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September 27, 2012

Intermediate Florida appeals court decides Miller is not to apply retoractively

A helpful reader altered me to this (first?) significant ruling by Florida appeals court concerning the application of the Supreme Court's Miller holding to long final cases. Here are the basics from the starting portion of the extended opinion in Geter v. Florida, No. 3D12-1736 (3d Dist. App. Sept. 27, 2012) (available here):

On April 30, 2003, Geter was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment as a juvenile offender on June 23, 2003.  On direct appeal, this Court affirmed Geter’s conviction and sentence on October 13, 2004.  Geter’s three subsequent postconviction motions were denied by this Court without discussion, on October 28, 2005, September 2, 2009, and May 12, 2010, respectively.  Geter now files this 3.800 motion seeking postconviction relief on the basis of the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012).  The issue before this Court is whether Miller applies retroactively to postconviction proceedings involving a juvenile homicide offender whose conviction of first-degree murder and sentence to life imprisonment was final prior to the Miller decision.  We conclude that under Florida law, Miller cannot be applied retroactively to Florida postconviction proceedings where the life sentence was already final when Miller was rendered.  Accordingly, we affirm the circuit court’s order that denied Geter’s motion for postconviction relief.

Some related posts on Miller and its potential impact in PA and eslewhere:

September 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM | Permalink


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This blog is very Columbus. Oh-so-reasonable mush, fired in the furnace of...Upper Arlington?

Posted by: Greta | Sep 27, 2012 4:43:49 PM

I'd say it's a bit more "out there" - maybe even beyond the Jack Nicklaus Freeway - like Worthington, perhaps.

Posted by: anon | Sep 27, 2012 4:49:27 PM

Nice to see a court actually caring about what this lawless decision actually does to the victims' families.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 27, 2012 6:45:22 PM

Apparently Florida still follows the old Linkletter/Stovall approach. The result would be even more clear in states that follow Teague.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Sep 27, 2012 7:55:35 PM

Was not Kuntrell Jackson's case final for retroactivity purposes? His conviction was affirmed on appeal in '04. He filed state habeas in '08.

Or does it not matter if the Supremes apply a new rule retroactively?

Posted by: ungrateful biped | Sep 28, 2012 8:25:07 AM

Nope. If retroactivity was neither argued nor decided in the court below, the Supreme Court need not address the issue. Cases are not authority for questions which merely lurk in the record (Webster v. Fall, 1924).

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Sep 28, 2012 9:30:58 AM

Correction: 1925.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Sep 28, 2012 9:32:41 AM

Thank you. It's curious that Arkansas did not raise the issue.

Posted by: ungrateful biped | Sep 28, 2012 9:39:15 AM

retroactivity wasn't raised by a party in Teague

Posted by: pc | Sep 28, 2012 12:56:46 PM

Should the analysis be that since Graham and Miller “prohibit a certain category of punishment for a class of defendants because of their status or offense,” Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302, 329-30 (1989), that Graham and Miller apply retroactively, see Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 301 (1989)?

Posted by: ? | Sep 28, 2012 2:19:48 PM

There is no question, ?, that Graham applies retroactively because it prohibits LWOP for juves convicted on non-homicide offenses, but that is not the case with Miller (which only prohibited mandatory LWOP for juve murder). This Florida case discusses this distinction.

Posted by: Doug B. | Sep 28, 2012 3:48:33 PM

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