Rondle L. Snodgrass III, Appellant,
State of Florida, Appellee.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. Marianne L.
L. Snodgrass III, pro se, Appellant.
Moody, Attorney General, and Quentin Humphrey, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
Rondle L. Snodgrass III, appeals the summary denial of his
amended motion for postconviction relief that was filed
pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 and
argues that the trial court erred in determining that the
motion was untimely and in denying his motion for rehearing.
We agree with Appellant and remand the case to the trial
court for an evidentiary hearing.
was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2013 and was
sentenced to life imprisonment. Following our affirmance of
Appellant's conviction and sentence, this Court's
mandate issued in August 2015. Appellant filed an amended
motion for postconviction relief in December 2017, arguing
that the issues raised therein were ripe and timely as the
"sole issues argued within relate back to the one
ground/grounds initially presented in his timely-filed Rule
3.850 motion, and only expound upon the claims already
before the court (File date: 5/4/16)." The trial court
entered an order denying Appellant's amended rule 3.850
motion on the grounds that it was filed outside of rule
3.850's two-year time period and that Appellant never
filed an initial or original rule 3.850 motion.
filed a motion for rehearing as to the denial of his amended
rule 3.850 motion by providing it to prison officials on June
27, 2018; the clerk's office stamped the motion on July
2, 2018. Appellant argued that the trial court's order
denying his amended rule 3.850 motion was based on the
mistaken belief that he never filed an original rule 3.850
motion. Appellant attached a Motion for Post-Conviction
Relief to his motion for rehearing. That motion contains a
stamp reading "Outgoing Legal Mail Provided to Taylor
C.I. for Mailing on 5-4-16." There is a signature above
"OFFICER INT." The motion looks as if it contains a
clerk's office "Filed" stamp as well, but only
part of the "F" is visible. Appellant's
certificate of service was dated May 4, 2016.
order, the trial court directed the State to respond to
Appellant's motion for rehearing. The trial court noted
that the case docket showed no original rule 3.850 motion
ever having been filed by Appellant. After noting that
Appellant filed what he claimed was his original rule 3.850
motion, the trial court set forth:
This Court reiterates that this purported May 4th Motion is
absent from the Docket in Defendant's case. Additionally,
this Court notes two peculiarities about the attached
exhibit. First, Defendant has used whiteout in an attempt to
conceal the date of the Clerk's filing stamp. Upon
holding the paper up to bright lighting, it is clear that the
Clerk's stamp shows a filing date of July 2, 2018.
Second, there are a number of dark marks and/or lines visible
on the title page of the purported Motion. One of these lines
appears near the exhibit's prison mail stamp. While the
prison mail stamp indeed displays a date of May 4, 2016, the
dark line adjacent to the stamp gives rise to the possibility
that a copy and paste method has been used to import the
prison stamp from Defendant's May 4, 2016 "Motion to
Correct Sentence" to his current exhibit.
"sound discretion and out of an abundance of
caution," the trial court directed the State to let it
know whether it possessed any information concerning the
authenticity of Appellant's claim that he filed his
original rule 3.850 motion in May 2016.
Appellant filed a "Notice in Re" with the trial
court. With respect to the trial court's mention of white
out and a July 2, 2018, date on his original motion,
Appellant noted that he provided his motion for rehearing to
prison officials on June 27, 2018, and asserted, "Thus,
this 'whited out' clerk's stamp apparently
occurred five (5) days AFTER Defendant filed his
'motion for rehearing.' This renders it impossible
for Defendant to be responsible for the alleged 'whited
out' clerk's stamp . . . ." Appellant reasoned
that the only viable explanation was that the clerk's
official mistakenly stamped the attachment to his motion for
rehearing and then used white out to correct the mistake. As
to the trial court's mention of lines on the title page
of his initial rule 3.850 motion, Appellant claimed that an
evidentiary hearing was necessary.
the State's response that it did not possess any
additional information not already known to the court, the
trial court entered an order denying Appellant's motion
for rehearing wherein it explained that, after reviewing the
State's response, it was "all the more
convinced" that Appellant did not file a rule 3.850
motion on May 4, 2016, or at any other time prior to December
2017. This appeal followed.
correctly argues on appeal that to the extent the trial court
relied upon the case docket in denying his amended rule 3.850
motion as being untimely, that reliance was misplaced. Under
the mailbox rule, which has been adopted in Florida, a
petition or notice of appeal filed by a pro se inmate is
deemed filed at the moment in time when the inmate loses
control over the document by entrusting its further delivery
or processing to agents of the state. Haag v. State,
591 So.2d 614, 617 (Fla. 1992). There is no question in this
case that what Appellant claims was his original rule 3.850
motion had a signed prison stamp date of May 4, 2016, which
would have made the motion timely under rule 3.850 as it was
filed within two years of the issuance of the mandate in
Appellant's direct appeal. Although Appellant filed an
amended motion outside of rule 3.850's two-year time
period, the trial court correctly recognized that if an
amended rule 3.850 motion is filed outside of ...