FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
Appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Hamilton County,
David William Fina, Judge - Case No. 241994CF000150CFAXMX
S. Friedman, Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Karin L.
Moore and Stacy R. Biggart, Assistant Capital Collateral
Regional Counsel, Northern Region, Tallahassee, Florida, for
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Jennifer L. Keegan, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, for Appellee
H. Nolas, Chief, Capital Habeas Unit, Office of the Federal
Public Defender, Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee,
Curiae The Capital Habeas Unit of the Office of the Federal
Public Defender for the Northern District of Florida
Eugene Hamilton, a prisoner under sentence of death, appeals
the circuit court's orders summarily denying his
successive motion for postconviction relief, which was filed
under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851, and his
demands for additional public records, which were filed under
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.852. We have
jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla.
was convicted of the 1994 first-degree murder, armed sexual
battery, armed robbery, and armed kidnapping of Carmen
Gayheart. Hamilton v. State, 703 So.2d 1038, 1040
(Fla. 1997), cert. denied, 524 U.S. 956 (1998). We
affirmed Hamilton's convictions and sentence of death on
direct appeal. Id. at 1045. We thereafter affirmed
the denial of his initial motion for postconviction relief
and denied his petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Hamilton v. State, 875 So.2d 586, 589 (Fla. 2004).
January and April 2016, Hamilton filed demands for additional
public records under rule 3.852(i) relating to his
representation by predecessor postconviction counsel and the
judicial candidacy and tenure as a circuit court judge of the
Honorable E. Vernon Douglas, who oversaw Hamilton's trial
and initial postconviction proceedings. The postconviction
court concluded that Hamilton's demands for these
additional public records were "of questionable
relevance and unlikely to lead to discoverable evidence"
and denied the requests.
6, 2016, Hamilton filed a petition in this Court for a writ
of habeas corpus, claiming that he was entitled to relief
under the United States Supreme Court's decision in
Hurst v. Florida, 136 S.Ct. 616 (2016). We denied
the habeas petition on March 3, 2017, citing Asay v.
State, 210 So.3d 1, 22 (Fla. 2016) (holding that
Hurst does not apply retroactively to sentences of
death that became final before the Supreme Court issued its
2002 decision in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584
(2002)), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 41 (2017).
Hamilton v. Jones, No. SC16-984, 2017 WL 836807, at
*1 (Fla. Mar. 3, 2017).
August 24, 2016, while Hamilton's petition for a writ of
habeas corpus was still pending in this Court, Hamilton filed
a successive postconviction motion in the circuit court. In
his successive motion, Hamilton argued that (1) he is
entitled to a new postconviction proceeding due to the
institutional failure of the trial court, the State, and the
Florida Supreme Court that resulted in a violation of his
state and federal constitutional rights and (2) his death
sentence is unconstitutional under Hurst v. Florida.
The postconviction court summarily denied the successive
motion, concluding that it was "untimely as it was
submitted eighteen years after the mandate issued and that
none of the three articulated exceptions [in rule 3.851]
apply." Hamilton now appeals the denial of his
successive postconviction motion and the denial of his
demands for additional public records.
motion for postconviction relief must be filed within one
year of the date the defendant's conviction and sentence
become final. Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851(d)(1). Hamilton's
convictions and sentences became final when the United States
Supreme Court denied certiorari review of the direct appeal
proceedings on June 26, 1998. Hamilton v. Florida,
524 U.S. 956 (1998); see Fla. R. Crim. P.
3.851(d)(1)(B) ("For the purposes of this rule, a
judgment is final . . . on the disposition of the petition