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.

Davis v. Secretary, Department of Corrections

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

March 30, 2018

TREVOR J. DAVIS, Applicant,
v.
SECRETARY, Department of Corrections, Respondent.

          ORDER

          STEVEN D. MERRYDAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Davis applies under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for the writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) and challenges his conviction for robbery with a firearm, for which he serves life imprisonment as a habitual felony offender. This action was administratively closed to allow the respondent to supplement the record. Later, Davis was allowed to amend his application to include another ground. The action is now fully briefed. Davis moves for leave to amend a second time, for the appointment of counsel, for discovery, and for a decision in his action. (Docs. 53-57) As determined below, Davis is entitled to relief under neither the motions nor Section 2254.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         An earlier order (Doc. 27) determines (1) that all grounds for relief except ground eight are time-barred, (2) that Davis is not entitled to equitable tolling, and (3) that Davis shows entitlement to neither the “manifest injustice” nor the “actual innocence” exception to the limitation. This action was administratively closed and later re-opened (Docs. 32 and 38) to supplement the record on ground eight.

         The respondent interpreted ground eight to allege two claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, specifically, that counsel rendered ineffective assistance (1) by failing to adequately explain to Davis that the state's offer to plead guilty (with a sentencing cap of fifteen years) was a “global resolution”of all charges and (2) by erroneously advising Davis that he did not qualify for a sentence as a habitual felony offender. The respondent argues that the “global resolution” issue lacks merit and the habitual offender issue is unexhausted. (Doc. 33) Based on the supplemented record, Davis admits that the habitual offender issue is unexhausted, withdraws the habitual offender issue as a separate claim, and states that ground eight asserts only one claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on the “global resolution” issue. (Doc. 36 at 1-4 and n.1 at 4) Specifically, Davis states, “There is only one claim and the misadvice about [habitual offender] qualification is in support of that one ineffective assistance claim for failing to properly convey a plea offer.” (Doc. 36 at 4)

         An earlier order (Doc. 48) permits Davis to add another claim based on his discovery that a trial witness had a prior juvenile adjudication. Davis alleges that trial counsel was ineffective for not discovering the prior conviction. The parties briefed the additional issue. (Docs. 51 and 52) This action is ready for a decision on the “global resolution” issue in ground eight and the prior juvenile adjudication issue in the additional ground for relief.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Davis and several others were charged with armed robbery. Davis rejected a pre-trial offer from the prosecution for a fifteen-year plea bargain. Later the state court judge “under-cut” the prosecution's offer and extended to Davis a twelve-year deal. Davis rejected both offers and insisted that he would plead guilty only if offered a suspended sentence and probation. Two of the co-defendants pleaded guilty and testified against Davis at trial. Although the video from a surveillance camera was of poor quality, Davis's girlfriend and the co-defendants identified Davis from the video. Davis was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment as a habitual felony offender.

         Davis unsuccessfully challenged his conviction and sentence both on direct appeal and in post-conviction proceedings. During the third post-conviction proceeding, Davis discovered that the offered plea bargain was for a “global resolution” of all of his outstanding charges.[1] Davis alleges that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not adequately explaining that the plea offer would resolve all pending charges and not just the armed robbery.[2]

         In 2014 Davis befriended a fellow inmate and discovered that they were from the same town and knew some of the same people. The inmate revealed that he was in juvenile detention with Davis's co-defendant, Donte Dix, who had testified against Davis, and that Dix had felony convictions.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) governs this proceeding. Wilcox v. Florida Dep't of Corr., 158 F.3d 1209, 1210 (11th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 840 (2000). Section 2254(d), which creates a highly deferential standard for federal court review of a state court adjudication, states in pertinent part:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings 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; or
(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.

         In Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412S13 (2000), the Supreme Court interpreted this deferential standard:

In sum, § 2254(d)(1) places a new constraint on the power of a federal habeas court to grant a state prisoner's application for a writ of habeas corpus with respect to claims adjudicated on the merits in state court. Under § 2254(d)(1), the writ may issue only if one of the following two conditions is satisfied - the state-court adjudication resulted in a decision that (1) “was contrary to . . . clearly established Federal Law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States” or (2) “involved an unreasonable application of . . . clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States.” Under the “contrary to” clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by this Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than this 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 this Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.

         “The focus . . . is on whether the state court's application of clearly established federal law is objectively unreasonable, . . . an unreasonable application is different from an incorrect one.” Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693 (2002). “As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 786S87 (2011). See White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1706-07 (2014) (“The critical point is that relief is available under § 2254(d)(1)'s unreasonable-application clause if, and only if, it is so obvious that a clearly established rule applies to a given set of facts that there could be no ‘fairminded disagreement' on the question . . . .”) (citing Richter); Woods v. Donald, 135 S.Ct. 1372, 1376 (2015) (“And an ‘unreasonable application of' those holdings must be objectively unreasonable, not merely wrong; even clear error will not suffice.”) (citing Woodall, 134 S.Ct. at 1702). Accord Brown v. Head, 272 F.3d 1308, 1313 (11th Cir. 2001) (“It is ...


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.