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Bledsoe v. Hurley

United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division

March 27, 2015

MICHAEL BLEDSOE, Petitioner,
v.
JAMES HURLEY[1], Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Michael Bledsoe's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 1). The Government responded (Doc. 8) and Petitioner replied (Doc. 10).[2] For the following reasons, Petitioner's Section 2254 petition is DENIED and this action is DISMISSED.

I. Introduction and Background

On July 13, 2007, a jury found Petitioner guilty of one count of forcible rape (Count I), kidnapping (Count II), two counts of domestic assault in the second degree (Counts III & IV), and one count of domestic assault in the third degree (Count V) (Ex. C at 114-123). The trial court sentenced Petitioner to 10 years on Count I to be served consecutively to the sentences for Counts II-V, five years, five years, five years, and one year respectively, which are to be served concurrently (Ex. C at 130-134). The Court will address the specific facts of the case where necessary in the analysis section.

Petitioner filed a direct appeal raising two claims:

(1) The trial court erred in overruling his motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of all evidence and in entering judgment and sentence because the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Appellant had sex with K.W. by the use of forcible compulsion as K.W. only testified that they had sex and did not testify that Appellant used forcible compulsion; and
(2) The trial court plainly erred in failing to grant a mistrial after the prosecutor characterized Appellant's exercise of his right to a trial as an aggravating circumstance.

(Ex. E). The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District, finding no error of law, affirmed the judgment (Ex. G).

On January 23, 2009, Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief (Ex. I at 3-28). On June 22, 2009, with the assistance of counsel, Petitioner filed an Amended Motion (Ex. I at 36-56). Following an evidentiary hearing held on March 25, 2010 (Ex. I at 59), the circuit court denied Petitioner's motion on March 29, 2010 (Ex. I at 60-65).

Petitioner appealed the denial, raising two points:

(1) The Motion Court erred in denying his post-conviction motion because he proved by a preponderance of the evidence that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to offer an instruction for the lesser-included offense of felonious restraint to the kidnapping charge; and
(2) The Motion Court erred in denying his post-conviction motion because he proved by a preponderance of the evidence that trial counsel was ineffective for purposefully discriminating against the female members of the venire panel.

(Ex. J). On June 7, 2011, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District affirmed the Circuit Court's denial of the motion (Ex. M).

On July 27, 2011, Petitioner filed a Motion for DNA testing pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 547.035 (Ex. N). The Motion Court denied his request on August 4, 2011 (Ex. N). The Docket reflects that Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal on August 17, 2011 (Ex. N). The record is unclear as to whether the Appellate Court reviewed this claim.

On December 19, 2011, Petitioner filed the instant Section 2254 petition in which he raises the following eight grounds for relief:

(1) The trial court erred because the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Petitioner had sex with K.W. by the use of forcible compulsion (Doc. 1 at 6);
(2) The trial court erred in failing to grant a mistrial after the state improperly argued in closing that Petitioner should take accountability, not put K.W. through a trial, throw himself on the mercy of the court, be a ...

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