Poole v. State

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Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the postconviction court summarily denying Appellant's successive motion for postconviction relief filed under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that the postconviction court properly denied relief.

Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Appellant was not entitled to postconviction relief based on his intellectual disability claim because Hall v. Florida, 572 U.S. 701 (2014), does not apply retroactively; and (2) Appellant was not entitled to relief under Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016) because, during Appellant's trial, the requirement that a jury unanimously find a statutory aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt was satisfied.

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Supreme Court of Florida ____________ No. SC18-2024 ____________ LEROY POOLER, Appellant, vs. STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee. July 2, 2020 PER CURIAM. Leroy Pooler appeals an order summarily denying his successive motion for postconviction relief, which was filed under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851.1 We affirm the denial of relief. In 1996, Pooler was convicted of the first-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend, Kim Wright Brown, burglary, and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. See Pooler v. State, 704 So. 2d 1375, 1377 (Fla. 1997). He was sentenced to death for the first-degree murder following a jury’s recommendation for death by a vote of nine to three, and on direct appeal, this Court affirmed Pooler’s convictions and 1. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla. Const. sentences. Id. at 1377, 1381. His sentence of death became final in 1998, when the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari review. Pooler v. Florida, 525 U.S. 848 (1998). We also affirmed the denial of Pooler’s initial postconviction motion. Pooler v. State, 980 So. 2d 460, 462 (Fla. 2008). In 2015, Pooler filed a successive postconviction motion claiming that he is intellectually disabled and entitled to relief based on Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), and Hall v. Florida, 572 U.S. 701 (2014); a claim seeking relief under Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and Hurst v. State, 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016); and a claim seeking relief under an alleged Hurst-induced Caldwell2 claim. In October 2018, the circuit court entered an order summarily denying Pooler’s successive postconviction motion finding that his intellectual disability claim is time-barred and that Pooler is not entitled to Hurst relief. First, Pooler is not entitled to postconviction relief based on his intellectual disability claim. As this Court stated in Phillips v. State, 45 Fla. L. Weekly S163 (Fla. May 21, 2020), Hall does not apply retroactively. Accordingly, we affirm the postconviction court’s summary denial of Pooler’s intellectual disability claim. Second, Pooler is not entitled to Hurst relief. See State v. Poole, 45 Fla. L. Weekly S41, S48 (Fla. Jan. 23, 2020) (“The jury in Poole’s case unanimously found that, during the course of the first-degree murder of Noah Scott, Poole 2. Caldwell v. Mississippi, 472 U.S. 320 (1985). -2- committed the crimes of attempted first-degree murder of White, sexual battery of White, armed burglary, and armed robbery. Under this Court’s longstanding precedent interpreting Ring v. Arizona [536 U.S. 584 (2002)] and under a correct understanding of Hurst v. Florida, this satisfied the requirement that a jury unanimously find a statutory aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt.”); Pooler, 704 So. 2d at 1377 (“[Pooler] was convicted of burglary and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.”). We also reject Pooler’s Hurstinduced Caldwell claim. See Reynolds v. State, 251 So. 3d 811, 825 (Fla. 2018) (stating that, because it did not violate Caldwell to refer to the jury’s role as advisory prior to the Hurst decisions, “a Caldwell claim . . . cannot [now] be used to retroactively invalidate the jury instructions that were proper at the time under Florida law”). Accordingly, we affirm the postconviction court’s summary denial of Pooler’s successive postconviction motion. It is so ordered. CANADY, C.J., and POLSTON, LAWSON, MUÑIZ, and COURIEL, JJ., concur. LABARGA, J., recused. NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED. An Appeal from the Circuit Court in and for Palm Beach County, Jeffrey Colbath, Judge - Case No 501995CF001117AXXXMB -3- Linda McDermott of McClain & McDermott, P.A., Estero, Florida, for Appellant Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, and Leslie T. Campbell, Senior Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, Florida, for Appellee -4-
Primary Holding
The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court's order summarily denying Appellant's successive motion for postconviction relief under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.851, holding that the postconviction court properly denied relief.

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