PATRICK C. HANNON, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee. PATRICK C. HANNON, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
Appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Hillsborough County,
Michelle Sisco, Judge - Case No. 291991CF001927000AHC
Dupree, Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Suzanne Myers
Keffer, Chief Assistant, and Scott Gavin, Staff Attorney,
Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Southern Region, Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, for Appellant
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, Timothy A.
Freeland, Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Marilyn Muir
Beccue, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, Florida, for
Hannon, a prisoner under sentences of death with an active
death warrant, appeals the circuit court's orders denying
his third and fourth successive motions for postconviction
relief filed pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure
3.851. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, §
3(b)(1), Fla. Const. For the following reasons, we affirm the
circuit court's denial of both motions and deny his
motions for stay of execution.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
direct appeal, this Court fully set forth the underlying
facts. Hannon v. State (Hannon I), 638
So.2d 39, 41 (Fla. 1994). Relevant to the instant proceeding,
Hannon was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder
for the killings of Brandon Snider and Robert Carter.
Id. After a penalty phase, the jury returned two
unanimous death sentences. Id. Hannon appealed, and
we affirmed the convictions and sentences. Id. at
41-44. On February 21, 1995, the United States Supreme Court
denied certiorari, Hannon v. Florida, 513 U.S. 1158
(1995), thus, Hannon's case became final on that date.
affirmed the denial of Hannon's initial motion for
postconviction relief and denied his petition for writ of
habeas corpus. Hannon v. State (Hannon II),
941 So.2d 1109, 1150 (Fla. 2006). During the pendency of his
initial postconviction motion, Hannon filed an interlocutory
appeal after the circuit court denied his motion to prohibit
DNA testing, which this Court dismissed. Hannon v.
State (Hannon III), 817 So.2d 847 (Fla. 2002)
Hannon sought federal relief pursuant to a writ of habeas
corpus, which was denied. Hannon v. Sec'y, Dep't
of Corr. (Hannon IV), 622 F.Supp.2d 1169 (M.D.
Fla. 2007). The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals granted
Hannon's request for a certificate of appealability on
one issue, but it denied relief. Hannon v. Sec'y,
Dep't of Corr. (Hannon V), 562 F.3d 1146
(11th Cir. 2009). 
postconviction court denied Hannon's first successive
motion for postconviction relief, which we affirmed.
Hannon v. State (Hannon VI), 94 So.3d 502
(Fla. 2012). Again, the postconviction court denied
Hannon's second motion for postconviction relief, and we
affirmed. Hannon v. State (Hannon VII),
SC15-2363, 2016 WL 3352780 (Fla. June 16, 2016).
filed his third successive motion for postconviction
relief-while the second motion was pending appeal-raising
various Hurst claims. The circuit court held the
third successive motion in abeyance pending the outcome of
Hannon's appeal in this Court on his second successive
motion, which was decided on June 16, 2016. On August 4,
2016, the circuit court entered a stay on Hannon's third
successive motion, pending our decision on the retroactivity
of Hurst v. Florida, 136 S.Ct. 616 (2016). Following
our various opinions, the circuit court denied Hannon's
third successive motion without an evidentiary hearing.
Hannon appealed, and we stayed the proceedings pending the
resolution of Hitchcock v. State, 42 Fla.L.Weekly
S753 (Fla. Aug. 10, 2017), petition for cert. filed,
No. 17-6180 (U.S. Sept. 29, 2017). When Hitchcock
became final, we lifted the stay and issued an order to show
cause why the denial of Hannon's third successive motion
for postconviction relief should not be affirmed.
October 6, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed a death warrant
for Hannon and set his execution for November 8, 2017. Hannon
filed his fourth successive postconviction motion in the
circuit court, raising three claims: (1) the lethal injection
protocol is unconstitutional; (2) the Governor's warrant
signing procedure is unconstitutional; and (3) Hannon's
death sentences are disproportionate compared to his
codefendants' sentences. The circuit court denied
Hannon's claims without an evidentiary
of Lethal Injection Protocol
presents various challenges that he asserts amount to a
violation of his Florida constitutional and Eighth Amendment
rights when considered together. The circuit court found that
we recently approved the current injection protocol in
Asay v. State (Asay VI), 224 So.3d 695,
700-02 (Fla. 2017); thus, the court correctly rejected that
portion of Hannon's claim. Further, the circuit court
found that Hannon failed to establish his additional
assertion that the three-drug protocol evaluated in
conjunction with the Florida Department of Corrections'
(DOC) "veil of secrecy" demonstrates that the DOC
is inconsistent with its protocol and concealing signs of
presented no new evidence that would require us to reconsider
our recent approval of the three-drug protocol, therefore, no
discussion of that portion of the claim is necessary. See
Hannon's "veil of secrecy" claim, the circuit
court properly denied his challenge. The DOC is entitled to a
presumption that it will properly perform its duties while
carrying out an execution. Lightbourne v. McCollum,
969 So.2d 326, 343 (Fla. 2007); Provenzano v. State,
761 So.2d 1097, 1099 (Fla. 2000). Moreover, we have noted
that our "role is not to micromanage the executive
branch in fulfilling its own duties relating to
executions." Troy v. State, 57 So.3d 828, 840
(Fla. 2011) (quoting Lightbourne, 969 So.2d at 351).
There is nothing before us sufficient to overcome the
presumption that the DOC will comply with the protocol that
we have approved regarding the necessary consciousness check.
See Howell v. State, 133 So.3d 511, 522 (Fla. 2014);
Valle v. State, 70 So.3d 530, 545 (Fla. 2011)
(rejecting a similar claim of "substitution of the drug,
coupled with inadequate procedural safeguards and a
cavalier attitude toward lethal injection" (emphasis in
original)); Lightbourne, 969 So.2d at 352. In fact,
one of the affidavits submitted by Hannon indicates that as
recently as a few weeks ago, during Lambrix's execution,
the DOC officials conducted a proper consciousness check.
See Correll v. State, 184 So.3d 478, 484 n.8 (Fla.
2015) (detailing the consciousness check when the execution
team members "yell the prisoner's name, lift the
prisoner by the shoulders and shake him or her, flick the
subject's eyelids, and pinch the trapezius muscle").
The burden was on Hannon to overcome the presumption afforded
to the DOC, and he failed to carry his burden. See
Muhammad v. State, 132 So.3d 176, 203 (Fla. 2013). Thus,
this portion of his claim fails.
we have consistently rejected Hannon's challenge that the
DOC should substitute the current three-drug protocol with a
one-drug protocol. See Asay VI, 224 So.3d at 702;
Muhammad, 132 So.3d at 196-97.
even taking these claims together, the circuit court properly
denied Hannon's challenge.
Governor's Warrant Signing Power
challenges the power of the Governor to sign death warrants,
which the circuit court properly denied. We have repeatedly
and consistently denied these claims. E.g.,
Bolin v. State, 184 So.3d 492, 502-03 (Fla. 2015),
cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 790 (2016); Mann v.
State, 112 So.3d 1158, 1162-63 (Fla. 2013); Ferguson
v. State, 101 So.3d 362, 366 (Fla. 2012); Gore v.
State, 91 So.3d 769, 780 (Fla. 2012); Valle, 70
So.3d at 551-52. Hannon contends that we must revisit this
settled point of law in light of Hurst, however,
Hannon is mistaken. The narrowing function required by the
Eighth Amendment, which we addressed in Hurst, has
already been performed by the time that a defendant is
warrant eligible. See Hurst v. State, 202 So.3d 40,
59-63 (Fla. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 2161
(2017); Silvia v. State, 123 So.3d 1148, 2013 WL
5035694 *1 (Fla. 2013) (Table) (defining warrant eligible).
the circuit court correctly denied relief to Hannon on this
contends that his sentence is disproportionate when compared
to his codefendants' sentences. The circuit court found
that this claim was procedurally barred because it has been
previously addressed on direct appeal and is untimely. We
rejected Hannon's proportionality claims on direct appeal
and in his initial postconviction motion. Hannon I,
638 So.2d at 44 (finding that "[c]learly, Hannon is the
most culpable of the three accomplices in this case, and the
two death sentences are justified"); Hannon II,
941 So.2d at 1145 (affirming the postconviction court's
denial of a similar claim couched in terms of newly
discovered evidence "because the instant case does not
involve equally culpable codefendants"). Because we have
addressed this claim on direct appeal and postconviction, it
is both procedurally barred and without substantive merit.
E.g., Lukehart v. State, 70 So.3d 503, 524
(Fla. 2011) ("Lukehart challenges this Court's
proportionality determination from the direct appeal, . . .
[t]his claim is procedurally barred, as it was raised and
rejected on direct appeal."); Allen v. State,
854 So.2d 1255, 1261-62 (Fla. 2003). Also, the claim is
untimely. One of Hannon's codefendants, Charles Acker,
was retried in 2001. Any claims related to that retrial are
well outside the one-year time limitation prescribed by Rule
3.851(d)(1). And the circuit court correctly found that
Hannon failed to establish any of the Rule 3.851(d)(2)
exceptions to the one-year limit. Because this claim is
procedurally barred, we do not reach the merits of
Hannon raised claims regarding the testimony of an FBI
analyst and blood spatter expert. We have twice rejected his
claim regarding the FBI analyst, Hannon II, 941
So.2d at 1145-46; Hannon VII, 2016 WL 3352780 at *1,
and once rejected the claim regarding the blood spatter
expert. Hannon II, 941 So.2d at 1121-24. Thus, those
claims must fail as well.
to the dissent's assertion, the record is actually quite
clear that the wound inflicted to one victim's neck by
Hannon was the fatal wound. Instead of basing a
proportionality determination on Hannon's allegations and
assertions, we rely on the record, which refuted the
assertions. At Hannon's trial and Acker's retrial,
the medical examiner, Dr. Diggs, testified about the neck
wound. He opined that the wounds inflicted by Acker could
possibly be "potentially lethal"; whereas, the neck
wound actually inflicted by Hannon was "certainly a
lethal wound." Furthermore, the wounds inflicted by
Acker would not have killed Snider for at least some extended
time period; whereas, the wound inflicted by Hannon caused
Snider to drop immediately and die in less than thirty
seconds. This case is distinguishable from
McCloud v. State, 208 So.3d 668 (Fla. 2016), where
we held that death was disproportionate, noting that
"the jury explicitly determined by special interrogatory
that McCloud was not the shooter" and that a "less
culpable, non-triggerman defendant" cannot be sentenced
to death when "the more culpable, triggerman
defendant" is sentenced to a lesser sentence.
Id. at 687-89. However, McCloud is
inapposite because the record here demonstrates that Hannon
was more culpable than his codefendants. Not only was Hannon
the "triggerman" by shooting Carter, he was also
the "buck-knife man" by slashing Snider's
throat to the point of near decapitation. Our relative
culpability analysis in Hannon I, 638 So.2d at 44,
was not dependent on who had the motive to kill Snider;
rather, it was based on the facts in record, which
demonstrated that Hannon killed Snider and Carter.
Hannon's codefendants were culpable, Hannon was the
person who slashed Snider's throat and shot Carter six
times; as such, it is as true today as it was twenty-three
years ago: Hannon was "the most culpable of the three
accomplices in this ...