The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

The Registry Attorneys will be continued by the Justice Administration Commission.

These actions are effective July 1, 2011.

Disclaimer: The Commission on Capital Cases receives this information from a variety of sources. The site will be updated consistently as information is received and will be audited bi-annually. We make every attempt to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, the information should be verified by the applicable court prior to using it for legal or statistical purposes.


Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
BelcherJames 286173RegistryCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
7/20/2007USDC07-00665Habeas Corpus
9/28/2010USDC07-00665Petition denied with prejudice
9/7/2007USSC07-6442Certiorari petition
11/13/2007USSC07-6442Petition denied
10/19/2010USCA10-14870Habeas appeal filed
12/1/2010USCA10-14870COA granted

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
AndersonChristopher J.Atlantic Beach, FL645 Mayport Rd, Suite 4-G32233-3400904/246-4448Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date
Anderson16-1999-CF-1156-AXX-MADearingDuval 8/25/200310/16/2003

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 on for statistical or legal purposes.


BELCHER, James (B/M)

DC #    286173  

DOB:   07/01/59   


Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case #99-1156

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Peter L. Dearing 

Attorneys, Criminal Trial:  A. Chipperfield& L. Buzzell – Assistant Public Defenders  

Attorney, Direct Appeal: W.C. McClain – Assistant PublicDefender 

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Christopher Anderson – Registry


Date ofOffense:           01/08/96

Date of Sentence:        05/17/01


Circumstances of Offense:


James Belcher was convicted and sentenced to death for the01/08/96 murder of Jennifer Embry.


On the evening of 01/08/96, James Belcher entered thetownhouse of Jennifer Embry.  There were no signs of forced entry. There, Belcher sexually battered and killed Embry.  He strangled her byplacing his hands around her neck and holding her head underneath the water inthe bathtub.


At the time of the murder, Belcher lived near FloridaTechnical College, where Embry took classes.  A friend of Embry’s and anemployee of the college testified that they had seen Belcher and Embry talkingon different occasions.  After obtaining a warrant for a sample of Belcher’sblood, DNA tests revealed that the semen found inside Embry and on a slipper inher bathroom matched Belcher’s DNA profile.


Prior Incarceration/Community Supervision History in theState of Florida:



Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Prison Sentence Length


GRAND THEFT,$300 LESS & 20,000




1Y 3M 0D






7Y 0M 0D






5Y 0M 0D






3Y 0M 0D







Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case No.

Community Supervision Length


GRAND THEFT,$300 LESS & 20,000




1Y 0M 0D



Trial Summary:


02/25/99         The defendant was indicted on the following:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder

                                   Count II:           SexualBattery

03/30/01         The defendant was found guilty of both counts charged in the indictment.

04/11/01         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 9 to 3 majority, voted for the

impositionof the death penalty.

05/17/01         The defendant was sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:           First-Degree Murder - Death

                                   Count II:           Sexual Battery– 25 years


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #SC01-1414

851 So. 2d 678


06/25/01         Appeal filed.

07/10/03         FSC affirmed the convictions and sentence of death.

08/07/03         Mandate issued.


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #03-6522

540 U.S. 1054


09/17/03         Petition filed.

12/01/03         Petition denied.


Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# 99-1156


11/12/04         Motion filed.

08/25/05         CC denied motion.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion Appeal

FSC# 05-1732

961 So.2d 239


09/23/05         Appeal filed.

06/14/07         FSC affirmed denial of the motion.

07/06/07         Mandate.


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 06-866

961 So.2d 239


05/15/06         Petition filed.

06/14/07         FSC denied petition.

07/06/07         Mandate. 


United States District Court, Middle District –Petition for Habeas Corpus

USDC #07-00665


07/20/07         Petition filed.

09/28/10          Petitiondenied with prejudice.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC# 07-6442

128 U.S. 621


09/07/07         Petition filed.

11/13/07         Petition denied.


United StatesCourt of Appeals – Habeas Petition Appeal

USCA# 10-14870


10/19/10 Appeal filed.

12/01/10 Certificate of Appealabilitygranted.


Case Information:


On 06/25/01, Belcher filed a Direct Appeal in the FloridaSupreme Court.  In that appeal, he argued that the trial court erred indenying his motion for mistrial based on an objection made regarding theprosecutor’s closing arguments.  The Florida Supreme Court agreed that theprosecutor’s comments were objectionable, but found the error to beharmless.  Belcher also argued that the trial court erred in theapplication of the heinous, atrocious and cruel (HAC) aggravating factor and inrefusing to read his requested jury instruction.  Belcher also raisedissues concerning the constitutionality and proportionality of his deathsentence.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentenceof death on 07/10/03.


Belcher filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in theUnited States Supreme Court on 09/17/03, which was denied on 12/01/03.


Belcher filed a 3.851 Motion in the Circuit Court on11/12/04 that was denied on 08/25/05. 


Belcher filed a 3.851 Motion Appeal with the Florida SupremeCourt on 09/23/05, and on 06/14/07, the FSC affirmed the denial of themotion. 


Belcher filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with theFlorida Supreme Court on 05/03/06 that was denied on 06/14/07. 


The Florida Supreme Court issued a mandate for both the Writof Habeas Corpus and 3.851 Appeal on 07/06/07.


On 07/20/07, Belcher filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus inthe United States District Court, Middle District.  This motion was deniedwith prejudice on 09/28/10.


Belcher filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in theUnited States Supreme Court on 09/07/07 that was denied on 11/13/07.


Belcher filed a Habeas Petition Appeal with the UnitedStates Court of Appeals (USCA). On 12/01/10, the USCA granted Belcher’sCertificate of Appealability.


Institutional Adjustment:



DATE            DAYS             VIOLATION                         LOCATION       

--------           ----              ----------------------------                ------------------- 

10/13/98         0             POSS OFUNAUTH CLOTH      APALACHEE UNIT 

07/11/02         30            POSS OFCONTRABAND                  FSP




Report Date:    09/03/03          ew

Approved:       09/09/03          ws

Updated:         12/14/10          jjk