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Reyle v. State

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

April 18, 2018

JOHN WILLIAM REYLE, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL, Respondents.

          ORDER

          Marcia Morales Howard, Judge

         Petitioner, John William Reyle, initiated this action by filing a pro se Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (Doc. 1, Petition) on April 4, 2018. Petitioner challenges a 2001 state court (Duval County, Florida) conviction for lewd or lascivious act - sexual battery of a minor twelve to sixteen years of age. Doc. 1 at 1.

         a. Reyle's 2001 Conviction

         On January 20, 2000, Reyle entered a plea of guilty to the charge of lewd or lascivious act - sexual battery. See State v. Reyle, 16-1999-CF-3940 (Fla. 4th Cir. Ct.). That same day, the circuit court withheld adjudication of guilt and placed Reyle on sexual offender probation for a term of eighteen months. Id. On or about October 19, 2000, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested Reyle for violating the conditions of his sexual offender probation. Id. Reyle pled guilty to violating his probation on January 16, 2001. Id. That same day, the circuit court revoked Reyle's probation, adjudicated him guilty of lewd or lascivious act - sexual battery, and sentenced Reyle to incarceration for a term of twenty months. Id. Reyle did not seek a direct appeal of his judgment and sentence nor did he file any motions for postconvicton relief. Id. Upon review of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC), Corrections Offender website, it appears Reyle completed his twenty-month sentence on March 20, 2002. See Corrections Offender Network, Florida Department of Corrections, available at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/AppCommon/ (last visited Apr. 11, 2018).

         b. Reyle's 2004 Conviction

         On or about May 17, 2004, the Clay County Sherriff's Office arrested Reyle, which resulted in the State of Florida charging Reyle by information. See State v. Reyle, 2004-CF-692 (Fla. 4th Cir. Ct.). Thereafter, on or about July 21, 2004, Reyle was convicted of lewd and lascivious sexual battery of a victim twelve to fifteen years of age. Id.; see also Corrections Offender Network, Florida Department of Corrections, available at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/AppCommon/ (last visited Apr. 11, 2018). It appears the circuit court sentenced Reyle to a term of incarceration, followed by a term of probation for his new sexual battery conviction.[1] See Reyle, 2004-CF-692 (Fla. 4th Cir. Ct.). FDOC released Reyle from his most recent term of incarceration on July 18, 2015.[2] See Corrections Offender Network, Florida Department of Corrections, available at http://www.dc.state.fl.us/AppCommon/ (last visited Apr. 11, 2018).

         c. Reyle's Pending State Charges and Current Incarceration

         In the Petition, Reyle states he is currently confined at the Clay County jail. See Doc. 1 at 1. According to the Clay County Sheriff's Office website, the Clay County Sheriff's Office arrested Reyle on February 14, 2018. See Clay County Sheriff's Office, Detention/Jail, Inmate Inquiry, available at http://p2c.claysheriff.com/ (last visited Apr. 11, 2018). Reyle is currently confined at the Clay County pretrial detention facility awaiting resolution of the following pending state charges: failure to register as a sexual predator; failure to report vacating permanent residence; failure to update Florida identification; failure to report name or residence change; and giving false information at registration. See id.

         d. Reyle's § 2254 Petition and Analysis

         In this Petition, Reyle requests that the Court remove his 2001 state conviction from his permanent record. See Doc. 1 at 15. In support of this request, Reyle appears to raise three grounds for relief.[3] First, Reyle asserts “the Romeo and Juliet act” or “exception” should apply retroactively to his conviction because he was only four years older than the minor victim when he committed the offense. See Doc. 1 at 5, 7. Next, Reyle contends that he is actually innocent of the crime because his conviction falls under “the Romeo and Juliet exception.” See Doc. 1 at 8. Finally, Reyle avers that he is actually innocent of the crime because his counsel failed to depose the alleged victim who would have offered exculpatory testimony. See Doc. 1 at 10.

         A United States district court shall “entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (emphasis added). The “in custody” requirement is jurisdictional but nevertheless is liberally construed. Howard v. Warden, 776 F.3d 772, 775 (11th Cir. 2015).

The Supreme Court has stated that the “in custody” requirement means “that the habeas petitioner [must] be ‘in custody' under the conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition is filed.” Maleng, 490 U.S. at 490-91, 109 S.Ct. at 1925.[4] Accordingly, where a petitioner's sentence has fully expired, he does not meet the “in custody” requirement, and the mere possibility that the prior conviction will be used to enhance a sentence imposed for any subsequent crime is not enough to render him “in custody.” Id. at 492, 109 S.Ct. at 1926. The Supreme Court further noted that, “once the sentence imposed for a conviction has completely expired, the collateral consequences of that conviction are not themselves sufficient to render an individual ‘in custody' for the purposes of a habeas attack upon it.” Id. Such collateral consequences included the inability to vote, engage in certain business, hold public office, or serve as a juror. Id. at 491-92, 109 S.Ct. at 1925-26.

Birotte v. Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 236 Fed.Appx. 577, 578 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam). Although the “in custody” requirement must be construed broadly, it “still requires that the state exercise some control over the petitioner.” Howard, 776 F.3d at 775.

However, when [a] § 2254 petition can be construed as asserting a challenge to the current state sentence that was enhanced by an allegedly invalid prior state conviction, the petitioner is “in custody” for purposes of federal habeas jurisdiction. [Maleng, ] at 493-94, 109 S.Ct. at 1926-27; see also Lackawanna Cnty. Dist. Att'y v. Coss, 532 U.S. 394, 399- 402, 121 S.Ct. 1567, 1571-73, 149 L.Ed.2d 608 (2001) (concluding § 2254 petitioner satisfied “in custody” requirement because the earlier ...

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