United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
TREVOR J. DAVIS, Applicant,
SECRETARY, Department of Corrections, Respondent.
D. MERRYDAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
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
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)
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
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.
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. 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
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.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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;
(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.
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.
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 ...