Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Martin v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

December 13, 2017

Thaddeus Chaylon Martin, Appellant,
v.
The State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         An Appeal under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.141(b)(2) from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 12-30062, Victoria R. Brennan and Nushin Sayfie, Judges.

          Gyden Law Group and Henry G. Gyden (Tampa), for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Douglas J. Glaid, Senior Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Before ROTHENBERG, C.J., and EMAS and FERNANDEZ, JJ.

          EMAS, J.

         Thaddeus Chaylon Martin appeals four orders of the trial court: 1) an order denying a motion to disqualify the original trial judge; 2) an order denying a motion for reconsideration of a prior ruling of the original trial judge; 3) an order denying a motion for postconviction relief under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850; and 4) an order denying a motion for rehearing of the order denying the motion for postconviction relief.

         As to the order denying Martin's motion to disqualify, we find no error. Before Martin even filed his motion to disqualify, the original trial judge (who was the subject of the motion to disqualify) was already reassigned to the juvenile division, and therefore was no longer presiding over Martin's case. The newly-assigned judge correctly denied Martin's motion both on its merits and in light of the reassignment of the original trial judge. See Neal v. State, 929 So.2d 59 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006) (holding that motion to disqualify postconviction judge from ruling on defendant's motion for rehearing of his motion for postconviction relief was rendered moot by that judge's reassignment to another division).

         We also find no error in the order denying Martin's motion for reconsideration of the prior ruling of the original trial judge, given that the motion to disqualify was denied on its merits. See Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.330(h) (providing that prior rulings "by a disqualified judge may be reconsidered by a successor judge upon a timely-filed motion for reconsideration") (emphasis added).[1]

         As to Martin's final claims, we affirm the trial court's order denying his motion for postconviction relief (rendered by the original trial judge) and order denying rehearing (rendered by a second trial judge), which motions were premised on a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Martin claims that, at his first probation violation hearing in 2013, his counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to advise Martin that he had not been lawfully placed on probation on Count Two during his original plea and sentence in 2013. Martin asserts that, had he been so advised, he would not have admitted to the subsequent violation of probation in 2014, and instead would have insisted on proceeding to a probation violation hearing, where it would have been established he was in fact not on probation for Count Two (and therefore could not have "violated" his probation).

         This claim fails because its premise (i.e., that he was never placed on probation on Count Two) is simply incorrect. The record-including the signed written plea agreement, the probation order, and the oral pronouncement as set forth in the transcript of the plea and sentencing hearing-establishes that Martin pleaded guilty to a two-count information, pursuant to which he would be placed on a concurrent, one-year term of probation as to each count of the information.[2]To the extent that the judgment and sentence for Count Two omitted the one-year probationary term, or otherwise conflicted with the oral pronouncement of the trial court at the original sentencing, such an error is subject to correction by the trial court, as the oral pronouncement controls. See Ashley v. State, 850 So.2d 1265 (Fla. 2003) (oral pronouncement controls over written document). Where a conflict exists between the written sentence and the oral pronouncement, the proper remedy is for the trial court to clarify or correct the sentence, consistent with the oral pronouncement. Chapman v. State, 14 So.3d 273 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009). Such a correction is cognizable as a motion to correct illegal sentence pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a)(1), which provides that "[a] court may at any time correct an illegal sentence imposed by it . . . ." See also Williams v. State, 957 So.2d 600 (Fla. 2007).

         In the instant case, the trial court properly entered an order correcting the 2013 sentence to ensure that the written judgment and sentence conformed to the oral pronouncement, which included a probationary term for Count Two. Martin's counsel "cannot be deemed ineffective for failing to raise a meritless claim." Peede v. State, 955 So.2d 480, 502-03 (Fla. 2007). Had Martin's counsel raised this issue prior to or at the time of the probation violation hearing, the proper remedy would have been for the trial court to enter a corrected judgment and sentence nunc pro tunc, properly reflecting the agreed-upon and orally pronounced sentence. Therefore, any inconsistency between the oral pronouncement and the written judgment and sentence (or the trial court's correction of same) could not have affected the outcome of the proceeding because there is no reasonable probability that, but for this error or omission, Martin would not have entered a plea to the violation of probation and instead would have insisted on proceeding to a violation of probation hearing. See Grosvenor v. State, 874 So.2d 1176, 1181 (Fla. 2004) (establishing two-pronged test for assessing claims of ineffective assistance of counsel relating to guilty pleas: the first prong is identical to the deficient performance prong in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984); the second prong requires that the defendant demonstrate "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, the defendant would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial").

         Affirmed.

---------


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.