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Waites v. Wallace

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

July 20, 2015

DEMONT WAITES, Petitioner,
v.
IAN WALLACE, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM

CAROL E. JACKSON, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the petition of Demont Waites for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

I. Procedural Background

Petitioner Demont Waites is presently incarcerated at the Southeast Correctional Center pursuant to the sentence and judgment of the Circuit Court of the City of Saint Louis. On September 30, 2005, a jury found petitioner guilty of one count of first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree robbery, and four counts of armed criminal action. The trial court sentenced petitioner to two terms of life imprisonment - one without the possibility of parole; six 25-year terms, and one 15-year term, all to run concurrently. Judgment, Resp. Ex. A at 97-102. Petitioner appealed his conviction and, on November 21, 2006, the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed. State v. Waites, No. ED87289 (Mo.Ct.App. Nov. 22, 2006) (Waites I) Resp. Ex. D.

Petitioner filed a timely motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15, which the post-conviction court denied following an evidentiary hearing. On October 18, 2011, the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief. Waites v. State, No. ED95580 (Mo.Ct.App. Oct. 18, 2011) (Waites II) Resp. Ex. H. On June 25, 2012, petitioner timely filed this petition for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

II. Factual Background

On August 17, 2001, Steven Davis, Jermaine Thomas, and Brandon Daily were sitting on Daily's front porch. Rosine Moore was working on a car in front of the house. At about 10:30 p.m., a man approached the street from a gangway and fired three or four shots from an automatic gun at a group of people across the street, hitting Rosine Moore in the foot. The shooter then turned and began firing at the group on the porch. Daily was shot in the leg, Davis was shot in his left hand and buttock, and Thomas was fatally shot in the left side. Daily saw the shooter get into the passenger seat of a white car. Several days later, Daily and Davis separately viewed photographic line-ups and identified petitioner as the shooter.

Petitioner's first trial, in February 2004, resulted in a hung jury. Docket, Resp. Ex. A at 5-6.

Additional facts will be included as necessary to address petitioner's claims.

III. Legal Standard

When a claim has been adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings, habeas relief is permissible under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), only if the state court's determination:

(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)(1)-(2).

A state court's decision is "contrary to" clearly established law if "it applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [the Supreme Court's] cases, or if it confronts a set of facts that is materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme Court] but reaches a different result." Brown v. Payton, 544 U.S. 133, 141 (2005). "The state court need not cite or even be aware of the governing Supreme Court cases, so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the statecourt decision contradicts them.'" Brown v. Luebbers, 371 F.3d 458, 461 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002)). "In the contrary to' analysis of the state court's ...


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