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Randell v. Norman

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

May 14, 2015

JAMES M. RANDELL, Petitioner,
v.
JEFF NORMAN, Respondent.

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 [Doc. No. 1]. Respondent has filed his Response to the Court's Order to Show Cause. [Doc. No. 10]. Petitioner has filed a Traverse. [Doc. No. 16]. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition will be denied and dismissed.

Background

At around 1:30 in the morning on May 1, 2008, Petitioner violently attacked a woman ("victim") as she walked from a bar to her car. During the attack, the victim offered her purse to Petitioner. Petitioner did not respond to the victim's offer, but, after unsuccessfully trying to get into the victim's car while holding her against the car, he eventually picked up the purse and fled.

Petitioner was convicted by a jury of one count of second degree robbery and one count of resisting a lawful detention on September 2, 2009. He was sentenced on October 30, 2009 to eighteen years in prison. Petitioner filed a direct appeal, arguing insufficiency of evidence from which a juror could find beyond a reasonable doubt that he used physical force when he stole the victim's purse or that his struggle with victim was for the purpose of preventing her resistance to his taking of the purse. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction on February 15, 2011.

Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief on April 26, 2011, which was amended on September 11, 2011, arguing that he received ineffective assistance from his appellate counsel, who failed to raise the trial court's denial of one of Petitioner's Batson challenges, and from his trial counsel, who failed to file a request for a change of judge. The trial court denied the motion on February 23, 2012, and the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed on January 22, 2013.

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, 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 ...

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