FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
Appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Volusia County,
Terence Robert Perkins, Judge - Case No. 642009CF002872XXXAWS
And an Original Proceeding - Habeas Corpus
Pinkard, Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, and Lisa Marie
Bort, Adrienne Joy Shepherd, and Ali Shakoor, Assistant
Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Middle Region, Temple
Terrace, Florida, for Appellant/Petitioner
Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, and Patrick A.
Bobek, Assistant Attorney General, Daytona Beach, Florida,
Edward Jordan appeals the denial of his motion to vacate his
conviction of first-degree murder filed under Florida Rule of
Criminal Procedure 3.851, and he also petitions this Court
for a writ of habeas corpus. We have jurisdiction.
See art. V, § 3(b)(1), (9), Fla.
Const. For the reasons below, we affirm the trial
court's order denying Jordan relief from his conviction
and deny his habeas petition.
facts of this case, which include overwhelming evidence of
Jordan's guilt, were set out in this Court's direct
appeal opinion. See Jordan v. State, 176 So.3d 920
(Fla. 2015). On or about Thursday, June 25 or Friday, June
26, 2009, Jordan beat and robbed the victim, Keith Cope, at
the victim's home in Edgewater, Florida, pistol-whipping
and binding him around the neck and face with multiple layers
of duct tape, binding his hands and ankles with rope and
leaving him injured, in distress, bound tightly, and tied to
the four corners of his bed. Id. at 924-25, 931.
Jordan made a bank withdrawal using the victim's debit
card on the evening of June 25 and then drove the
victim's truck to the Hollywood, Florida area, where he
subsequently made several more withdrawals. Id. at
924, 937. After arriving in Hollywood, Jordan met up with
some of his friends, including former coworker Mathew Powell
and Mathew's girlfriend, Sadia Haque. Id. at
925. Jordan eventually told Mathew that the victim was
literally tied up at his home and that Mathew could go to the
victim's house and steal guns from the victim's gun
safe. Id. Mathew, Sadia, and two of their other
friends then traveled to the victim's house, arriving
early in the morning on Sunday, June 28, 2009. Id.
They found the victim in an extremely distressed state,
barely alive, restrained by multiple ropes and pieces of duct
tape and suspended by rope at the foot of the bed.
called 911, and first responders arrived to transport the
victim to the nearby hospital. Id. The victim then
underwent emergency surgery to amputate his left shoulder and
arm, which had lost circulation from the constriction of the
tight rope. Id. The victim's treating physician
concluded that the victim's body was dying, testifying at
trial that the victim entered the hospital completely
unresponsive and suffered from almost no blood pressure,
several organ failures, cardiovascular collapse, and
compartment syndrome, a life-threatening illness related to
the condition of his left arm. Id. The victim
remained unresponsive until he was removed from life support
and died at the hospital on July 13, 2009. Id.
began searching for Jordan as the main suspect in their
investigation after interviewing the four witnesses who found
the victim. Id. While hiding from the police in
South Florida, Jordan admitted to two friends that he had
robbed and restrained the victim. Police eventually arrested
Jordan on July 18, 2009. Afterwards, Jordan wrote several
letters to one of the detectives assigned to his case, Joanne
Winston, and spoke with her both over the telephone and in
person, admitting to her several times that he had robbed and
tied up the victim.
hearing the evidence presented at trial, Jordan's jury
found him guilty of first-degree felony murder and robbery
with a firearm or other deadly weapon. Id. at 925.
Following the penalty phase presentation, the jury
recommended death by a vote of ten to two for the murder.
Id. at 926. The trial court followed the jury's
recommendation and sentenced Jordan to death for the murder
and life in prison for the robbery. Id. On direct
appeal, this Court affirmed Jordan's convictions and
sentences. Id. at 924.
2016, Jordan filed an initial motion for postconviction
relief. Following an evidentiary hearing on one claim, the
trial court denied relief on all of Jordan's guilt phase
claims but vacated Jordan's death sentence and ordered a
new penalty phase pursuant to Hurst v. State, 202
So.3d 40 (Fla. 2016). Jordan appeals the trial court's
denial of his guilt phase claims and also petitions this
Court for a writ of habeas corpus.
Assistance During the Guilt Phase
first argues that trial counsel was ineffective during the
guilt phase (1) for failing to object to the prosecutor's
multiple improper statements during the guilt phase closing
argument; (2) in presenting a deficient motion for judgment
of acquittal; (3) for failing to object or move to exclude
the admission of certain duct tape evidence; and (4) for
failing to challenge the State's timeline regarding how
long the victim was bound.
the United States Supreme Court's decision in
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668
(1984), we have explained that, to prevail on an ineffective
assistance of counsel claim, a defendant must establish two
prongs, deficient performance and prejudice, both of which
are mixed questions of law and fact:
First, the claimant must identify particular acts or
omissions of the lawyer that are shown to be outside the
broad range of reasonably competent performance under
prevailing professional standards. Second, the clear,
substantial deficiency shown must further be demonstrated to
have so affected the fairness and reliability of the
proceeding that confidence in the outcome is undermined.
Peterson v. State, 221 So.3d 571, 583 (Fla. 2017)
(quoting Schoenwetter v. State, 46 So.3d 535, 546
establish the Strickland deficiency prong, "the
defendant must demonstrate that counsel's performance was
unreasonable under 'prevailing professional
norms.'" Id. at 583-84 (quoting Morris
v. State, 931 So.2d 821, 828 (Fla. 2006)). There is a
strong presumption that trial counsel's performance was
not deficient but rather was sound trial strategy, and the
defendant bears the burden to overcome it.
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689-90. Further, "[a]
fair assessment of attorney performance requires that every
effort be made to eliminate the distorting effects of
hindsight, to reconstruct the circumstances of counsel's
challenged conduct, and to evaluate the conduct from
counsel's perspective at the time." Id. at
Strickland prejudice prong requires the defendant to
"show that but for his counsel's deficiency, there
is a reasonable probability that he would have received a
different [outcome]," Porter v. McCollum, 558
U.S. 30, 41 (2009), where a reasonable probability is one
that is "sufficient to undermine confidence in the
outcome," Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694.
Strickland "requires establishment of both
prongs, when a defendant fails to make a showing as to one
prong, it is not necessary to delve into whether he has made
a showing as to the other prong." Waterhouse v.
State, 792 So.2d 1176, 1182 (Fla. 2001). Moreover, we
employ a mixed standard of review, reviewing a trial
court's factual findings for competent, substantial
evidence, while reviewing its legal conclusions de novo.
Bolin v. State, 41 So.3d 151, 155 (Fla. 2010).
explained below, we affirm the trial court's denial of
relief as to each of Jordan's ineffective assistance of
Guilt Phase Closing Argument
argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to
object to the prosecutor's improper comments during the
guilt phase closing argument, contending that counsel was
ineffective for failing to object to (1) the prosecutor's
two golden rule arguments; (2) the prosecutor's
statement, "Don't let him get away with this";
(3) the prosecutor's improper reference to Jordan's
alleged lack of remorse; and (4) the prosecutor's comment
denigrating Jordan's theory of defense.