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Everett v. State

Supreme Court of Florida

May 24, 2018

PAUL GLEN EVERETT, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED.

          Brantley S. Clark, Jr., Judge - Case No. 032001CF002956XXAXMX

          Linda McDermott of McClain & McDermott, P.A., Estero, Florida; and Charles E. Lykes, Jr., Clearwater, Florida, for Appellant

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Lisa A. Hopkins, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, for Appellee

          PER CURIAM.

         Paul Glen Everett, a prisoner under sentence of death, appeals the circuit court's order summarily denying his 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. Const.

         In 2002, a jury convicted Everett of first-degree murder, burglary of a dwelling with a battery, and sexual battery involving serious physical force. After hearing evidence at the penalty phase, the jury unanimously recommended a sentence of death for the first-degree murder by a vote of twelve to zero. We affirmed Everett's convictions and sentence of death on direct appeal. Everett v. State, 893 So.2d 1278 (Fla. 2004), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 987 (2005). We also upheld the denial of his initial motion for postconviction relief and denied his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Everett v. State, 54 So.3d 464 (Fla. 2010).

         In January 2017, Everett filed a successive postconviction motion to vacate his death sentence in light of Hurst v. Florida, 136 S.Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So.3d 40 (Fla. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 2161 (2017). In September 2017, the circuit court summarily denied the motion. This appeal follows. During the pendency of this case in this Court, we directed the parties to file briefs addressing why the circuit court's order should not be affirmed based on our 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).

         In Davis, we 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[]." 207 So.3d at 175. We have consistently relied on Davis to deny Hurst relief to defendants who have received a unanimous jury recommendation of death. See, e.g., Guardado v. Jones, 226 So.3d 213, 215 (Fla. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 1131 (2018); Bevel v. State, 221 So.3d 1168, 1178 (Fla. 2017); Cozzie v. State, 225 So.3d 717, 733 (Fla. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 1131 (2018); Morris v. State, 219 So.3d 33, 46 (Fla.), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct 452 (2017); 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); Tundidor v. State, 221 So.3d 587, 607-08 (Fla. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S.Ct. 829 (2018). Everett is among those defendants who received a unanimous jury recommendation of death, and his arguments do not compel departing from our precedent.

         Accordingly, because we conclude that any Hurst error in this case was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, we affirm the circuit court's order summarily denying Everett's successive motion for postconviction relief.

         It is so ordered.

          LABARGA, C. J, and LEWIS and LAWSON, JJ, concur

          CANADY and POLSTON, ...


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