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Jones v. Bowersox

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

March 31, 2015

WILLIAM JONES, Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL BOWERSOX Respondent.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner’s Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 [Doc. No. 28]. Respondent has filed his Response to the Court’s Order to Show Cause. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition will be denied and dismissed.

Background

Petitioner was charged with assault of a law enforcement officer in the second degree for causing injury to Officer Michael Weldon, and assault of a law enforcement officer in the third degree for causing physical contact with Officer Michael Hammond. On September 9, 2009, police officers were approached by two women who informed them about a nearby domestic assault incident. These officers requested that additional officers respond to the area to address the report of these two women so that the original officers could complete the investigation of the case that they had been dispatched to investigate. When Officer Michael Weldon and Officer Michael Hammond arrived, they went with the two women to investigate the domestic assault. As they were investigating the domestic assault at a residence, Petitioner entered the residence and seemed agitated. The officers asked Petitioner to step outside so that they could talk with him. While outside on the porch, Petitioner approached the officers in an aggressive and threatening manner. One of the officers grabbed Petitioner’s arm and told him to place his hands behind his back so that he could be placed in handcuffs. Petitioner resisted the effort to handcuff him, and during the struggle, knocked Officer Weldon and himself over a railing and off the porch. After landing on the ground, Petitioner continued to struggle with Officer Weldon. Officer Hammond came down from the porch to assist Officer Weldon in securing petitioner. During the struggle, Officer Weldon received some cuts on his arm.

While in custody, Petitioner wrote four letters to the trial court. In the first letter, Petitioner stated that he was innocent, and that he was tazed during the encounter. In the second letter, Petitioner requested a plea offer.

Petitioner sent the third letter shortly before the trial court ordered a mental exam. In that letter, Petitioner alleged that the staff at the jail was trying to kill him, and that the jail was refusing to release him even though his family had posted his bond. Petitioner also asked for a 180-day disposition, and also indicated a willingness to take a two-year sentence.

In June 2010, Petitioner wrote a letter objecting to his anticipated return from the Department of Mental Health to the local jail and asking that he be sent to a different jail. In that letter, Petitioner also asked for the case to be dismissed based on not having his defense attorney present at the preliminary hearing and the report being written by an officer who was not present for the incident.

In August 2010, Petitioner entered a plea of guilty to amended charges. The State recommended a five year sentence, but Petitioner entered an open plea. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to six years and placed him on probation.

Petitioner violated the terms of his probation, and the trial court revoked his probation.

After the trial court had revoked Petitioner’s probation, he wrote a letter asking to be released back on probation, but the trial court took no action on that request. In that letter, Petitioner did not request to set aside or vacate the plea.

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 ...

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