United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
ALEXANDER J. SILVERS, Petitioner,
SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Respondents.
Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas
Corpus by a Person in State Custody (Petition) (Doc. 1),
Petitioner Alexander J. Silvers, an inmate of the Florida
penal system proceeding pro se, challenges his state court
(Duval County) conviction for two counts of unlawful sexual
activity with certain miners (counts 4 & 5). Petition at
He is serving a term of fifteen years in prison. Id.
Respondents filed an Answer to Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus (Response) (Doc. 21). Petitioner filed a Reply to
Respondents' Answer to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
(Reply) (Doc. 22).
pertinent facts are fully developed in this record or the
record otherwise precludes habeas relief; therefore, the
Court is able to "adequately assess [Petitioner's]
claim without further factual development," Turner
v. Crosby, 339 F.3d 1247, 1275 (11th Cir. 2003),
cert, denied, 541 U.S. 1034 (2004). As the
record refutes the asserted factual allegations or otherwise
precludes habeas relief, the Court finds Petitioner is not
entitled to an evidentiary hearing. Schriro v.
Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 474 (2007). Petitioner has not
met his burden of demonstrating a need for an evidentiary
hearing. See Chavez v. Sec'v, Fla. Pep't of
Corr., 647 F.3d 1057, 1060 (11th Cir. 2011) (opining a
petitioner bears the burden of establishing the need for an
evidentiary hearing with more than speculative and inconcrete
claims of need), cert, denied, 565 U.S.
raises one ground in the Petition: "[j]udgment was
enter[ed] and sentence was imposed in violation of the
(United States) constitutional [sic] Fourteen[th]
Amendment." Petition at 5. In support of ground one, he
provides the following facts:
On June 04, 2012, I was arrest[ed] on two counts of sexual
battery. On June 05, 2012, I was taken for first appearance
on two counts of sexual battery, where probable cause to
detain on those charges, was found; bond was set for those
counts; on June 28, 2012 prosecutor file[d] those charges in
addition to another count of sexual battery and two counts of
unlawful sexual activity with a certain minor older than
sixteen or seventeen younger than eighteen[.]
Petition is timely filed. See Response at 6-7.
Petitioner exhausted his Fourteenth Amendment claim by
raising it in a post conviction motion. Id. at 9.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) governs
a state prisoner's federal petition for habeas corpus.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This statute
"imposes important limitations on the power of federal
courts to overturn the judgments of state courts in criminal
cases." Shoop v. Hill, 139 S.Ct. 504, 506
(2019) (per curiam). The AEDPA statute: "respects the
authority and ability of state courts and their dedication to
the protection of constitutional rights." Id.
Therefore, "[u]nder AEDPA, error is not enough; even
clear error is not enough." Meders v. Warden, Ga.
Diagnostic Prison, 911 F.3d 1335, 1349 (11th Cir. 2019)
(citing Virginia v. LeBlanc, 137 S.Ct. 1726, 1728
(2017) (per curiam)), petition for cert,
filed, (U.S. July 30, 2019) (No. 19-5438).
the statute as amended by AEDPA, federal courts may not grant
habeas relief unless one of the claims: "(1)'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) 'was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in the State court proceeding.' 2 8
U.S.C. § 2254(d)." Nance v. Warden, Ga.
Diagnostic Prison, 922 F.3d 1298, 1300-1301 (11th Cir.
in order to obtain habeas relief, the state court decision
must unquestionably conflict with Supreme Court precedent.
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011). If
some fair-minded jurists could agree with the lower
court's decision, habeas relief must be denied.
Meders, 911 F.3d at 1351. As noted in
Richter, unless the petitioner shows the state
court's ruling was so lacking in justification that there
was error well understood and comprehended in existing law
beyond any possibility for fair-minded disagreement, there is
no entitlement to habeas relief. Burt v. Titlow, 571
U.S. 12, 19-20 (2013).
undertaking its review, this Court is not obliged "to
flyspeck the state court order or grade it."
Meders, 911 F.3d at 1349. Indeed, specificity and
thoroughness of the state court decision is not required;
even if the state court fails to provide rationale or
reasoning, AEDPA deference is due "absent a conspicuous
misapplication of Supreme Court precedent." Id.
at 1350 (citation and quotation marks omitted).
importance, a state court's finding of fact, whether a
state trial court or appellate court, is entitled to a
presumption of correctness under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
But, this presumption of correctness applies only to findings
of fact, not mixed determinations of law and fact.
Brannan v. GDCP Warden, 541 Fed.Appx. 901, 903-904
(11th Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (recognizing the distinction
between a pure question of fact from a mixed question of law
and fact), cert, denied, 573 U.S. 906
there has been one reasoned state court judgment rejecting a
federal claim followed by an unexplained order upholding that
judgement, federal habeas courts employ a "look
through" presumption: "the federal court should
'look through' the unexplained decision to the last
related state-court decision that does provide a relevant
rationale. It should then presume that the unexplained