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Harry Franklin Phillips - Florida Death Row
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Thread: Harry Franklin Phillips - Florida Death Row

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Harry Franklin Phillips - Florida Death Row

    Facts of the Crime:

    During the evening of August 31, 1982, several rounds of gunfire were heard in the vicinity of the Parole and Probation building in Miami. The body of parole supervisor Bjorn Svenson was found in the parking lot, the victim of multiple gunshot wounds. Forensic evidence demonstrated that Svenson was shot twice in the chest and fled a short distance before being killed by repeated shots in the head and back. Svenson was the supervisor of several probation officers who were in charge of Phillips parole.

    For two years prior to the murder, Svenson and Phillips had encounters regarding Phillips unauthorized contact with a probation officer, with Phillips being advised to stay away from probation officers and the parole building unless making an authorized visit. After one such incident, Phillips parole was revoked and he was returned to prison for approximately twenty months.

    On August 24, 1982, several rounds of gunfire were shot through the front window of a home occupied by the two probation officers who had testified against Phillips. Following Svensons murder, Phillips was incarcerated for parole violations. Several inmates testified that Phillips told them that he had killed a parole officer.

    Phillips was re-sentenced to death in Miami-Dade County on April 20, 1994.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JLR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence:

    The delay was due to Phillips being resentenced and the appeal process beginning anew. Phillips’ 3.850 Appeal, filed to the Florida Supreme Court on 10/30/00, was delayed for four years until the Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Phillips’ 3.850 Motion on 10/14/00.

    Case Information:

    Phillips filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 02/16/84, citing the following issues: error in allowing testimony concerning a collateral crime, error in allowing testimony of a prosecution witness, error in refusing to allow certain jury instructions, and challenging the finding of two aggravating circumstances in the penalty phase of the trial – the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner. The Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on 08/30/85.

    Governor Martinez signed a death warrant for Phillips, and the execution was scheduled for 12/10/87.

    Phillips filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court on 11/04/87, arguing that comments from the prosecutor and judge to the jury that their role in the sentencing proceeding was only advisory diminished the jury’s sense of responsibility for its actions. The Court denied the petition on 11/19/87.

    Phillips filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on 11/04/87. The court granted a stay of execution so that an evidentiary hearing could be held. The hearing was held on 09/15/88. The trial court denied the motion on 02/13/89.

    Phillips filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 02/27/90, citing the following: the inmate testimony presented at trial was obtained by promises of the state to reduce the inmate’s sentence and provide monetary payments, witnesses lied on the stand and the state failed to correct the false testimony, jailhouse informants were used to elicit testimony from Phillips after he asserted his right to counsel, ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase of trial and ineffective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase of trial due to failure to raise sufficient mitigating circumstance evidence. The Court reversed the denial of the 3.850 motion by the trial court, vacated the death sentence, and remanded for resentencing

    Phillips filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 03/24/93, which was denied on 06/21/93.

    Phillips filed a Direct Appeal for resentencing to the Florida Supreme Court on 05/19/94, citing the following: the resentencing did not follow the Court’s opinions; the trial court mishandled the jury and improperly influenced the jury to return a death sentence; improper definition of an aggravating circumstance; the state improperly used Phillips’ prior bad acts as the focus of the resentencing; the trial court improperly allowed the state to strike an African-American juror; and the cold, calculated and premeditated aggravating circumstance was too broad. The Court affirmed the trial court’s sentence on 09/25/97.

    Phillips filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on 06/23/98, which was denied on 10/05/98.

    Phillips filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court on 12/02/99, which was denied on 09/26/00.

    Phillips filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on 10/30/00, which was affirmed on 10/14/04.

    Phillips filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court on 07/20/01, which was denied on 10/14/04. On 10/28/04, Phillips filed a motion for a rehearing, which was denied on 01/27/05. A mandate was issued on 02/14/05.

    On 09/23/04, Phillips filed a 3.850 Motion to the Circuit Court. The State’s response was a motion to dismiss, which was granted on 10/14/04. The rehearing was denied on 12/23/04.

    On 12/21/04, Phillips filed a 3.850 Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. On 05/27/05, Phillips’s case was then relinquished to the Circuit Court to determine mental retardation. On 05/27/05, Phillips’s case was relinquished to the Circuit Court where he raised the claim of mental retardation. The evidentiary hearing was held on 02/12/06. The relinquishment ended on 05/14/06 and the Circuit Court ordered the denial of Phillips’s 3.850 Motion on 06/14/06 by the Circuit Court. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court decision on 06/21/07.

    On 06/12/06, Phillips filed a 3.203 Motion for determination of mental retardation in the Florida Supreme Court. On 03/20/08, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s disposition and denied the 3.203 Motion. On 04/04/08, Phillips filed a Motion for Rehearing which was denied on 06/12/08. A mandate was issued 06/30/08.

    Phillips filed a 3.850 motion in the circuit court on 08/21/07, which was denied on 09/24/07.

    On 10/29/07, Phillips filed an appeal of the Circuit Court’s denial of his 3.850 motion. On 09/23/08, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s disposition and denied Phillips his appeal. On 10/08/08, Phillips filed a Motion for Rehearing which was denied on 11/20/08. No mandate will be issued in this case.

    On 12/10/08, Phillips filed a Habeas Petition in the United States District Court. This petition is currently pending. http://dockets.justia.com/docket/flo...cv23420/326772

    On 11/24/10, Phillips filed a 3.850 Motion in the Circuit Court. This motion was denied on 01/27/11.

    On 03/07/11, Phillips filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. This appeal is currently pending

  3. #3
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    On December 21, 2015, Phillips filed an appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit over the apparent denial of his habeas petition in Federal District Court.


  4. #4
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Florida Supreme Court rejects 10 Death Row appeals, including in Duval and Clay

    By News Service of Florida
    Florida Times-Union

    The Florida Supreme Court on Monday rejected appeals by 10 Death Row inmates, including three in Duval County and one in Clay County.

    The Supreme Courts release of 10 nearly identical rulings at the same time was a somewhat-unusual move. But each of the cases involved inmates challenging their death sentences because juries did not unanimously recommend execution.

    The appeals were rooted in a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case known as Hurst v. Florida and a subsequent Florida Supreme Court decision. The 2016 ruling found Floridas death-penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional because it gave too much authority to judges, instead of juries. The subsequent Florida Supreme Court ruling said juries must unanimously agree on critical findings before judges can impose death sentences and must unanimously recommend the death penalty.

    But the Florida Supreme Court made the new sentencing requirements apply to cases since 2002. That is when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling known as Ring v. Arizona that was a premise for striking down Floridas death-penalty sentencing system in 2016.

    In each of the cases Monday, the Death Row inmates had been sentenced to death before the Ring decision and argued that the jury-unanimity requirements should also apply to their cases.

    The Jacksonville cases were Marvin Burnett Jones, Pressley Bernard Alston and Jason Demetrius Stephens. In Clay County, Donald Bradleys appeal was denied.

    The others were Eric Scott Branch in Escambia County, Kayle Barrington Bates in Bay County, Daniel Jon Peterka in Okaloosa County, Harry Franklin Phillips in Miami-Dade County, Ernest D. Suggs in Walton County and Frank A. Walls in Okaloosa County.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

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  5. #5
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    In today's orders, the United States Supreme Court DENIED Phillips' certiorari petition.

    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Florida
    Case Numbers: (SC17-984)
    Decision Date: January 22, 2018


  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Florida justices reverse course on death row disabilities

    By Jim Saunders
    The Ledger

    Saying it made a “clear error” in 2016, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday scrapped a decision that gave some Death Row inmates another chance to argue that they should be shielded from execution because they have intellectual disabilities.

    The ruling came a week after justices tossed out a decades-old legal standard about circumstantial evidence in criminal cases, with both opinions reflecting the court’s conservative shift since early last year — and its willingness to rip up old decisions.

    Thursday’s ruling came in an appeal by Death Row inmate Harry Franklin Phillips, who was convicted in the 1982 murder of a probation supervisor in Miami and who contends he should not be executed because of an intellectual disability. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that Phillips failed to meet legal tests to prove such a disability.

    But the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014, in a separate case, rejected part of Florida’s tests for determining whether defendants have intellectual disabilities. That part of the tests set a cutoff score of 70 on IQ exams. The U.S. Supreme Court said the state could not use such a “rigid rule.”

    The Florida Supreme Court in 2016 ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court decision should be applied retroactively, which could give longtime inmates such as Phillips another chance to prove they have intellectual disabilities and should be spared execution.

    Thursday’s 4-1 ruling, however, said that applying the decision retroactively was erroneous.

    The majority described the U.S. Supreme Court decision as an “evolutionary refinement” of procedures needed to comply with a constitutional ban on executing people with intellectual disabilities. As a result, it said the change did not need to be retroactively applied to inmates such as Phillips.

    “It (the U.S Supreme Court decision) merely clarified the manner in which courts are to determine whether a capital defendant is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty,” said Thursday’s opinion shared by Chief Justice Charles Canady and justices Ricky Polston, Alan Lawson and Carlos Muniz. “It did not invalidate any statutory means for imposing the death sentence, nor did it prohibit the states from imposing the death penalty against any new category of persons. Before Walls (the 2016 ruling in a case known as Walls v. State), this court had been clear that evolutionary refinements do not apply retroactively.”

    But Justice Jorge Labarga wrote a sharply worded dissent, which he said sought to “underscore the unraveling of sound legal holdings in this most consequential area of the law.”

    “Yet again, this court has removed an important safeguard in maintaining the integrity of Florida’s death penalty jurisprudence,” Labarga wrote. “The result is an increased risk that certain individuals may be executed, even if they are intellectually disabled — a risk that this court mitigated just three years ago by holding that the decision in Hall v. Florida (the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case) is to be retroactively applied.”

    Labarga was part of a five-member majority in the 2016 ruling on retroactivity, while Canady and Polston dissented. Lawson and Muniz were not on the court at the time. Two seats are currently vacant.

    But the Supreme Court has undergone a massive philosophical change since January 2019, when longtime justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince were forced to step down because of a mandatory retirement age. Pariente, Lewis, Quince and Labarga were part of a generally liberal bloc that made up a majority of the court.

    Lawson’s appointment to replace former Justice James E.C. Perry in late 2016 created what was often a 4-3 split on the court. But that changed last year when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Muniz, Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa to replace Pariente, Lewis and Quince.

    While Luck and Lagoa have since become federal appellate judges, Muniz has combined with Canady, Polston and Lawson to create a solid conservative majority that has shown a willingness to overturn — or, in legal terms, “recede from” — earlier decisions by the court.

    Last week, over the objections of Labarga, the court rejected a longstanding legal standard used in criminal cases that only involve circumstantial evidence. The majority said the change would lead to Florida joining federal courts and most other states in how judges weigh such cases, but Labarga wrote that the move eliminated a “reasonable safeguard” in criminal cases.

    In Thursday’s decision, the majority pointed, in part, to the value of maintaining “finality” in Phillips’ case.

    “The surviving victims, society-at-large and the state all have a weighty interest in not having Phillips’ death sentence set aside for the relitigation of his claim of intellectual disability based on Hall’s evolutionary refinement in the law,” the majority wrote.

    But Labarga bristled at that reasoning.

    “In justifying its holding, the majority discusses the need for finality in the judicial process,” Labarga wrote. “I agree that finality is a fundamental component of a functioning judicial system. However, we simply cannot be blinded by an interest in finality when that interest leaves open the genuine possibility that an individual will be executed because he is not permitted consideration of his intellectual disability claim.”

    Last edited by Mike; 05-22-2020 at 01:57 PM.
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