United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING THE ISSUANCE OF A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
HOWARD F. SACHS, District Judge.
Petitioner, a convicted state prisoner currently confined at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron, Missouri, has filed pro se a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges his 2008 convictions of second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting a lawful stop, and first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle which were entered in Clay County, Missouri, and Caldwell County, Missouri. He was sentenced to consecutive sentences of fifteen, ten, and six years' imprisonment. Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Mo. Sup.Ct. R. 24.035, which was denied in Marshall v. State, 419 S.W.3d 157 (Mo.Ct.App. 2014). Respondent's Exhibit E.
Petitioner asserts four (4) grounds for relief: (1) ineffective assistance of guilty plea counsel for failing to adequately advise him that the Circuit Court of Clay County did not accept binding plea agreements; (2) ineffective assistance of guilty plea counsel for coercing petitioner into pleading guilty by failing to investigate the case against him and interview alibi witnesses; (3) ineffective assistance of guilty plea counsel for failing to alert the court to alleged inaccurate information in the sentencing assessment report; and (4) the charging document was deficient because Officer Danny Logan provided a false statement. Respondent contends that Grounds 1 and 2 are without merit and that Grounds 3 and 4 are procedurally barred.
In affirming petitioner's conviction and sentence, the Missouri Court of Appeals set forth the following facts:
On May 22, 2008, [petitioner] appeared before the Circuit Court of Clay County and entered a plea of guilty to the Class C felony of second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, the Class D felony of resisting a lawful stop or detention, the Class B misdemeanor of second-degree property damage, and the Class C felony of first-degree tampering. In exchange for [petitioner]'s plea, the State agreed to recommend concurrent sentences, to dismiss two counts of resisting arrest, and to not file an additional tampering charge or prosecute any traffic offenses.
The underlying charges stem from an incident which occurred during the early morning of August 16, 2007, in which an individual attempted to force open a soda vending machine at a Wal-Mart in Higginsville, fled in a vehicle at a high rate of speed, and continued his flight in a stolen vehicle after his own vehicle was disabled by law enforcement officers.
At [petitioner]'s plea hearing, the court explained to [petitioner] his constitutional rights, including his right to a trial by jury, and [petitioner] acknowledged that he understood his rights. The court read [petitioner] the charges against him and explained that he would be subject to an enhanced potential punishment because the State intended to present evidence that he was a prior and persistent offender. The court informed [petitioner] of the range of punishment on the various charges, and [petitioner] confirmed that he had discussed the range of punishment with his plea counsel. The court then questioned [petitioner] on whether he understood the non-binding nature of his plea deal with the State:
[The Court]: Do you understand there is no such thing as a binding plea agreement in this circuit?
[Petitioner]: Yes, Sir.
[The Court]: And do you understand that you're in one sense pleading straight up to the court, or it's an open plea or whatever the phrase you're familiar with?
[The Court]: So, you understand I can sentence you to anything within the range of punishment, and that the sentences can run concurrently or consecutively, and that's going to depend on the ...