United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the petition of Missouri State prisoner Antonio Anderson for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On September 4, 2003, Petitioner was convicted by a jury of first degree murder (Count I) and armed criminal action (Count II), arising out of the July 4, 2001 shooting death of Sherman Teague. Petitioner was sentenced on October 14, 2003, as a persistent offender to life without the possibility of probation and parole, and life imprisonment, to be served concurrently. His convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal. Petitioner's motion for state post-conviction relief was denied following an evidentiary hearing. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of state post-conviction relief.
For federal habeas relief, Petitioner claims that his constitutional rights were violated by (1) the trial court allowing into evidence his "coerced statement"; and (2) the trial court allowing a witness's "in-court identification."
The evidence established that on July 4, 2001, the victim, who was 23 years old, was driving a car in North St. Louis, Missouri, with his then seven-year old nephew, Darvell Teague ("Darvell"). The victim stopped the car alongside a sidewalk where Petitioner, then 19 years old, was standing, and the victim and Darvell got out of the car. Darvell did not previously know Petitioner. The victim and Petitioner began arguing. Petitioner went into a nearby apartment and returned with a.22 caliber semi-automatic pistol. While the victim's back was turned, Petitioner fired two shots at him knocking him to the ground. Petitioner then fled the scene. The victim managed to get back into the car with Darvell and drive to Darvell's house, two and a half blocks away. As they approached the house, the victim passed out and his car hit several cars parked on the street. Darvell hit his head on the dashboard. The victim died in the car in front of the house shortly after he lost consciousness.
Police responded to the scene, where Darvell told them that he witnessed a man with braids in his hair shoot his uncle in the back on the sidewalk and that he would recognize the shooter. He directed the police to the site of the crime. There they found a spent.22 caliber shell casing on the sidewalk. The police filed a report in which they indicated Petitioner as a suspect and issued a "wanted" for Petitioner. An autopsy revealed that the victim died from a.22 caliber bullet that entered through his back, hit his lung, and came to rest around the left collarbone. The firearm used to kill the victim was not recovered and without it the police were unable to tell if the bullet came from the shell casing found at the scene of the shooting.
Petitioner was arrested nine months later, on April 28, 2002, in the early hours of the morning, when following a "pedestrian check, " the police were put on notice that he had outstanding bench warrants and a homicide warrant. Petitioner was taken to police headquarters in St. Louis City and placed in a holdover cell. Detective Mathias Hanewinkel, who had not previously been involved in the case, was notified of Petitioner's arrest, and at approximately 9:30 a.m. took Petitioner from his holdover cell and escorted him to an interview room. Petitioner was questioned over the course of the morning and confessed to shooting the victim. Petitioner agreed to make a videotaped statement of his confession. Hanewinkel booked Petitioner for the victim's murder and arranged for a line-up of five men with Petitioner in the second position from the left. Darvell was not available to identify Petitioner at the line up; however, a photo of the line-up was taken.
Petitioner filed a motion to suppress statements claiming that Petitioner's oral and videotaped confession to the murder of the victim were not voluntary, were made without Petitioner being informed of his constitutional rights, and were the direct result of an unlawful arrest. On September 2, 2003, a hearing was held at which Hanewinkel and Petitioner testified. Hanewinkel testified that Petitioner initially denied knowing the victim and having anything to do with the murder. Per Hanewinkel, after Petitioner was informed that witnesses had identified him as the shooter, Petitioner admitted to being at the location of the shooting, and that following an argument with the victim he obtained a gun from a nearby apartment, loaded it, returned outside, and fired two shots at the victim. Hanewinkel testified that Petitioner agreed to make a videotaped statement regarding his involvement in the shooting. Hanewinkel testified that Petitioner was informed of his Miranda rights on four separate occasions throughout his questioning, including before both his oral confession and videotaped statement. He testified that at all relevant times Petitioner indicated that he understood his Miranda rights and voluntarily signed Miranda warning and waiver forms. Id. at 120-28.
Petitioner testified that he was kept in a holding cell for about two days before he was interrogated and that Hanewinkel pushed him, punched him in the stomach, and yelled at him when he initially denied any involvement in the victim's murder. Petitioner testified that he was going through withdrawal from heroin at the time, to which he had been addicted since he was 14½ years old, leaving him confused and unable to handle questioning. He stated that the officers told him that he could go home when they finished interrogating him so he tried to hurry the process along by telling them what he thought they wanted to hear; he was focused on his need for heroin. He testified that he confessed to being at the location of the shooting and that he consented to make a videotaped statement. He testified that he was not informed of his Miranda rights. He acknowledged that he signed several Miranda waiver forms including one after his videotaped statement, but claimed that he did not know or read what he was signing due to his withdrawal. Id. at 152-64.
The trial court denied Petitioner's motion to suppress his oral and videotaped statements because it found that they were not coerced, that Petitioner had been advised of his Miranda rights on at least four different occasions, including prior to interrogation, and that Petitioner's testimony that he was physically coerced prior to his videotaped statement was not credible. Id. at 167-68.
Trial commenced on September 2, 2002. All the evidence was presented on one day, September 3, 2002, with five witnesses testifying for the state (Darvell, Hanewinkel, one of the officers who responded to the car accident and investigated the scene of the shooting, a firearms expert, and the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy) and Petitioner testifying for himself.
The trial transcript indicates that the prosecutor showed Darvell the photo of the line up one week prior to trial and again on the morning of trial, before the trial began. While on the stand, Darvell was shown the photo and asked if the shooter was in the photo, to which Darvell responded, "Yes." Before Darvell could indicate which man in the photo was the shooter, the court sustained defense counsel's objection to such testimony. Darvell was then asked whether the man he saw shoot his uncle was in the courtroom and he responded, "No." The prosecutor asked, "Would you look through all the courtroom please?" Darvell responded, "No." The prosecutor asked, "No?" Before Darvell could respond, defense counsel asked for a bench conference and the judge agreed.
At the bench conference, the prosecutor explained to the judge that Darvell could identify Petitioner from the photo, noting that Petitioner currently looked different from how he looked in the photo. The court observed that in the photo Petitioner had braids. The court again sustained defense counsel's objection to Darvell identifying Petitioner in the photo, subject to reconsideration later in the trial. (Resp. Ex. 1, Trial Tr., at 296-98.) It appears from the record, that after he completed his testimony, Darvell remained in the courtroom in a back row seat. Id. at 305.
Later in the trial, the court admitted the photo of the line-up into evidence. Darvell was recalled to the stand, and over defense counsel's objection, he identified Petitioner in the photo of the line-up as the shooter. He testified that the prosecutor had shown him the photo before trial and that no one, including the prosecutor, told him which person to pick out or influenced him to pick out Petitioner. On cross examination, when asked by defense counsel whether the prosecutor told him that he (Darvell) would be asked in the courtroom to identify the man who shot his uncle, and whether the prosecutor told him that the man would be seated at the defense table, Darvell answered in the affirmative to both questions. On redirect, Darvell identified Petitioner in the courtroom as the shooter, and testified that the prosecutor did not tell him to ...