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Supreme Court of Florida.


No. SC17-1808

Decided: February 28, 2018

Billy H. Nolas, Chief, Capital Habeas Unit, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee, Florida; and Sonya Rudenstine, Gainesville, Florida, for Appellant Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Jennifer A. Donahue, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida, for Appellee

We have for review Ronald Palmer Heath's appeal of the circuit court's order denying Heath's motion filed pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851. This Court has jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(1), Fla. Const.

Heath's motion sought relief pursuant to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), and our decision on remand in Hurst v. State (Hurst), 202 So. 3d 40 (Fla. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 2161 (2017). After this Court decided Hitchcock v. State, 226 So. 3d 216 (Fla.), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 513 (2017), Heath responded to this Court's order to show cause arguing why Hitchcock should not be dispositive in this case.

After reviewing Heath's response to the order to show cause, as well as the State's arguments in reply, we conclude that Heath is not entitled to relief. Heath was sentenced to death following a jury's recommendation for death by a vote of ten to two. Heath v. State, 648 So. 2d 660, 663 (Fla. 1994). Heath's sentence of death became final in 1995. Heath v. Florida, 515 U.S. 1162 (1995). Thus, Hurst does not apply retroactively to Heath's sentence of death. See Hitchcock, 226 So. 3d at 217. Accordingly, we affirm the denial of Heath's motion.

The Court having carefully considered all arguments raised by Heath, we caution that any rehearing motion containing reargument will be stricken. It is so ordered.

I concur in result because I recognize that this Court's opinion in Hitchcock v. State, 226 So. 3d 216 (Fla. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 513 (2017), is now final. However, I continue to adhere to the views expressed in my dissenting opinion in Hitchcock.


LABARGA, C.J., and QUINCE, POLSTON, and LAWSON, JJ., concur. PARIENTE, J., concurs in result with an opinion. LEWIS and CANADY, JJ., concur in result.

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