RULE 3.850 OVERVIEW ( MELVIN PEREZ). Nature of Proceedings. A motion for post-conviction relief is not a second appeal, and to merit relief in a postconviction motion, a procedural error must be of greater magnitude. See, Ives v. State, 993 So.2d 117(Fla.4thDCA 2008). While habeas corpus and other post-conviction proceedings are technically classified as civil proceedings, they are unlike a general civil action wherein parties seek to remedy a private wrong because a habeas corpus or other post-conviction relief proceeding is used to challenge the validity of a conviction and sentence. See, Roberts v State, 840 So.2d 962(Fla.2002). Post-conviction relief proceedings, while technically classified as civil actions, are actually quasi-criminal in nature because there are heard and disposed of by courts with criminal jurisdiction. ld. While criminal post-conviction proceedings may be designated civil, they involve interests and considerations that are more closely aligned with those traditionally and fundamentally protected in criminal proceedings. id. Rule providing for motions for post-conviction relief is intended to provide complete and efficacious post-conviction remedy to correct convictions on any grounds which subject them to collateral attack. See, Patterson v. State, 664 So.2d 31(Fla.4thDCA 1995). Purpose of Rule. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the rules permitting post-conviction relief were intended to authorize relief for a very limited class of serious errors. See, Ives, supra. However, the Court has also ruled that Rule providing for motion for relief from conviction allegedly obtained in violation of constitutional rights was never intended to become a hindrance to obtaining a hearing or to permit the trial court to resolve disputed issues in summary fashion. To the contrary, the rule was promulgated to establish an effective procedure in the Courts best equipped to adjudicate the right of those originally tried in those courts. See, Gaskin v State, 737 So2d 509 (Fla.1999). Yet, the purpose of motion for post-conviction relief is not to review ordinary trial errors reviewable by means of direct appeal. See, State v Johnson, 651 So.2d 145 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1995). This rule is also intended to prohibit courts from entertaining habeas corpus petitions raising issues cognizable under the rule. See, State v. District Court of Appeals of Florida, First Dist., 569 So2d 439(Fla. 1990). Sole Procedure Mechanism. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that this rule is the sole procedure mechanism for raising those collateral post-conviction challenges to the legality of non-capital criminal judgments that were traditionally cognizable in petitions for writ of habeas corpus, and essentially transfer consideration of these traditional habeas claims from the Court having territorial jurisdiction over the prison having the prisoner is detained to the jurisdiction of the sentencing court. See, Baker v State, 878 So2d 1236(Fla. 2004). Stopping the Clock. The filing of the 3.850 motion stops the 1-year limit to file a federal habeas corpus petition from when the conviction becomes final. The one year does not start when the 3.850 appeal is final. However, to stop the clock the motion must be properly filed. An untimely motion under Florida Criminal Rule 3.850 is not properly filed and does not toll one-year limitations period under Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. See, Brown v Secretary for Dept. of Corrections, 530 F.3d 1135(11th Cir.2008). While properly filed motion undoubtedly tolls(stops) the AEDPA'S limitations period during its pendency, discovery motions do not.Id. However, a district Court is required to examine whether a prisoner's post-conviction petition complied with state law and rules governing filing before determining that motion is not properly filed and did not toll statute of limitations for federal habeas petitions, even if claim itself was procedurally barred. See, Hardy v Secretary for Dept of Corrections, 246 F.3d 1300(11thCir.2001). Jurisdiction. A trial court lacks jurisdiction to hear a 3.850 motion during pendency of the prisoner’s direct appeal. See, Wells v State, 736 So.2d 24 (Fla.2d DCA 1999). When a direct appeal is pending and the prisoner files a 3.850 motion rather than denying the post-conviction motion, the trial court should dismiss it, since denial will serve as a ruling on the merits, precluding the refiling of a successive motion. See, Burch v State, 721 So.2d 1198(Fla. 1stDCA 1998). A ruling, during the pendency of a direct appeal, on the merits of the post-conviction motion rendered by a trial court is a nullity, and, consequently, decision by an appellate court that affirms or reverse the trial court's ruling is also a nullity. See, Daniels v State, 712 So.2d 765(Fla.1998). In contrast, pendency of petition alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel filed pursuant to Rule 9.141, does not deprive a trial court of jurisdiction to entertain a post-conviction motion, but the claims must be different. See, Gawronski v State, 801 So.2d 211(Fla. 2d DCA 2001). This article is just an overview of a very complex area of law. Any person intending to file such a motion should research all claims being presented before filing. Learn your rights and pursue them. In the meantime, keep your head up and continue to seek justice using every legal remedy available to you. Take Care.
Melvin Perez #x11781