Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Case #CR94-9210
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
Attorneys, Trial: Michael L.
Irwin and Mark C. Bender – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Charles
S. Quarles – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:
James Lewis & Melissa Minsk Donoho – Registry
Date of Offense: 07/24/94
Date of Sentence: 04/12/95
Date of Re-sentence: 08/15/97
Circumstances of Offense:
Michael Robinson was convicted
and sentenced to death for the murder of his girlfriend, Jane Silvia.
On 08/08/94, Michael Robinson’s
mother contacted the police. She told them that her son had admitted
killing his girlfriend, Jane Silvia. Acting on this information, the
police searched Robinson’s recently vacated residence. They discovered
bloodstains on the carpet.
On 08/10/94, Robinson was
arrested for unrelated misdemeanor drug charges. Robinson was read
Miranda Warnings, which he waived. He told police that five drug
dealers killed Silvia in his apartment when they were trying to retrieve
drug money. Robinson said that the men hit her with a hammer and stole
$100. After the men left, he buried the body.
On 08/16/94, Robinson told the
police a different story and said that he stole items, such as
electronic equipment, from Silvia’s place to buy crack cocaine. The
state determined that Robinson had an extensive history of drug abuse,
including alcohol, marijuana and crack cocaine.
Robinson’s mother sent
money to Silvia to replace the items that Robinson stole. Silvia and
Robinson went to the drug dealer to whom Robinson had sold the stolen
items. The drug dealer told Robinson and Silvia that he had sold
Robinson reported that on the
night of the murder, 07/24/94, Silvia fell asleep on the couch. After
she fell asleep, he retrieved a long-handled, steel dry wall hammer with
a waffle pattern head and a claw on the back.
When Robinson came back
inside with the hammer, Silvia partially woke up. Robinson sat watching
her and waited for her to fall back asleep. After Silvia fell back
asleep, he walked around the back of the couch and began hitting her in
the head with the hammer, each time pushing it through her skull.
turned the hammer around and used the claw part on her also. Robinson
then retrieved a serrated turkey carving knife. He stuck the knife into
the soft part of her throat and down into her chest to stop her from
breathing and her heart from beating. He then wrapped Silvia’s body in
material and buried her. Robinson took the police to where he had
Robinson told the police that he
had loved Silvia, but he killed her to stop her from confirming a police
report that she had filed after Robinson stole her belongings. Robinson
also said that he killed Silvia to retrieve money that she was keeping
in her shoe.
08/10/94 Robinson was arrested.
08/22/94 Robinson was indicted on the following:
Count I: First-Degree,
Premeditated Murder (Jane
01/23/95 Robinson pled guilty.
Robinson waived the right to a penalty phase jury.
Robinson was adjudicated guilty for Count I.
04/12/95 Robinson was sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree, Premeditated Murder (Jane
11/21/96 FSC affirmed the conviction; however, FSC reversed the
08/15/97 Robinson was resentenced as follows:
First-Degree, Premeditated Murder (Jane
Robinson filed his first Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on
04/26/95. The issues addressed included that the trial court erred in
handling mitigation, finding pecuniary gain, and in finding the crime
cold, calculated, and premeditated. The Florida Supreme Court found
error in the trial court’s handling of mitigating factors and affirmed
the conviction, but remanded the case to the trial court for a new
penalty phase hearing 11/21/96. A mandate was issued on 12/23/96.
remand from the Florida Supreme Court for a new penalty phase hearing,
Robinson was resentenced to death on 08/15/97.
Robinson filed his second Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on
09/08/97. The issues addressed included that the trial court erred in
not allowing Robinson to withdraw his guilty plea, denying Robinson
additional funds for investigation, finding pecuniary gain, and in
finding the crime cold, calculated, and premeditated. Robinson also
argued that the penalty of death was disproportionate to the crime
committed. The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that warranted
reversing the sentence and affirmed the sentence of Death on 08/19/99.
Rehearing was denied on 10/25/99. A mandate was issued on 11/24/99.
01/24/00, Robinson filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United
States Supreme Court. The petition was denied on 04/03/00.
02/28/01, Robinson filed a 3.850 Motion in the circuit court. The
circuit court denied the motion on 05/15/03.
Robinson filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 07/11/03.
In his appeal, Robinson argued that the trial court erred in denying an
evidentiary hearing on numerous claims of ineffective counsel, that the
trial court violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and that
lethal injection is unconstitutional. Robinson also raised issues
regarding public records, his innocence and that he is insane and
therefore cannot be executed. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the
denial of Robinson’s Motion on 07/07/05.
Robinson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida
Supreme Court on 05/03/04. In his petition, Robinson argued that error
occurred in the Florida Supreme Court remanding him for a new penalty
phase before the trial judge without a penalty phase jury present, that
appellate counsel was ineffective for not raising this issue in his
Direct Appeal and that his death sentence is unconstitutional under
Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002). The Court found Robinson’s
first claim to be without merit and procedurally barred since it had
been raised previously in the 3.850 proceedings. The Court also ruled
that counsel cannot be deemed ineffective for failing to raise a
meritless issue and Robinson had lawfully waived the right to a penalty
phase jury which overrides his third claim. The Florida Supreme Court
denied the petition on 07/07/05.
12/06/05, Robinson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the
United States District Court, Middle District. The petition is
Michael L. Robinson