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Smallwood v. Hurley

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

September 22, 2014

DARRYL SMALLWOOD, Petitioner,
v.
JAMES HURLEY, [1] Respondent.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the petition of Missouri state prisoner Darryl Smallwood for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, [Doc. No. 1]. Petitioner has also filed an Amended Petition, [Doc. No. 12]. Respondent has filed a Response to order to show cause. Petitioner has filed a reply. For the reasons set forth following the Petition will be denied.

Background[2]

On June 12, 2007, Petitioner was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court of Missouri of trafficking in the second degree. Petitioner was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment on July 23, 2007, as a prior, persistent offender. Petitioner appealed the conviction, which was affirmed by the Eastern District Court of Appeals for Missouri. Petitioner also filed a Rule 29.15 Motion for postconviction relief. The Motion was denied; Petitioner appealed this denial to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District.

Standard of Review

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (AEDPA) applies to all petitions for habeas relief filed by state prisoners after the statute's effective date of April 24, 1996. When reviewing a claim that has been decided on the merits by a state court, AEDPA limits the scope of judicial review in a habeas proceeding as follows: An application for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in

custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim -
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

In construing AEDPA, the United States Supreme Court, in Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362 (2000), held that:

Under the contrary to' clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the U.S. Supreme Court] on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than [the U.S. Supreme Court] has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Under the unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the U.S. Supreme Court's] decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.

Williams, 529 U.S. at 412-13. Furthermore, the Williams Court held that "a federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly." Williams, 529 U.S. at 409.

Grounds for Relief

As the bases for relief in his habeas corpus application, together with the amended petition, Petitioner asserts as follows: in his original petition, Petitioner claims that the motion court erred in failing to grant a hearing on his claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to comments regarding petitioner's silence during his arrest. In his amended petition, Petitioner claims that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to comments regarding Petitioner's silence during his arrest (Ground One and Amended Ground Two); in his original petition, Petitioner claimed that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to testimony from police officers that they were members of the Most Violent Offender's Gang Task Force and indicating that Petitioner was a member of a gang. In his amended petition, Petitioner revises his claim to state that counsel should have objected to testimony that the officers were members of the Most Violent Offenders Unit. (Ground Two and Amended Ground One); in his original Petition, Petitioner claims that there was no jurisdiction to proceed with his case based on the lack of a probable cause to arrest. (Ground Three); in his original Petition, Petitioner claimed that the State introduced evidence of prior bad acts for which he had never been convicted. Petitioner alleges that counsel failed to object to this evidence. In the Amended Petition, Petitioner claims that the State improperly cross-examined him on his prior convictions by asking questions about how his sentences in those cases compared to his possible sentence in this case. (Ground Four and Amended Ground Five); in his original petition, petitioner claimed that he was denied the right to present witness testimony when witness was arrested in presence of the jury. Petitioner also refers to not being allowed to confront the confidential informant. In his amended petition, petitioner claims that the trial court improperly denied his request for a mistrial when the prosecutor stated in front of the jury that Tacita Fair had a warrant for her arrest. Petitioner also claims ...


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