, a federal court may
grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion
opposite to that reached by [the United States Supreme Court]
on a question of law or if the state court decides a case
differently than [the United States Supreme Court] has on a
set of materially indistinguishable facts. Under the
'unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas
court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the
correct governing legal principle from [the United States
Supreme Court's] decisions but unreasonably applies that
principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.
the federal court concludes that the state court applied
federal law incorrectly, habeas relief is appropriate only if
that application was "objectively unreasonable."
under § 2254(d)(2), a federal court may grant a writ of
habeas corpus if the state court's decision "was
based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light
of the evidence presented in the State court
proceeding." A determination of a factual issue made by
a state court, however, shall be presumed correct, and the
habeas petitioner shall have the burden of rebutting the
presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence.
See Parker, 244 F.3d at 835-36; 28 U.S.C. §
Standard For Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel
Supreme Court of the United States in Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), established a two-part
test for determining whether a convicted person is entitled
to relief on the ground that his counsel rendered ineffective
assistance: (1) whether counsel's performance was
deficient and "fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness"; and (2) whether the deficient
performance prejudiced the defense. Id. at 687-88. A
court must adhere to a strong presumption that counsel's
conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable
professional assistance. Id. at 689-90. "Thus,
a court deciding an actual ineffectiveness claim must judge
the reasonableness of counsel's challenged conduct on the
facts of the particular case, viewed as of the time of
counsel's conduct." Id. at 690; Gates
v. Zant, 863 F.2d 1492, 1497 (11th Cir. 1989).
observed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the test
for ineffective assistance of counsel:
has nothing to do with what the best lawyers would have done.
Nor is the test even what most good lawyers would have done.
We ask only whether some reasonable lawyer at the trial could
have acted, in the circumstances, as defense counsel acted at
trial. Courts also should at the start presume effectiveness
and should always avoid second guessing with the benefit of
hindsight. Strickland encourages reviewing courts to
allow lawyers broad discretion to represent their clients by
pursuing their own strategy. We are not interested in grading
lawyers' performances; we are interested in whether the
adversarial process at trial, in fact, worked adequately.
White v. Singletary, 972 F.2d 1218, 1220-21 (11th
Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). Under those rules and
presumptions, "the cases in which habeas petitioners can
properly prevail on the ground of ineffective assistance of
counsel are few and far between." Rogers v.
Zant, 13 F.3d 384, 386 (11th Cir. 1994).