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
BurnsDaniel 111918CCRC-MCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
7/20/2007USDC07-01275Habeas Corpus
2/11/2008FSC08-1923.850 Appeal
6/6/2008FSC08-192Initial brief
10/19/2007CC87020143.850 Successive Motion

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
PinkardEric C.Clearwater, FL13577 Feather Sound Dr., Ste. 67033762727/329-1999Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date

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.


BURNS, Daniel Jr. (B/M)

DC #   111918

DOB: 01/29/45


Twelfth Judicial Circuit, Manatee County, Case #87-2014

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Stephen L. Dakan

Resentencing Judge: The Honorable Paul Logan

Trial Attorneys: Diana Allen & Mary Ann Stiles – Private

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Paul Helm – Assistant PublicDefender

Attorney, Direct Appeal Resentencing: Paul Helm – AssistantPublic Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Mark Gruber – CCRC-M


Date of Offense:                   08/18/87 

Date of Sentence:                 06/02/88

Date of Resentencing:           07/06/94        


Circumstances of Offense:


Daniel Burns, Jr. was convicted and sentenced to death forthe murder of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jeff Young during a traffic stopon 08/18/87.


Daniel Burns, Jr. and Samuel Williams were returning toDetroit from Ft. Myers when Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jeff Young pulledthem over on Interstate 75.  According to Williams’ testimony, TrooperYoung came up to the vehicle and asked for identification.  Trooper Youngthen returned to his patrol car where he radioed dispatch for a wanted personssearch and a registration check on Burns’ Michigan tag.  Trooper Youngnext asked Burns if he could search the vehicle, and Burns consented. Upon searching the trunk and finding what appeared to be cocaine, Trooper Youngand Burns began to struggle.  According to witness testimony, Burns andTrooper Young were fighting in a water-filled ditch when Burns grabbed TrooperYoung’s gun and pointed it at him.  Trooper Young threw his hands in frontof his face as Burns fired one shot, which hit Trooper Young’s wedding ring andstruck him in the head.  Trooper Young was dead by the time additionaltroopers arrived at the scene.  Medical examiners testified that the shotwas fired at such a close range as to leave gunpowder on Trooper Young’s face.


Burns fled on foot and was apprehended later thatnight.  Williams testified that Burns was making several trips to Floridato in order to purchase $10,000 worth of cocaine.


Trial Summary:


08/18/87         Defendant arrested.

08/25/87         Defendant indicted on:

                                   Count I:           First-DegreeMurder

                                   Count II:         Cocaine Trafficking

05/17/88         The jury found the defendant guilty on both counts.

05/17/88         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 10 to 2 majority, voted for the

death penalty.

06/03/88         The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                   Count I:           First-DegreeMurder – Death

                                   Count II:         Cocaine Trafficking – 30years

12/24/92         The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Burns’ convictions, but remanded for

new sentencingbefore a jury.    

04/19/94         The new sentencing jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death


07/06/94         The defendant was resentenced as followed:

                                   Count I:           First-DegreeMurder – Death

                                   Count II:         Cocaine Trafficking – 30years          


Additional Information:


On 12/17/04, the Florida Supreme Court relinquishedjurisdiction to the Circuit Court to determine if Burns is mentallyretarded.  On 06/27/05, the Circuit Court determined that

Burns is not mentally retarded mental retardation claim. 


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC #72,638

609 So. 2d 600


06/27/89         Appeal filed.

05/16/91         FSC affirmed the convictions, but remanded for resentencing.

12/24/92         FSC vacated its earlier ruling and issued a revised opinion. 

12/24/92         Rehearing denied.

01/22/93         Mandate issued.


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal, Resentencing

FSC #84,299

699 So. 2d 646


09/02/94         Appeal filed.

07/10/97         FSC affirmed the sentence of death.

09/17/97         Rehearing denied.

10/07/97         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari

USSC #97-6940

522 U.S. 1121


11/24/97         Petition filed.

02/23/98         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #87-2014


06/08/98         Motion filed.

12/18/00         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Motion Appeal

FSC #SC01-166

944 So.2d 234


01/22/01         Appeal filed.

11/02/06         FSC affirmed denial of motion


Florida Supreme Court – 3.203 Appeal (MentalRetardation)

FSC# 05-1300

913 So.2d 595


07/14/05         Appeal filed.

09/15/05         Appeal closed and claims included in case number 01-166.


United States District Court, Middle District—Petitionfor Habeas Corpus

USDC # 07-01275



07/20/07         Petition filed.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #87-2014


10/19/07         Successive Motion filed.

01/10/08         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court − 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 08-192

3 So. 3d 316


02/11/08         Appeal filed.

01/29/09         Appeal denied.


Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition ofthe Sentence:


Burns’ initial Direct Appeal took over three years toresolve, and the appellate process was again delayed due to the order forresentencing issued by the Florida Supreme Court.  Burns’ Direct Appealfollowing resentencing also took approximately three years to complete. 


Burns’ 3.850 Motion Appeal was pending from 01/22/01 –11/02/06.


Case Information:


Burns filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Courton 06/27/89.  Burns raised many issues in this appeal to which the courtgave little or no response.  Burns, however, urged that the trial courterred when it allowed character and background evidence of the victim to bepresented to the jury, and erred in its application of the heinous, atrocious,and cruel (HAC) aggravating factor.  While Burns argued that unfairlyprejudiced both the guilt and penalty phases of the trial, the Florida SupremeCourt ruled that the introduction of such evidence only deprived Burns of afair sentencing.  The Florida Supreme Court noted the preponderance ofevidence of Burns’ guilt, and therefore ruled that, even without theprejudicial testimony, the jury would have enough evidence to convict Burns ofmurder. The court also examined Burns’ HAC claim and found that the aggravatorwas inappropriately applied.  As such, the Florida Supreme Court affirmedthe convictions but remanded the case for new sentencing proceedings on05/16/91.  On 12/24/92, the Florida Supreme Court vacated its earlierdecision and issued a clarified opinion on Burns’ Direct Appeal, explainingthat in the absence of the HAC aggravator, the jury would have only oneaggravating factor to weigh against one mitigating factor, and no way tohypothesize a jury’s recommendation in such a circumstance.  In addition,the court noted the prejudicial victim evidence entitled Burns to a new penaltyphase before a jury.  On 12/24/92, the Florida Supreme Court againaffirmed the convictions and remanded for resentencing.


Burns filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on09/02/94.  Burns contended that the court erred in denying his request toinstruct the jury regarding his right to remain silent and again disputed theadmission of victim character and background evidence.  Burns also arguedthat his case was one of the most mitigated and least aggravated.  TheFlorida Supreme Court affirmed the sentence of death on 07/10/97.


On 11/24/97, Burns filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariin the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 02/23/98.


On 06/08/98, Burns filed a 3.850 Motion to Vacate Judgmentand Sentence in the State Circuit Court, which was denied on 12/18/00. 


Burns filed a 3.850 Motion Appeal in the Florida SupremeCourt on 01/22/01.  On 12/17/04, the FSC relinquished jurisdiction to theCircuit Court for a mental retardation claim.  On 06/27/05, the CC deniedthe mental retardation claim.  On 11/02/06, the FSC affirmed the denial ofthe motion.


Burns filed a 3.203 Appeal on 07/14/05 that was closed on09/15/05.  The issues raised in the appeal have been included in the 3.850Appeal.


On 07/20/07 Burns filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpuswith the United States District Court. This petition is still pending.


Burns filed a Successive Motion to Vacate Judgment on 10/19/07in the Circuit Court that was denied on 01/10/08.


On 02/11/08 Burns filed a 3.850 Appeal with the FloridaSupreme Court that was denied on 01/29/09. 




Report Date:  11/30/01          ew

Approved:      12/11/01          ws

Updated:         04/15/09         klh