SAMUEL L. SMITHERS, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
Appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Hillsborough County,
Michelle Sisco, Judge - Case No. 291996CF008093000AHC
Vincent Viggiano, Jr., Capital Collateral Regional Counsel,
Adriana C. Corso and Ali A. Shakoor, Assistant Capital
Collateral Regional Counsel, Middle Region, Temple Terrace,
Florida, for Appellant
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, and Candace
M. Sabella, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, Florida,
L. Smithers, a prisoner under sentences of death, appeals the
circuit court's order summarily denying his first
successive motion for postconviction relief, which was filed
under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851. We have
jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla.
1998, a jury convicted Smithers of two counts of first-degree
murder for the 1996 killings of Cristy Cowan and Denise
Roach. After hearing evidence at the penalty phase, the jury
unanimously recommended the death sentence for each murder by
a vote of twelve to zero. We affirmed Smithers'
convictions and sentences of death on direct appeal.
Smithers v. State, 826 So.2d 916 (Fla. 2002). We
also upheld the denial of his initial motion for
postconviction relief and denied his petition for a writ of
habeas corpus. Smithers v. State, 18 So.3d 460 (Fla.
January 2017, Smithers filed his current first successive
postconviction motion in which he raised numerous claims in
light of Hurst v. Florida (Hurst v.
Florida), 136 S.Ct. 616 (2016), Hurst v. State
(Hurst), 202 So.3d 40 (Fla. 2016), cert.
denied, 137 S.Ct. 2161 (2017), Perry v. State,
210 So.3d 630 (Fla. 2016), and chapter 2016-13, Laws of
Florida. In June 2017, the circuit court entered an order
summarily denying Smithers' successive postconviction
motion. This appeal followed. While Smithers'
postconviction case was pending in this Court, we directed
the parties to file briefs addressing why the circuit
court's order should not be affirmed based on this
Court's precedent in Hurst, Davis v.
State, 207 So.3d 142 (Fla. 2016), cert. denied,
137 S.Ct. 2218 (2017), and Mosley v. State, 209
So.3d 1248 (Fla. 2016).
Davis, this Court held that a jury's unanimous
recommendation of death is "precisely what we determined
in Hurst to be constitutionally necessary to impose
a sentence of death" because a "jury unanimously
f[inds] all of the necessary facts for the imposition of [a]
death sentence by virtue of its unanimous
recommendation." Davis, 207 So.3d at 175.
This Court has consistently relied on Davis to deny
Hurst relief to defendants that have received a
unanimous jury recommendation of death. See, e.g.,
Grim v. State, No. SC17-1071 (slip op. issued Fla.
Mar. 29, 2018); Bevel v. State, 221 So.3d 1168, 1178
(Fla. 2017); Guardado v. Jones, 226 So.3d 213, 215
(Fla. 2017), petition for cert. filed, No. 17-7171
(U.S. Dec. 18, 2017); Cozzie v. State, 225 So.3d
717, 733 (Fla. 2017), petition for cert. filed, No.
17-7545 (U.S. Jan. 24, 2018); Morris v. State, 219
So.3d 33, 46 (Fla.), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 452
(2017); Tundidor v. State, 221 So.3d 587, 607-08
(Fla. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 829 (2018);
Oliver v. State, 214 So.3d 606, 617-18 (Fla.),
cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 3 (2017); Truehill v.
State, 211 So.3d 930, 956-57 (Fla.), cert.
denied, 138 S.Ct. 3 (2017). Smithers is among those
defendants who received a unanimous jury recommendation of
death, and his arguments do not compel departing from our
because we find that any Hurst error in this case
was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, we affirm the circuit
court's order summarily denying Smithers' first
successive motion for postconviction relief.
LABARGA, C. J, and PARIENTE, LEWIS, and LAWSON, JJ, concur
and POLSTON, JJ, ...