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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
SochorDennis 639131CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
9/19/2005USDC-S05-61534Habeas petition filed
9/22/2009USDC-S05-61534Habeas Petition denied
10/5/2009USDC-S05-61534Motion to alter judgment filed
9/22/2010USDC-S05-61534Motion denied
10/21/2010USDC-S05-61534Certificate of Appealability filed
9/29/2008FSC08-1841Notice of Appeal filed
3/3/2009FSC08-1841Initial brief filed
4/16/2009FSC08-1841Answer brief filed
5/21/2009FSC08-1841Reply brief filed
10/30/2009FSC08-1841FSC affirmed denial of 3.850 Motion
10/21/2010USCA10-14944Habeas Appeal filed
2/25/2011FSC11-3933.850 Appeal filed
3/13/2009CC86-152703.851 Motion filed
7/16/2009CC86-15270State's response filed
9/22/2009CC86-15270Huffington Hearing scheduled for 10/12/09
1/18/2011CC86-15270State's response filed
1/19/2011CC86-15270Motion denied

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
Direct Links

The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates thisinformation regularly.  This information, however, is subject to changeand may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not berelied upon for statistical or legal purposes. 


SOCHOR, Dennis AKA Paul Grant (W/M)

DC #   639131

DOB:   02/25/52


­­­Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Case#86-15270

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Russell E. Seay, Jr.

Attorney, Trial: Charles Rich – Special Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Gary Caldwell – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Paul Kalil, Rachel Day –CCRC-S


Date of Offense: 01/01/82

Date of Sentence: 11/02/87


Circumstances of Offense:


Dennis Sochor was convicted and sentenced to death for themurder of Patricia Gifford.


According to the testimony of Gary Sochor, Dennis Sochor’sbrother, he and Dennis met Patricia Gifford, the victim, at a lounge on NewYear’s Eve of 1981.  When it was time to leave the lounge, Gary said thatDennis and Gifford were kissing while he waited in the truck.  Giffordagreed to accompany Gary and Dennis to breakfast.  Gary testified that Dennisdrove to an isolated area with the victim sitting between the brothers in thetruck.  Dennis then stopped the vehicle.  Gary claimed that Dennisassaulted Gifford while she screamed for help and that he tried to stop Dennisfrom assaulting the victim, but Dennis told him to get back in the truck. A short time later, Dennis came back to the truck, and they went home. The next morning, Gary found a woman’s shoe, sweater, and a set of keys inDennis’ truck.  He hid the keys.  Later on, Gary noted that the truckhad been cleaned and the shoe and sweater had been removed.  Gary toldDennis about the keys and then gave the keys to Dennis because he demandedthem.  Gary returned to Michigan a few days later.


A female friend of the victim, who had accompanied Giffordto the lounge, testified at trial.  She testified that they went to thelounge for a New Year’s Eve celebration.  The friend became sick duringthe night, and Gifford, with the help of the Sochor brothers, assisted thefriend to her car.  Gifford’s friend awoke the next morning, realized thatGifford was missing and called the police.  The police acquired a photofrom the previous evening that showed Gifford with an unknown man.  Thephoto was displayed on television, and Dennis Sochor’s roommates testified thatSochor quickly left after seeing the photo of himself sitting near the victimat the bar on television.


When the police learned that Gary Sochor had recentlyreturned to Michigan, they interviewed him.  Gary told the police thatDennis Sochor was responsible for Gifford’s disappearance.  He also agreedto return to Florida to help find Gifford’s body.  The police were neverable to find Gifford’s body.


Dennis Sochor was arrested in Georgia on unrelated chargesand extradited to Florida.  Three taped confessions made by Sochor whilein police custody were played for the jury.  Sochor said that he had metGifford at the lounge on New Year’s Eve, and they spent the eveningtalking.  In the parking lot, they kissed and Sochor wanted to have sex withGifford.  She, however, refused, and they fought.  During the fight,Gifford hit him, and Sochor choked her.  Sochor claimed that he thought hekilled Gifford and drove to a secluded area to get rid of the body. Dennis said that Gary was not with him during this part of the evening. Dennis Sochor said that he threw away pieces of a woman’s clothing that hefound in his truck.  After seeing the photo of himself and the victim ontelevision, he drove to Tampa in his employer’s truck and abandoned the truckthere.  Sochor then went to New Orleans and on to Atlanta.  In 1986,Sochor was arrested in Georgia on unrelated criminal charges and then wasextradited to Florida.


Additional Information:



Current Prison Sentence History:

Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Prison Sentence


Sexual Battery by Threat







According to the victim, Sochor forced her out of a FortLauderdale cocktail lounge on 03/13/80.  He made her get into a vehicleand then drove to a remote area, forced her into a camper shell attached to thevehicle and sexually assaulted the victim.  The victim was able to escapeand went back to the scene with an officer.  Sochor claimed that he didnot force the victim to get into the vehicle and that he drove in the directionof his home.  He further claimed that they had sexual relations and thenhe passed out.  Sochor was sentenced on 09/30/80 to 1 year in jail and 5years on probation.  Sochor was resentenced on 11/02/87 to Life on thesame count.



Prior Prison Sentence History:

Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Prison Sentence


Grand Theft Motor Vehicle




5 Years

Trial Summary:


10/09/86         Sochor was indicted on the following:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:         Kidnapping during theCommission of a Felony

10/20/87         The jury found Sochor guilty of each count of the indictment.

10/21/87         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 10 to 2 majority, voted for the deathpenalty.

11/02/87         Sochor was sentenced as follows:

                                  Count I:          First-Degree Murder – Death

CountII:         Kidnapping during theCommission of a Felony – 22 years


Appeals Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #71,407

580 So. 2d 595 (Fla. 1991)


11/03/87         Appeal filed

05/02/91         FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

06/18/91         Rehearing denied

07/18/91         Mandate issued


United State Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #91-5843

502 U.S. 967 (U.S. 1991)


09/16/91         Petition filed

11/18/91         USSC granted the Petition, vacated the Direct Appeal

denial, andremanded the case to the FSC


Florida Supreme Court – On Remand from United StatesSupreme Court

FSC #71,407

619 So. 2d 285 (Fla. 1993)


05/06/93         FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

06/14/93         Rehearing denied

07/14/93         Mandate issued

United State Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #93-5963

510 U.S. 1025 (U.S. 1994)


09/09/93         Petition filed

12/13/93         USSC denied the petition

02/22/94         Rehearing denied


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #86-15270 CF10


07/25/95         Motion filed

03/28/01         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #01-885

883 So.2d 766 (Fla. 2004)


04/26/01         Appeal filed

07/08/04         Affirmed the trial court’s 3.850 denial

09/21/04         Rehearing denied

10/21/04         Mandate issued


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC #02-1797

883 So.2d 766 (Fla. 2004)


08/13/02         Petition filed

07/08/04         Petition denied

09/21/04         Rehearing denied

10/21/04         Mandate issued


United States District Court, Southern District –Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

USDC # 05-CIV-61534


09/19/05         Petitionfiled

09/22/09         Petitiondenied

10/05/09         Motionto Alter Judgment filed

09/22/10          Motion denied

10/21/10          Certificate of Appealability filed


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #86-15270 CF10


03/14/08         Motion filed

08/28/08         Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 08-1841

22 So.3d 68


09/29/08         Notice of Appeal filed

10/30/09         FSC affirmed disposition of lower court


Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #86-15270 CF10


03/13/09         Motion filed

01/19/11          Motion denied


United States Court of Appeals, 11thCircuit – Habeas Appeal

USCA# 10-14944



10/21/10          Appeal filed 


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 11-393



02/25/11          Appeal filed



Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition ofSentence:


The Direct Appeal was pending for more than three yearsprior to being denied.  The case was remanded to the Florida Supreme Courtfrom the United States Supreme Court when the United States Supreme Courtgranted the Petition for Writ of Certiorari.  The 3.850 Motion was pendingfor more than five years prior to being denied. The Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus was pending for four years before it was denied.


Case Information:


Sochor filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Courton 11/03/87.  The issues addressed included that there was insufficientevidence for a conviction of first-degree murder and that the trial courtimproperly admitted Sochor’s taped statements about the crimes because thevictim’s body was never recovered.  Sochor further argued that theprosecution commented on facts not admitted as evidence, government witnesseswere allowed to testify about Sochor’s character, and the state grantedleniency to a fellow inmate for testifying against Sochor.  The FloridaSupreme Court did not find errors that warranted reversing the conviction orsentence and affirmed the conviction and sentence on 05/02/91.  Rehearingwas denied on 06/18/91.  A mandate was issued on 07/18/91.


On 09/16/91, Sochor filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariin the United States Supreme Court.  The Petition was granted.  TheFlorida Supreme Court’s denial of Sochor’s Direct Appeal was vacated due toerrors in the harmless error analysis, and the case was remanded to the FloridaSupreme Court on 11/18/91.


On remand, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictionand sentence on 05/06/93.  Rehearing was denied on 06/14/93.  Themandate was issued on 07/14/93.


On 07/25/95, Sochor filed a 3.850 Motion in the circuitcourt.  The motion was denied on 03/28/01.


Sochor filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on04/26/01.  In the appeal, Sochor raised several arguments.  His firstargument was that error occurred in the lower court failing to grant a newpenalty phase following the evidentiary hearing.  Sochor argued that erroroccurred in the lower court denying a new guilt phase following the evidentiaryhearing based on the following points: witness testimony was coerced, counselwas ineffective, Ake v. Oklahoma, and he was incompetent during the capitaltrial.  Next, Sochor argued that error occurred in the lower court by itsrefusing to disqualify itself from the postconviction proceeding, denyingseveral of his claims, and failing to object to unconstitutional juryinstructions.  Sochor’s final arguments were that he was innocent offirst-degree murder, the rule prohibiting his lawyers from interviewing jurorswas unconstitutional, and the Florida death penalty unconstitutionally permitscruel and unusual punishment.  The FSC affirmed the denial of Sochor’s3.850 Motion on 07/08/04.


Sochor filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on08/13/02.  Five claims were raised in the appeal.  First, Sochorclaimed the appellate counsel failed to raise numerous meritoriousissues.  Next, he claimed the FSC did not conduct a proper harmless erroranalysis on remand and that his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights wereviolated by improper jury instruction.  Sochor also claimed that he didnot receive a proper direct appeal and that Florida’s capital sentencingstatute violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. The FSC found Sochor’sclaims to be without merit and denied his petition on 7/08/04.


On 09/19/05, Sochor filed a Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus in the United States District Court, Southern District.  Thepetition was denied on 09/22/09. A Motion to Alter Judgment was filed on10/05/09. This motion was denied on 09/22/10. A Certificate for Appealabilitywas filed on 10/21/10.


On 03/14/08, Sochor filed a 3.850 Motion in the CircuitCourt.  This motion was denied on 08/28/08.


On 09/29/08, Sochor filed a Notice of Appeal in the FloridaState Supreme Court.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the3.850 motion on 10/30/09.


On 03/13/09, Sochor filed a 3.851 Motion in the CircuitCourt.  This motion was denied on 01/19/11.


Sochor filed a Habeas Appeal in the United States Court ofAppeals, 11th Circuit on 10/21/10. This case is currently pending.


Sochor filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on02/25/11. This case is currently pending.



Institutional Adjustment:













Report Date:  03/30/02          SQ

Approved:      02/28/03         WS

Updated:        04/13/11         EMJ