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Fletcher v. State

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

June 24, 2019

TRAVIS L. FLETCHER, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL and SECRETARY, DOC, Respondents.

          OPINION AND ORDER [1]

          SHERI POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Petitioner Travis Fletcher's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 42 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 1) filed on May 5, 2017. The Respondent Secretary of the Department of Corrections filed her Response in Opposition (Doc. 19) on April 4, 2018. Petitioner filed his Reply to the Response (Doc. 23) on November 29, 2018. This matter is briefed and ripe for the Court's review.

         BACKGROUND

         On January 27, 2005, Petitioner was charged with a two-count information charging him with Second Degree Murder with a firearm or deadly weapon, Count I, and with Carjacking, Count II. Petitioner was convicted on both Counts by a jury on March 18, 2005. (Doc. 21-1 at 8). Petitioner moved for a new trial on March 24, 2005, which was denied by the trial court. On May 1, 2005, Petitioner was sentenced to two concurrent terms of life imprisonment. (Doc. 21-1 at 18-19). Petitioner's motion for a new trial was denied. Petitioner then appealed his conviction and sentence. (Doc. 21-1 at 27-55). The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed per curium. Fletcher v. State, 944 So.2d 359 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006). Mandate issued on December 22, 2006. (Doc. 21-1 at 59).

         On March 4, 2014, Petitioner filed his state habeas petition which was dismissed by the Post-Conviction Court on April 11, 2014. (Doc. 21-1 at 75). Petitioner filed a Rule 3.800 post-conviction motion to correct an illegal sentence. (Doc. 21-1 at 61). The Post-Conviction Court denied the motion on June 3, 2014. (Doc. 21-1 at 70). Petitioner appealed and the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed per curium. Fletcher v. State, 163 So.3d 1192 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014). Mandate issued on October 27, 2014. (Doc. 21 at Ex. 18).

         Petitioner filed a Rule 3.850 motion for post-conviction relief on February 11, 2016. Petitioner argued that his life sentence without parole was illegal since he was a juvenile when he was sentenced. (Doic. 21-1 at 180). The Post-Conviction Court denied Petitioner's motion and the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed per curium. (Doc. 21-1 at Ex. 24). The Florida Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. 21-1 at Ex. 26).

         Petitioner now brings this Petition asserting three grounds. Respondent asserts the Petition was untimely filed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Antiterrorism Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”)

         Under AEDPA, the standard of review is greatly circumscribed and highly deferential to the state courts. Alston v. Fla. Dep't of Corr., 610 F.3d 1318, 1325 (11th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). AEDPA altered the federal court's role in reviewing state prisoner applications in order to “prevent federal habeas ‘retrials' and to ensure that state-court convictions are given effect to the extent possible under law.” Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693 (2002). These legal principles apply to this case.

         A federal court must afford a high level of deference to the state court's decision. Ferguson v. Culliver, 527 F.3d 1144, 1146 (11th Cir. 2008). Habeas relief may not be granted with respect to a claim adjudicated on the merits in state court 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.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181(2011). “This is a difficult to meet, and highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, which demands that the state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.” Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted). See also Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011) (pointing out that ...


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