HABEAS CORPUS
2255, 2254, 3.850, 3.800 Petitions

LAW OFFICE OF
WILLIAM MALLORY KENT
 
William Mallory Kent (Photo)


Federal Criminal Appeals - Florida Criminal Appeals
Federal Habeas - 2255 - 2254 and Florida Rule 3.850 
Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief Attorney 

William Mallory Kent - Federal Criminal Appeals Lawyer - Florida Criminal Appeals Lawyer - Habeas Attorney - Federal Criminal Trial Lawyer 
Click here for an audio invitation for more information.

1932 Perry Place
Jacksonville, Florida 32207-3443
904-398-8000 Telephone
904-348-3124 Fax
Email kent@williamkent.com
Table of Contents

Recent Appellate Wins Sample Briefs and Petitions Experience Further Information Our Office Maps and Driving Directions Personal Audio Message from William Kent


CRIMINAL APPEALS AND POST-CONVICTION RELIEF
SENTENCING ASSISTANCE - FEDERAL AND STATE CRIMINAL TRIAL PRACTICE

Mr. Kent has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1978.  He graduated from Harvard College, A.B. cum laude, 1975, and the University of Florida College of Law, J.D. with honors, 1978.  Mr. Kent has an AV rating, the highest rating available from Martindale-Hubbell.  Mr. Kent has been a continuing legal education lecturer for the Florida Bar, the Federal Criminal Justice Act training program, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and others.  Mr. Kent is a member of the Florida Bar Appellate Court Rules Committee.  He is the immediate past  President of the Northeast Florida Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. There is no charge for initial in-office or telephone consultations.  Please call 904-398-8000 to schedule an appointment or email your inquiry to: Email Contact - Click Here.

William Mallory Kent is a noted appellate and criminal trial lawyer, having argued and won the precedent setting federal sentencing guidelines case, Stinson v. United States before the United States Supreme Court, which has been cited by hundreds of courts in cases across the country, including both Blakely v. Washington and United States v. Booker.  

He has numerous other  published appellate decisions to his credit, including United States v. Willie Washington, the Eleventh Circuit case which held that drug enforcement bus passenger searches were per se unconstitutional.  This decision, which  was profiled by Harvard Law Review, resulted in many similar convictions being set aside.

William Mallory Kent has a reputation for excellence in federal and state appeals and post-conviction relief, from direct appeal of sentencing or trial errors, to subsequent habeas motions under 28 U. S. C. Sections 2241, 2254, 2255, or Rule 60(b), as well as comparable state provisions such as Rule 3.800 and Rule 3.850 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Habeas Petitions for Ineffective Assistance of Appellate Counsel.  As of June 25, 2007, William Kent has been attorney of record on 229 criminal appeals - 147 federal criminal appeals and 82 Florida state appeals.  

William Mallory Kent is also noted for his sentencing expertise and is often consulted or retained just for the sentencing proceeding and sentencing appeal.  For more information about how he can assist you with sentencing, or an appeal or post-conviction relief matter, federal or state, call Mr. Kent at 904-398-8000 or email him kent@williamkent.com.  For additional general appellate information click on Appeal Information.

SAMPLE BRIEFS 

To see a sample recent federal brief, click here.  To see more sample briefs, state and federal go to our brief bank page.

A Selection of Some of William Kent's Reported Appellate Cases:

Stinson v. United States, 508 U.S. 36 (United States Supreme Court, 1993); United States v. Thigpen, 4 F.3d 1573 (11th Cir. en banc 1994); United States v. Herman Venske, William McCorkle, et al. 15 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 765, 2002 WL 1491640 (11th Cir. July 12, 2002); United States v. Bull, 214 F.3d 1275 (11th Cir. 2000); United States v. MacAllister, 160 F.3d 1304 (11th Cir. 1998); United States v. Washington, 151 F.3d 1354 (11th Cir. 1998); United States v. Grimes, 142 F.3d 1342 (11th Cir. 1998); United States v. Lopez-Iraeta, 136 F.3d 143 (11th Cir. 1997); Anderson v. Singletary, 111 F.3d 801 (11th Cir. 1997); United States v. Stinson, 97 F.3d 466 (11th Cir. 1996); United States v. Hofierka, 92 F.3d 108 (11th Cir. 1996); United States v. Wescott, 83 F.3d 1354 (11th Cir. 1996); United States v. Hofierka, 83 F.3d 357 (as amended and as modified on denial of rehearing)(11th Cir. 1996); United States v. Brown, 71, F.3d 845 (11th Cir. 1996); United States v. Stinson, 30 F.3d 121 (11thCir. 1994); United States v. Be.., 22 F.3d 274 (11th Cir. 1994); United States v. Williams 958 F.2d 337 (11th Cir. 1992); United States v. Stinson, 957 F.2d 813 (11th Cir. 1992); United States v. Young, 953 F.2d 1288 (11th Cir. 1992); United States v. Stinson, 943 F.2d 1268 (11th Cir. 1992); United States v. Gilbert, 942 F.2d 1537 (11th Cir. 1991); United States v. Lazarchik, 924 F.2d 211 (11th Cir. 1991); United States v. McCorkle, 143 F. Supp. 2d 1311 (M.D.Fl. 2001); United States v. McCorkle, 143 F. Supp. 2d 1311 (M.D.Fl. 2000); United States v. McCorkle, 78 F. Supp. 2d 1311 (M.D. Fl. 1999); United States v. Grimes, 911 F. Supp 1485 (M.D.Fl. 1995); Castro v. State, 794 So. 2d 680 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2001); Holcombe v. State, 553 So. 2d 1337 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989).

WILLIAM KENT has twenty-seven years experience as an attorney.  He graduated from Harvard University with honors, then returned to his home in Florida to attend the University of Florida College of Law, graduating with honors in 1978.  Prior to starting his boutique criminal defense practice, Mr. Kent served for ten years as an Assistant Federal Defender handling a multitude of cases across the largest district in the United States.  He is experienced in all phases of federal practice, from pre-indictment consultations, grand jury practice, motion hearings, and pretrial negotiations, to trials and appeals.  

Before starting criminal defense practice, Mr. Kent was a senior associate at Rogers & Wells, now the world's largest law firm, Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, where he handled complex corporate investment matters.  

Recent Appellate and Post-conviction Wins [1]

October 28, 2008, Florida state Court judge grants habeas (3.850 post-conviction relief motion) for Mr. Kent's client vacating guilty plea and conviction based on defective plea colloquy.  This conviction prevented the client from obtaining employment with company that required business travel to Canada, due to Canadian immigration restrictions.

October 20, 2008, Solicitor General of the United States files Brief in Demarick Hunter v. United States, asking the Supreme Court of the United States to grant Mr. Kent's client, Demarick Hunter's petition for certiorari and remand his case to the Eleventh Circuit for further consideration in light of Begay v. United States, 128 S.Ct. 1581 (2008) and the Eleventh Circuit's decision in United States v. Archer, 531 F.3d 1347 (11th Cir. 2008), that under Begay, the crime of carrying a concealed firearm is not a "crime of violence" for purposes of the 15 year minimum mandatory penalty of the Armed Career Criminal Act. 

October 1, 2008, District Judge reduces client James Stratton's sentence at Kimbrough resentencing from 235 months to 100 months.  This resentencing came about after a second resentencing appeal by Mr. Kent in which Mr. Kent raised a Kimbrough issue before Kimbrough had been decided. The 11th Circuit initially denied relief based on widespread circuit precedent that district courts were without authority to consider the crack/powder ratio disparity even under Booker. Mr. Kent then petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari - all before Kimbrough was decided - certiorari was granted in light of the subsequent intervening Kimbrough decision, and the case was remanded. The Government continued to oppose remand for resentencing at the 11th Circuit even after the Supreme Court remanded the case, but the 11th Circuit ordered resentencing. At the resentencing the Government argued against any reduction in sentence in excess of that permitted by Amendment 706 (only two levels), but Mr. Kent argued for a 1:1 ratio sentence and the district court reduced the sentence to a level close to the 1:1 ratio, reducing the sentence approximately 10 levels.

September 25, 2008, Circuit Court in Orlando, Florida vacated felony arson conviction and four year prison sentence, eleven year probation order and $30,000 restitution order, based on claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, based on a state habeas (3.850) motion filed by Mr. Kent.  Client was released from prison and court reset bail at $7,500.  Click here to see the court's order. 

September 3, 2008 Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in case number 07-13592-AA granted Mr. Kent's client a certificate of appealability ("COA") for an appeal of a federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. 2255 arising out of the Southern District of Florida, involving three issues, including whether an ice pick is a "dangerous weapon" for purposes of 49 U.S.C. 46505(b)(1), which prohibits carrying a concealed dangerous weapon on board a commercial passenger jet.

August 25, 2008, District Court for the Northern District of Florida on remand for resentencing reduces Mr. Kent's client's sentence to "time served" after successful petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and subsequent successful remand to the Eleventh Circuit on guideline issue of application of "crime of violence" enhancement under U.S.S.G.  Section 2L.

July 14, 2008, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in case number 08-11048-JJ granted a COA for an appeal of  Mr. Kent's client's federal habeas petition (2255), concerning a procedural bar under Bousley and the validity of a guilty plea when restitution was imposed contrary to the plea agreement; both issues arose out of a pro se 2255 petition that was summarily denied at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, at which point Mr. Kent was retained to brief the request for COA.

July 3, 2008, Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court in Orlando on its denial of a state 3.850 post-conviction relief motion in Robert Joab Miranda v. State, a case in which our client was convicted at trial of the arson of a police patrol car.

June 23, 2008, Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals remands Mr. Kent's client, Oscar Arreguin-Aguilar, for resentencing based on successful appeal to the United States Supreme Court.  This should amount to a time-served sentence.

May 27, 2008, Supreme Court of the United States granted Mr. Kent's petition for certiorari filed on behalf of Oscar Arreguin-Aguilar and vacated his judgment and sentence and remanded to the Eleventh Circuit for further proceedings. Here is the Court's order:

TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008 CERTIORARI -- SUMMARY DISPOSITIONS 07-9390

ARREGUIN-AGUILAR, OSCAR V. UNITED STATES

The motion of petitioner for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and the petition for a writ of certiorari are granted. The judgment is vacated and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for further consideration in light of the position asserted by the Solicitor General in his brief for the United States filed April 21, 2008.

May 12, 2008, Board of Immigration Review vacates its prior deportation/removal order against our client Roberto Campuzano based on Mr. Kent's successful 3.850 motion challenging an underlying felony conviction.  Mr. Campuzano was represented at the Board of Immigration Review by attorney David Vedder, a board certified immigration attorney in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Click here for a copy of the order.

April 21, 2008 the Solicitor General of the United States files brief in support of Mr. Kent's petition for certiorari filed on behalf of client Oscar Arreguin-Aguilar, which argued that 11th Circuit Court of Appeals misapplied United States Sentencing Guidelines section 2L1.2's definition of "crime of violence" in enhancing Mr. Arreguin-Aguilar's sentence 16 level's for a prior felony conviction for carrying a concealed firearm.  The Solicitor General argued in its brief that the petition for certiorari should be granted and the judgment of the 11th Circuit vacated.  If the Supreme Court accepts the SG's recommendation, it should result in Mr. Arreguin-Aguilar's release upon resentencing.

March 13, 2008, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ordered resentencing for Mr. Kent's client, Joseph Stratton, after supplemental briefing on Kimbrough issue.  The Stratton decision was highlighted in Prof. Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy Blog March 13, 2008 as a notable Kimbrough application. 

March 6, 2008 United States District Court grants COA in federal habeas (2254) of state homicide case.

February 28, 2008, Florida Circuit Court in West Palm Beach granted 3.800 motion for client Christopher Reinhart, reducing his sentence five years.  This sentence reduction came more than fifteen years after the original guilty plea and sentencing and was based on a claim of fundamental sentencing error.  The fundamental sentencing error was a double jeopardy problem arising out of a Quarterman sentencing proceeding.

February 22, 2008, Florida Circuit Court in Volusia County granted 3.850 motion for client Roberto Campuzano based on Peart claim.  Mr. Campuzano was transported to the 3.850 hearing from ICE custody in Texas where he faced imminent deportation for this conviction which was set aside today.

January 7, 2008, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari, and vacated the judgment and conviction of Mr. Kent's client, Joseph Stratton, for further consideration in light of Kimbrough v. United States, which held that a district court was free to disregard the 100:1 crack to powder guideline ratio.  Unlike persons who simply file a 3582 motion under the new crack guideline amendment, Mr. Stratton will now be entitled to a de novo resentencing and may have his sentence reduced more than the two levels under the new guideline.   Mr. Kent was one of the first attorneys to challenge the 100:1 ratio restriction on Booker grounds at the Supreme Court and had filed his petition for Mr. Stratton before certiorari was granted on Kimbrough.   

November 7, 2007, State concedes Mr. Kent's 3.800 motion agreeing that client's sentence imposed fifteen years ago violated double jeopardy and must be reduced by five years. 

June 22, 2007 - Federal Court of Appeals denies Government motion to dismiss belated appeal Mr. Kent won for his client in a habeas proceeding.  The Government had challenged the District Court's jurisdiction to grant the belated appeal, which the court did relying on Mr. Kent's novel argument of first impression that Barnes v. Jones does not apply to the failure of appellate counsel to challenge a count of conviction.  [Update: at the Eleventh Circuit the three judge panel denied relief stating that "nothing was right in the district court's order."  We have filed a petition for certiorari and it is awaiting conference.]

June 11, 2007, Federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals grants COA on federal habeas alibi issue challenging life sentence for state armed robbery conviction.

May 29, 2007, State Circuit Court in Sarasota, Florida grants Mr. Kent's 3.850 post conviction motion for client Jason Dostie, reducing sentence from 15 years to 10 years Florida State Prison.  The issue in this case was a common one, involving the failure of trial counsel to properly advise a client of the potential for a sentencing enhancement prior to the client rejecting a state plea offer.  We have had success with variations of this claim in a number of cases.

May 23, 2007 -The BNA Criminal Law Reporter highlighted Mr. Kent's certiorari petition for his client Joseph Stratton.   The petition raises the following questions:

(1) Did application of United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 76 CrL 251 (2005), remedy result in de facto Sixth Amendment violation? (2) Under reasoning of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 67 CrL 459 (2000), Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 71 CrL 373 (2002), Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 75 CrL 284 (2004), and Booker, must any fact essential to imposition of sentence be established by proof beyond reasonable doubt? (3) Did use of 100:1 crack to powder cocaine ratio in determining guideline range on facts of defendant's case result in unreasonable sentence and did district court err in concluding that under Booker it was not free to disregard guideline-mandated disparity? [June 11, 2007 the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Kimbrough v. United States, which raises the crack v. powder cocaine disparity issue.] The Supreme Court later granted certiorari on this petition and remanded the case for further consideration in light of Kimbrough.

May 2, 2007 - Anonymous client of Mr. Kent released from federal penitentiary where he was serving a natural life sentence based on a Rule 35 motion, in which Mr. Kent persuaded the Government and court that the Government had the legal authority to file the motion and the court had the authority to grant the motion reducing an "old law" sentence.

April 26, 2007 - Government loses its appeal of Booker resentencing in which district court had dramatically departed from 11 years to 4 years in ecstasy drug conspiracy case.  Mr. Kent wrote the winning brief upon which the court of appeals upheld the district court's extraordinary downward departure.  The decision can be found at the court's webpage in the daily log for April 26.

March 28, 2007, federal district court vacates mandatory life sentence for Henry Manns, who was convicted after trial for heading a cocaine conspiracy known as "the Miami Boys."

January 30, 2007, federal district court, the Honorable Harvey E. Schlesinger, reduced Avise Hunter's sentence from mandatory life to ten years imprisonment (29 year old client has already served six years leaving two years nine months to be served) after life sentence in drug conspiracy case was vacated based on Mr. Kent's pro bono 2255 petition arguments.  This reduction was based purely on legal arguments regarding the sentence and was not based in any way on substantial assistance.  The client refused to provide substantial assistance.  -  Judge Schlesinger deserves recognition for this good deed.  After Amendment 706 (the crack amendment) this client was released with time served.  From natural life to time served - a dramatic turn around for a client who went to trial and was convicted in a crack cocaine conspiracy and who never engaged in substantial assistance.

January 12, 2007, District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals orders Booker resentencing for client sentenced to life imprisonment in heroin conspiracy case (but otherwise affirms convictions and appeal following first resentencing).  In a special concurring opinion, Judge Kavanaugh added some interesting observations in response to my argument that the Booker remedy provision itself was unconstitutional. [Update - At resentencing Mr. Kent negotiated with the Department of Justice and obtained an offer to a term of thirty years, despite the fact that the court had twice before imposed life sentences and the client had put the government to trial in a series of trials which lasted six months and included the indictment of a person in the United States Attorney's Office for having provided information about ongoing wiretap information to the defendant.  By the time of this third sentencing the client, who was in his 30s, had served ten years in prison, thus would have faced release in approximately 14 years.  The client refused the offer and the case is again on appeal.] 

Click here for additional recent criminal appeal and habeas wins. 

 

May 10, 2006, State agrees to concede 3.850 motion vacating 15 year minimum mandatory PRRO sentence for burglary of a dwelling.

March 23, 2006, after Federal Court of Appeals orders re-sentencing in appeal of Ecstasy Conspiracy conviction for client of Mr. Kent, district court reduces sentence from 11 years 3 months to 4 years, leaving client less than one year to serve.  See Appellate Decision here.  

Government Motion to Revoke Client's Bond in 61 Count Federal Indictment for Cocaine Conspiracy and Other Charges based on new charge of Obstruction of Justice Denied January 30, 2006 

News - November 16, 2005 Federal Court of Appeals  orders re-sentencing in appeal of Ecstasy Conspiracy conviction for client of Mr. Kent.  See Decision here

October 7, 2005 - Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals grants certificate of appealability (COA) on issue of waiver of right to file federal habeas in federal criminal plea agreement and waiver of right to effective assistance of counsel.

Major Appellate Win - September 15, 2005 - Eleventh Circuit Vacates All Four Counts and 20 Year Sentence in Federal Drug and Gun Conviction and Remands for Resentencing Based on Defective Section 851 Enhancement Proceeding.

September 2005 - Florida state court grants motion to vacate plea and conviction in marijuana possession case;  state agrees to dismiss all charges.  Drugs had been found in Airport TSA search of the luggage of a traveling businessman who was then asked to deboard the airplane and was interrogated about the luggage.

March 31, 2005, trial judge grants stay of criminal case for interlocutory appeal of denial of a motion to dismiss based on double jeopardy grounds.  

March 30, 2005 federal district judge resentenced client to absolute bottom of the guidelines after remand for resentencing from court of appeals after successful appeal had resulted in mandatory life sentence based on two prior drug convictions under 21 U.S.C. 851 being vacated.  Given Booker advisory nature of guidelines, judge could have reimposed life sentence;  government asked for high end sentence.   

March 29, 2005, district court of appeal reversed repeat violence injunction based on lack of competent substantial evidence in a novel decision involving weblog writings which were treated as threatening and as an act of violence.  Click here for a copy of the decision.

March 24, 2005 federal district judge sentenced Mr. Kent's client to twelve (12) months imprisonment on a ten year minimum mandatory methamphetamine case after government filed only a two level substantial assistance motion.  The sentence reduction was based on Booker arguments presented by Mr. Kent.  The government objected to imposition of this Booker sentence, arguing that a reasonable sentence was the 41 month sentence called for under the guidelines. 

March 22, 2005 circuit judge granted a motion for rehearing on a state 3.850 motion in which Mr. Kent amended a pro se petition after the two year deadline to raise a winning Nixon v. Florida claim - client's court appointed counsel conceded guilt in closing argument without client's consent.  Mr. Kent is representing this client pro bono.  

March 22, 2005 State Attorney General conceded belated appeal habeas in a Fifth District Court of Appeal case in which the clerk of the court apparently lost the trial lawyer's notice of appeal.

February 14, 2005, Federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Granted a Certificate of Appelability in Federal Habeas of a State Capital Sexual Battery Conviction on Petition for Rehearing on Two Issues:  Whether Mr. Kent's Client Was Denied His Right to a Public Trial under The Sixth Amendment When the Trial Judge Cleared the Courtroom at the State's Request When the Alleged Child Victim Testified, and Whether the Procedural Default of This Issue by Not Raising in on Direct Appeal Was Excused by Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.  Mr. Kent's Client, JEP, is Serving a Life Sentence on this Charge.  

February 14, 2005, the First District Court of Appeal Discharged its Rule to Show Cause Why this Repeat Violence Injunction Appeal Should Not be Dismissed as Moot, Accepting Mr. Kent's Argument that His Appeal of His Client's Repeat Violence Injunction was Not Moot Because it Had Expired by Law, Due to Its Collateral Consequences for His Client, ML, Including His Choice of College and Profession.

January 26, 2005, United States Attorney's Office Agrees to Reduce Felony Illegal Reentry Charge to Misdemeanor and Time Served Sentence in Response to Motion to Dismiss Predicated on Having Vacated the Underlying Drug Felony Which Was the Legal Basis for the Prior Deportation.

January 24, 2005, United States Supreme Court grants certiorari in Mr. Kent's petition for client Gerald Padmore, vacates the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and remands for consideration of United States v. BookerClick here for the decision of the Supreme Court.

January 4, 2005, Circuit Court Vacates DUI With Accident Conviction Based on Double Jeopardy Writ of Prohibition, Arising Out of Use Immunity From Accident Report Privilege.

December 17, 2004, County Court Chief Administrative Judge Vacates Traffic Court Conviction in Accident Case (the Judgment of Which is Admissible in the Pending Civil Action) under Rule 1.540, Relief from Judgment Due to Lack of Appellate Record.

November 30, 2004 the Florida First District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and vacated a permanent injunction against repeat violence for Mr. Kent's client R.F.  Repeat violence injunctions carry some of the same stigma of a criminal conviction.  See a copy of the decision here.

September 13, 2004 Florida Circuit Court vacated a felony marijuana conviction under a Peart claim with a novel twist - the client had already been deported more than two years before filing his 3.850 motion, but filed his motion promptly upon reentry.  [The client is facing sentencing for illegal reentry in federal district court.]   The Circuit Court accepted Mr. Kent's equitable tolling argument extending the limitations period for the period of time the client was outside the United States as a result of his deportation for this offense. 

August 23, 2004 - Federal district court grants sentence reduction after government had initially taken the position that no further reduction in sentence was possible under Rule 35, resulting in first a 2255 habeas then a new Rule 35 motion.

July 24, 2004 - Motion to vacate plea in burglary case based on argument that plea was involuntary due to defendant being under medication at time of plea results in compromise settlement with state and ten year reduction in sentence.

June 30, 2004 - Florida state court sets aside guilty plea, conviction and sentence for DUI with accident based on Mr. Kent's post-conviction motion challenging inadequate plea colloquy.

May 13, 2004 - Florida Circuit Court sets aside illegal sentence for client Brandy Edwards, based on Mr. Kent's argument that the court was limited in violation of probation proceeding to imposition of a sentence of imprisonment no greater than that which had previously been suspended.  Court reduced sentence from 21 to 13 months based on this argument. 

April 8, 2004 - Eleventh Circuit Agrees with Mr. Kent's Sentencing Argument for client B. D. - B. D. was convicted of making a false statement in connection with the purchase of a number of firearms, one of which was a banned AK-47 assault weapon.  However the particular weapon was a "grandfathered" in pre-ban weapon.  Mr. Kent argued that the sentencing commission's guidelines were inconsistent with the predicate federal statute, which makes a distinction between banned versus grandfathered assault weapons.  The district court disagreed.  The difference took B. D. from what would have been a probation sentence to almost three years in prison.  In a published decision the Eleventh Circuit on April 8, 2004 agreed with Mr. Kent's argument.  

February 2, 2004, Federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed mandatory life sentence imposed under drug three strikes law in cocaine conspiracy case against Mr. Kent's client Charles Coleman.  Click here to read decision.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida granted a motion to withdraw plea filed after the presentence investigation report had already been completed, on the basis of a claim that the original attorney for the defendant had misadvised the defendant as to the potential application of the sentencing guidelines, despite the fact that the magistrate judge had repeatedly advised the defendant during a lengthy and extensive plea colloquy that such advice of counsel was only an estimate and if it were wrong would not be a basis to withdraw his plea.  

Twenty-two year cocaine trafficking conviction reversed by First District Court of Appeal February 6, 2003, Reyneldon Davis v. State of Florida based on illegal search and seizure of 2.2 kilograms of cocaine.  To see the winning brief of Mr. Kent click here - to see Mr. Kent's reply brief which destroyed the State's "Tipsy coachman" argument, click here.

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida terminated an order of restitution in a fraud case relieving Mr. Kent's client of an approximate $100,000 restitution balance based on Mr. Kent's motion grounded on the authority of Title 18 U. S. C. Section 3664(k).  This order, which modified the client's probation, was entered approximately two years after the original sentencing. 

The Florida Fourth Judicial Circuit in its capacity as a Court of Appeals reversed on appeal the lower court's decision denying Mr. Kent's client's 3.850 motion to withdraw his plea to a fourth DUI, entered seven years earlier, resulting in the permanent, lifetime revocation of his driving license.  The appellate issue was the failure of the trial court to clearly advise the defendant of the duration of the loss of his driving privileges.  The result of this appellate decision is that the client will be entitled to the reinstatement of his driving license, which had been revoked for life.  To see the winning brief, click here.  To see Mr. Kent's reply brief which overcame the State's answer brief, click here.

A Florida County Court granted Mr. Kent's client's Brady motion under Rule 3.850 setting aside a prior no contest plea to a DUI following a minor accident based on the invalidity of the alcohol reference solutions used in certifying the accuracy of the breath test machine in the case.  The unique feature of this case was that the state had expressly advised the trial court that the breath test in this case was not subject to this Dauth challenge because it was outside the window of application of Dauth.  The state later entered into a consent order that extended the Dauth window in certain cases which included this case.  

The federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the sentencing of Mr. Kent's client Sylvestre Barrera who was convicted after trial of conspiracy to distribute a large quantity of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in an unpublished decision remanding the case for resentencing as to both an unobjected to criminal history matter and as to an objection to an  enhancement on the basis of constitutionally unreliable hearsay.  

The federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the sentence for Mr. Kent's client, infomercial king William J. McCorkle, and ordered a resentencing in a decision published July 12, 2002.  This sentencing appeal victory was accomplished despite the fact that the sentencing error had not been objected to at the trial court level by Mr. McCorkle's trial attorney, F. Lee Bailey.  Click here to read the decision.

EXPERIENCE

Mr. Kent has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1978.  He graduated from Harvard College, A.B. cum laude, 1975, and the University of Florida College of Law, J.D. with honors, 1978.  Mr. Kent has an AV rating, the highest rating available from Martindale-Hubbell.  Mr. Kent has been a continuing legal education lecturer for the Florida Bar, the Federal Criminal Justice Act training program, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and others.  Mr. Kent is a member of the Florida Bar Appellate Court Rules Committee.  He is the immediate past  President of the Northeast Florida Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. There is no charge for initial in-office or telephone consultations.  Please call 904-398-8000 to schedule an appointment or email your inquiry to: Email Contact - Click Here.  

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PRISON INFORMATION

Prison Handbooks:

Federal Prison Guidebook - 2002 Edition, a 350-page manual that contains comprehensive descriptions of every federal prison facility in the United States. This book, written by Alan Ellis, Esq..

Jailhouse Lawyers Manual (4th Edition) which is published by the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Box B-25, Columbia University School of Law, 435 West 116th St., New York, NY 10027. 

Federal Cure (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants Federal Prison Chapter) - a non-profit organization that deals solely with issues faced by Federal inmates and their families. In addition to the Web site it maintains at www.fedcure.org, it publishes a worthwhile newsletter.

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PACER - Searchable official federal court database of dockets of all federal cases, both district courts and courts of appeal, criminal and civil.  The civil dockets, such as in habeas cases, allow you to actually see the pleadings that were filed.  This database requires and account, but anyone can readily establish an account with Pacer.  

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St. Mark, Patron Saint of Prisoners and Lawyers

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)

ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΗ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ Α´

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The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.   Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. 

Caveat

The appellate and post-conviction relief wins cited above are not meant to indicate that if you retain Mr. Kent that he will necessarily be able to win your case.  Most appellate and post-conviction cases result in adverse decisions, meaning that the client loses, and the majority of appellate cases are decided by the court without a published decision, referred to as a per curiam affirmed decision often leaving the client with no further avenue of relief.  However, this harsh reality makes it all the more important that a client choose his or her appellate or post-conviction counsel carefully, to insure that the best possible appellate or post-conviction brief or motion is presented to the court to increase the chance of success in what is in any event a difficult process.  Mr. Kent cannot assure any client of success in his or her appeal or post-conviction proceeding but can only assure the client that he will use his very best efforts to achieve the best possible outcome for the client. A U.S. Department of Justice study done in 2000 for all federal criminal appeals from 1985-1999 showed that defendant's had a substantially better chance of reversal on appeal if they had privately retained counsel than if they used court appointed counsel.  To see the DOJ study, click http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/fca99.pdf   [RETURN TO RECENT WINS]

From October 2, 2003

 

APPEALS AND POST-CONVICTION RELIEF


General Information  Experience  Fees  Initial Consultations
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Appeals and Post-conviction Relief Generally

Whether your case is federal or state, our office can assist you in your direct appeal or post-conviction relief.  Our practice focus is on appeals and post-conviction relief.  We have appeared in state and federal court on behalf of clients since 1978.  Mr. Kent has been counsel of record on approximately 186 criminal appeals as of September 2005, 129 federal and 57 state.  No case is too big and no case is too small; each client is equally important.  

Mr. Kent represents clients in federal courts throughout the United States and in state courts throughout Florida.  The appellate practice includes state and federal direct appeals, after trial or guilty plea, of both trial and sentencing issues, post-conviction motions of all types, including state 3.850 motions, state 3.800 motions, and appeals from the denial of such motions, federal habeas motions under 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 for state inmates, and Section 2255 for federal inmates, as well as habeas petitions under 28 U.S.C. Section 2241 where appropriate, as well as all appellate matters relating to such motions and petitions, including requests for certificates of appealability to the federal court of appeals.  Click here for more information about Appeal Options.

Experience

Mr. Kent is one of only a handful of attorneys in the State of Florida who have successfully argued a criminal case before the United States Supreme Court.  That decision, Terry Lynn Stinson v. United States, 508 U.S. 36, 113 S.Ct. 1913, 123 L.Ed.2d 598 (1993), had a major impact not just on the interpretation of the federal career offender sentencing provision (similar to the Florida habitual offender provision), but had a potential impact on virtually every federal sentencing, due to its holding that Sentencing Commission commentary is binding on the courts.  This case has been cited by over 700 courts in appellate decisions.  We are most proud that Stinson was cited in the Supreme Court's Booker decision which struck down the mandatory federal sentencing guidelines. In part because of this case, Mr. Kent is noted for his expertise in sentencing matters.

Mr. Kent has also argued before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia en banc, meaning that the case was of such exceptional importance that all active members of the court took part in oral argument and the decision, not simply a three judge appellate panel.  United States v. William James Thigpen, 4 F.3d 1573 (11th Cir. 1994).  The Thigpen case held that a jury may not be instructed on the consequence of a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mr. Kent's success in challenging a joint state-federal task force drug search on a Greyhound Bus in United States v. Willie Washington, 151 F.3d 1354 (11th Cir. 1998), setting aside his client's minimum mandatory federal drug sentence in federal prison has been cited by at least 18 other cases in reported appellate decisions, was the subject of a law review article in Harvard Law Review, March 1999, and was cited by United States v. Drayton, 231 F.3d 787 (11th Cir. 2001).  The Supreme Court reversed Drayton

Mr. Kent is currently representing John Richard Knock, the alleged co-conspirator of Claude Duboc, in a federal habeas action under 28 U.S.C. 2255, in a challenge to the conviction and life sentence in what may have been the largest alleged drug conspiracy and forfeiture cases in federal court history.  Federal prosecutors alleged that the so-called Knock-Duboc conspiracy imported over two billion dollars of marijuana and hashish into the United States and other countries. Mr. Knock forfeited approximately thirty million dollars of cash and assets and Mr. Duboc forfeited approximately one hundred thirty million dollars cash and assets to the government. Claude Duboc was represented by F. Lee Bailey, who was ultimately disbarred based on allegations of misconduct arising out of his representation of Mr. Duboc.  Mr. Knock was represented at trial and on appeal by attorney Michael Kennedy from New York. 

Mr. Kent represented William J. McCorkle before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v. William J. McCorkle, et al., a case which has been reported on the television program Dateline, in Readers Digest, and elsewhere.  Mr. McCorkle presented television infomercials on how to get rich in foreclosure real estate and was indicted for fraud and money laundering.  His trial attorney was F. Lee Bailey.  Mr. Kent obtained a resentencing for Mr. McCorkle on a plain error issue involving the incorrect application of the money laundering guidelines. Mr. Kent did not represent Mr. McCorkle at this resentencing, however, at resentencing the district court reimposed the same sentence.  That matter is pending appeal.

August 22, 2001 Mr. Kent filed the initial appeal brief in United States v. Sholam Weiss, et al., on behalf of his client, Keith Pound, the President of LifeCo Mortgage Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of National Heritage Life Insurance Company.  The alleged looting of National Heritage Life Insurance Company, which is said to have resulted in over $400,000,000 of losses, resulted in a federal indictment of a number of individuals and a nine month long trial in federal district court in Orlando.  The trial transcript in this massive case was over 35,000 pages long and presented extremely complex corporate accounting issues, which Mr. Kent's former background as a senior associate in the tax shelter department of the international law firm, Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, made Mr. Kent particularly suited to handle.  Click here to see Mr. Kent's Resume.

Fees

We do almost all cases on a "flat fee" basis, meaning the client is quoted a fee up front which is the total and final fee for the case.  This flat fee is based on the estimated time the matter will require, the complexity of the case, the experience and reputation Mr. Kent brings to the case, other work that may be required to be turned away as a result of taking on the new case, and other factors.  The success of the appeal cannot be taken into account under Florida Bar ethics rules which prohibit attorneys in criminal cases from setting fees based on the success of the representation.  Fees must be paid in full in advance of the commencement of representation.  Fees are generally non-refundable.  In addition to the attorneys fee there may be out of pocket costs associated with the case.  For example, in appeal cases we generally send the briefs to Kinko's to be copied and bound in ring-binder sets.  This cost varies but averages $100-300.  Sometimes we must copy large records or pay for copies of records on appeal.  This cost varies depends on the fee set by the applicable clerk's office.  We often use FedEx to deliver briefs and other pleadings to courts and opposing counsel.  All such out of pocket costs are passed through to the client and generally billed on a monthly basis to the client.  In almost all cases the fee agreement and scope of representation will be reflected in a written fee agreement before work is commenced.  

In post-conviction relief cases - in contrast to appeals - we may often suggest a formal review of the file before agreeing to undertake representation and the filing of a post-conviction motion, such as a 3.850 motion, 3.800 motion or a federal habeas.  Direct appeals, on the other hand, will not be preceded by a file review, but rather a fee will be quoted based on the size and scope of the record and the nature of the issues presented.

Initial Consultations

Initial consultations by telephone, at the Jacksonville jail, or in office are free of charge.  Consultations which require travel to visit a potential client in custody are billed for the time away from the office, $1,250 per half day, or $2,500 for a full day, plus any travel costs.

More Information

Call 904-398-8000 or email Mr. Kent at kent@williamkent.com for more information or to schedule an in office or telephone appointment.

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