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Gomez v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

July 22, 2019

Andrew M. Gomez, Appellant,
v.
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. James Daniel, Judge.

          Andrew M. Gomez, pro se, Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, and Anne C. Conley, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

         ON MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION

          Jay, J.

         Appellant's Motion for Clarification is denied, but we withdraw our previous opinion and substitute the following opinion in its place.

         Appellant, Andrew M. Gomez, appeals from an order denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus, which the trial court construed as a postconviction motion brought pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

         I.

         Appellant pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in return for a sentencing range of 40 years to life on each count. He was sentenced to consecutive life sentences. This Court affirmed his convictions and sentences. See Gomez v. State, 83 So.3d 713 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012).

         In 2017, Appellant filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his guilty plea should be vacated because there was no factual basis for the charges. He alleged that there was no preexisting enmity between Appellant and the victims to support the depraved mind element of second-degree murder, and that there was no proof to tie him to the victims' deaths. While Appellant acknowledged that this claim could have been raised in his previous postconviction motions, he asserted that his claim should be considered on the merits to prevent a manifest injustice. The trial court dismissed the petition with prejudice, construing it as a successive and untimely rule 3.850 motion. The court also found the claim to be legally meritless.

         II.

         On appeal, Appellant does not contest that his claim is untimely and successive. Rather, he contends that the lack of a factual basis for his guilty plea rendered it involuntary, and the failure to correct this issue would result in a manifest injustice.

         This claim is not only procedurally barred, it is legally meritless. "The main purpose in ascertaining a factual basis for a plea is to prevent a defendant from mistakenly pleading to the wrong offense." State v. Sion, 942 So.2d 934, 937 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006). "It is not a matter of weighing the evidence but only to fulfill the purpose of [Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.172, ] which is to make certain that a defendant does not plead guilty to an offense of which he could not possibly be guilty." Monroe v. State, 318 So.2d 571, 573 (Fla. 4th DCA 1975). "The inquiry which the court should conduct in order to determine there is a factual basis for the plea of guilty need not be a 'mini-trial' . . . . [T]he court may satisfy itself . . . [by] ...


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