United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
WILLIAM F. JUNG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
November 14, 2016, Petitioner Sam Jones constructively filed
his Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for writ of habeas
corpus by a person in state custody. Dkt. 1. He seeks relief
from a 1994 Florida state court conviction. Id. at
1. Respondents have filed a response in opposition. Dkt. 9.
Petitioner filed a reply. Dkt. 21. The Court finds that no
hearing is necessary and denies the petition.
December 8, 1994 a jury found Jones guilty of first-degree
murder, attempted robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Dkt. 12-1. He was sentenced to life in prison with a
mandatory twenty-five year term and three concurrent terms of
14 years and 9 months imprisonment. Id. He then
appealed, and his conviction and sentence were affirmed by
the state appellate court. Dkt. 12-2; see also Jones v.
State, 686 So.2d 590 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996). On January 16,
1997, the appellate court issued its mandate. Dkt. 12-3.
December 8, 1998, Jones filed a Motion for Postconviction
Relief. Dkt. 12-4. In October 2000, the state postconviction
court summarily denied this motion. Dkt. 12-5. Jones appealed
this denial. Id. On July 3, 2002, the state
appellate court issued a per curiam decision affirming the
denial of postconviction relief without opinion. Dkt. 12-6.
The court issued its mandate on August 27, 2002. Dkt. 12-7.
August 2003, Jones filed two petitions for writ of habeas
corpus in state court, which were denied. Dkt. 12-8. Several
years later in April 2008, Jones filed a second motion for
postconviction relief alleging the discovery of new evidence.
Dkt. 12-9. The state postconviction court denied this motion
on February 28, 2014. Dkt. 12-10. On May 18, 2016, the Second
District issued a per curiam decision affirming the denial
without opinion. Dkt. 12-11. The court issued its mandate on
June 14, 2016. Dkt. 12-12.
November 14, 2016, Jones filed this Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus by placing it into the hands of correctional
facility authorities to be mailed. Dkt. 1; see Houston v.
Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 275-76 (1988).
petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Wilcox v.
Florida Dep't of Corr., 158 F.3d 1209, 1210 (11th
Cir. 1998). AEDPA “establishes a highly deferential
standard for reviewing state court judgments.”
Parker v. Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 331 F.3d
764, 768 (11th Cir. 2003). This type of review does not allow
relief of a state court conviction on a claim
that was adjudicated on the merits in the State court
proceedings' unless the state court's decision was
‘(1) . . . contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of, clearly established Federal law as determined
by the Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) . . . based
on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in the State court proceeding.'
Nejad v. Attorney Gen., State of Ga., 830 F.3d 1280,
1288 (11th Cir. 2016) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)).
established Federal law” means holdings of the U.S.
Supreme Court “as of the time of the relevant
state-court decision.” Id. at 1288-89.
“Contrary to” requires a state court conclusion
“opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court on a
question of law or if the state court decides a case
differently than [the Supreme Court] has on a set of
materially indistinguishable facts.” Id. at
1289 (citations omitted) (alterations in original). The
“unreasonable application” clause applies only
“if the state court identifies the correct governing
legal principle from [the Supreme] Court's decisions but
unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the
prisoner's case.” Id. (citation omitted)
(alterations in original).
a state court's factual determination “is not
unreasonable merely because the federal habeas court would
have reached a different conclusion in the first
instance.” Id. (citation omitted). AEDPA
“requires federal habeas courts to presume the
correctness of state courts factual findings unless
applicants rebut this presumption with ‘clear and
convincing evidence.'” Id. (citation
omitted). This is a “demanding but not insatiable
standard, requiring proof that a claim is highly
probable.” Id. (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted).
is ineffective under the Sixth Amendment if “(1)
counsel's performance was deficient; and (2) the
deficient performance prejudiced the defense such that
petitioner was deprived of a fair trial.” Dill v.
Allen, 488 F.3d 1344, 1354 (11th Cir. 2007) (citing
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)).
But in the habeas context, “[t]he question is not
whether a federal court believes the state court's
determination under the Strickland standard was
incorrect but whether that determination was unreasonable-a
substantially higher threshold.” Knowles v.
Mirzayance,556 U.S. 111, 123 (2009) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). “If there is
‘any reasonable argument that counsel satisfied