United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Michael Harris's
(“Petitioner's”) pro se petition for
a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) (Doc. 5). For the following reasons,
the petition for a writ of habeas corpus will be denied.
Factual and Procedural Background
and the victim were roommates who sometimes had a sexual
relationship. Resp't Ex. B, at 6. On June 16, 2009, the
victim was injured in Petitioner's bedroom. Resp't
Ex. A, at 6; Resp't Ex. B, at 4. The victim woke up in
Petitioner's bedroom and found Petitioner standing on the
other side of the bed holding a baseball bat. Resp't Ex.
A, at 6; Resp't Ex B, at 4. The victim told police
officers and others that Petitioner had hit her with the
baseball bat. Resp't Ex. A, at 7; Resp't Ex. D, at 5.
testified at trial that he had gone to bed alone on the night
in question and had locked his door before going to bed.
Resp't Ex. B, at 7; Resp't Ex. D, at 6. He testified
that he was woken up by a noise, thought there was an
intruder in his room, and started swinging his left hand.
Resp't Ex. A, at 6; Resp't Ex. B, at 7; Resp't
Ex. D, at 6. He testified that he struck the victim before he
realized who it was. Resp't Ex. B, at 7; Resp't Ex.
A, at 6. Although he acknowledged striking the victim with
his hands, he denied using a bat. Resp't Ex. A, at 6.
bench trial, Petitioner was found guilty of domestic assault
in the first degree and armed criminal action. Resp't Ex.
E, at 3. Petitioner was sentenced to twelve years for the
domestic assault count and five years for the armed criminal
action count, to be served concurrently. Id. at 3-4.
direct appeal, Petitioner asserted a single claim: that the
trial court had erred in denying his motion to suppress
evidence of the baseball bat on the ground that it was the
fruit of an unlawful search of his home. Resp't Ex. A, at
9. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the trial
court's denial of the motion to suppress, finding that
Petitioner had affirmatively waived review of the issue
because defense counsel had expressly stated that he had
“no objection” to the admission of the bat.
Resp't Ex. C, at 4-5.
Petitioner's amended motion for post-conviction relief,
Petitioner asserted four claims of ineffective counsel, and
the motion court denied each claim without an evidentiary
hearing. Resp't Ex. E, at 6-9. On appeal, Petitioner
presented only two of the claims: (1) ineffective assistance
of trial counsel based on trial counsel's failure to show
Petitioner color copies of photographs of the victim's
injuries, a failure that led Petitioner to underestimate the
State's case and to proceed to trial instead of accepting
a plea offer; and (2) ineffective assistance of trial counsel
based on trial counsel's failure to ask Petitioner on
direct examination how the victim could have broken into his
bedroom. Resp't Ex. D, at 13-14. The Missouri Court of
Appeals affirmed the decision of the motion court on both
claims. Resp't Ex. G at 3-5.
November 19, 2013, Petitioner filed a pro se
petition in the instant action. In the Petition and
accompanying brief in support, Petitioner asserts three
grounds for relief: (1) that the State courts violated his
rights under the Fourth Amendment by denying his motion to
suppress the baseball bat and permitting the bat to be
admitted into evidence; (2) that his trial counsel was
ineffective because of her failure to show Petitioner color
copies of photographs of the victim's injuries, a failure
that led Petitioner to underestimate the State's case and
proceed to trial instead of accepting a plea offer; and (3)
that his trial counsel was ineffective based her failure to
ask Petitioner on direct examination how the victim could
have entered Petitioner's bedroom through a locked door.
habeas review exists only “as ‘a guard against
extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems,
not a substitute for ordinary error correction through
appeal.'” Woods v. Donald, 135 S.Ct. 1372,
1376 (2015) (per curiam) (quoting Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102-03 (2011)). Accordingly,
“[i]n the habeas setting, a federal court is bound by
AEDPA [the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act] to
exercise only limited and deferential review of underlying
state court decisions.” Lomholt v. Iowa, 327
F.3d 748, 751 (8th Cir. 2003) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254).
Under AEDPA, a federal court may not grant habeas relief to a
state prisoner with respect to any claim that was adjudicated
on the merits in the state court proceedings unless the state
court's adjudication of a 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). A state court decision is “contrary to”
clearly established Supreme Court precedents “if the
state court applies a rule that contradicts the governing law
set forth in [the Supreme Court's] cases” or
“if the state court confronts a set of facts that are
materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme]
Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from
[the Supreme Court's] precedent.” Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000); see also Brown
v. Payton, 544 U.S. 133, 141 (2005). A state court
decision involves an “unreasonable application”
of clearly established federal law if it “correctly
identifies the governing legal rule but applies it
unreasonably to the facts of a particular prisoner's
case.” Williams, 529 U.S. at 407-08; see
also Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002).
“Finally, a state court decision involves an
unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in the state court proceedings only if it
is shown that the state court's presumptively correct
factual findings do not enjoy support in the record.”
Jones v. Luebbers, 359 F.3d 1005, 1011 (8th Cir.
2004) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted);
see also Rice v. Collins, 546 U.S. 333, 338-39
(2006) (noting that state court factual findings are presumed
correct unless the habeas petitioner rebuts them through
clear and convincing evidence) (citing 28 U.S.C. §
Ground One: Fourth Amendment Violation
Ground One, Petitioner asserts that the state courts violated
his rights under the Fourth Amendment by denying his motion
to suppress the baseball bat and permitting the bat to be
admitted into evidence, because the bat was the fruit of an
illegal search and seizure. Fourth Amendment claims are not
cognizable in federal habeas proceedings, unless the
petitioner did not have a full and fair opportunity to
litigate such claims in state proceedings. Stone v.
Powell,428 U.S. 465, 494 (1976); Chavez v.
Weber, 497 F.3d 796, 801-02 (8th Cir. 2007). A Fourth
Amendment claim is unreviewable by a federal habeas court
under Stone unless either (1) “the state
provided no procedure by which the prisoner could raise his
Fourth Amendment claim, ” or (2) “the prisoner
was foreclosed from ...