United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CROZET A. WILEY, Petitioner.
JAMES HURLEY, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Petition of Crozet A. Wiley
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254. The Petition is fully briefed and ready for
Crozet A. Wiley is currently incarcerated at the Northeast
Correctional Center ("NECC") pursuant to the
judgment and sentence of the Circuit Court of Pemiscot
County, Missouri. (Resp't's Ex. B pp. 40-41) A jury
found Petitioner guilty of one count of assault in the first
degree and one count of armed criminal action. (Id.
at pp. 33-34) The court sentenced him to 15 years'
incarceration for first degree assault and 5 years'
incarceration for armed criminal action, said sentences to
run concurrently. (Id. at p. 40) Petitioner appealed
the judgment, and on February 7, 2011, the Missouri Court of
Appeals affirmed the judgment and conviction.
(Resp't's Ex. H) Petitioner then filed a Motion to
Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Judgment or Sentence pursuant
to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15. (Resp't's Ex. J
counsel filed an amended Rule 29.15 motion on October 19,
2011. (Id. at pp. 23-38) On September 24, 2012, the
motion court denied Petitioner's motion for
post-conviction relief. (Id. at pp. 42-48) On
December 3, 2013, the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the
judgment of the motion court. (Resp't's Ex. N) On
January 15, 2014, Petitioner filed the present petition for
habeas relief in federal court.
Factual Background 
September 6, 2008, Gary Hatley ("Hatley") walked to
a friend's house one morning to assist with a sewer
problem. Hatley brought a 12-pack of beer and drank five to
eight beers within one hour. He had a buzz going when he
walked home with his remaining beer. As Hatley approached
Petitioner, Crozet A. Wiley, Petitioner yelled at Hatley and
asked for a beer. Hatley walked up to Petitioner, gave him a
beer, and the two men talked near Plaintiffs front porch. The
next thing Hatley recalled was lying out by the street,
feeling something wet, and seeing blood on his shirt. Hatley
did not recall the stabbing or know why Petitioner stabbed
him. Hatley possessed no weapon, and he had no dispute with
Hatley was bleeding heavily from his chest wound, he was able
to flag down a passing police car. Hatley was flown to a
hospital. Petitioner went to a neighbor's home, stuffed
the knife in a sock, and asked his neighbor to keep it for
him. The neighbor notified the police, and they recovered the
knife with remaining blood. Petitioner was tried as a
persistent offender, as he admitted to having three prior
felonies, including two for felony assault. Petitioner
claimed self-defense and testified that Petitioner had just
returned from the liquor store when Hatley approached
Petitioner. According to Petitioner, Hatley was drunk and
staggering, and he belligerently called Petitioner
"n*gger" and hit him in the left cheek. That was
when Hatley "got stabbed." State v. Wiley,
377 S.W.3d 41, 43 (Mo.Ct.App. 2011).
Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus, Petitioner raises three claims for federal habeas
relief. Petitioner argues in Ground One that trial counsel
was ineffective for failing to offer a modified self-defense
instruction. In Ground Two, Petitioner asserts that trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the
State's argument that Petitioner offered no evidence to
support his self-defense claim when the State had
successfully excluded Petitioner's proposed evidence.
Finally, in Ground Three, Petitioner contends that the trial
court erred in excluding evidence that the victim made a
statement that he was "going to kill that n*gger"
because the statement was relevant to who was the initial
aggressor and to Petitioner's theory of self-defense.
the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA),
federal courts review state court decisions under a
deferential standard. Owens v. Dormire, 198 F.3d
679, 681 (8th Cir. 1999). "[A] district court shall
entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus . . .
only on the ground that [the petitioner] is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Further, a
federal court may not grant habeas relief unless the claim
adjudicated on the merits in state court '"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.'" Owens, 198 F.3d at 681 (quoting
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)). Findings of fact made by a
state court are presumed to be correct, and the petitioner
has the burden of rebutting this presumption by clear and
convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See
also Gee v. Groose, 110 F.3d 1346, 1351 (8th Cir. 1997)
(state court factual findings presumed to be correct where
fairly supported by the record).
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 Supreme] Court on a question
of law or if the state court decides a case differently than
[the Supreme] Court has on a set of materially
indistinguishable facts." Williams v. Taylor,
529 U.S. 362, 412-413 (2000). With regard to the
"unreasonable application" clause, "a federal
habeas court may grant the writ if the state court identifies
the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme]
Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle
to the facts of the prisoner's case." Id.
at 413; see also Bucklew v. Luebbers 436 F.3d 1010,
1016 (8th Cir. 2006); Roman v. Roper, 436 F.3d 951,
956 (8th Cir. 2006). In other words, "a federal habeas
court may not issue the writ simply because that court
concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant
state-court decision applied clearly established federal law
erroneously or incorrectly. Rather that application must also
be unreasonable." Williams, 529 U.S. at 411.
preserve a claim for federal habeas review, a petitioner must
present the claim to the state court and allow that court the
opportunity to address petitioner's claim. Moore-El
v. Luebbers, 446 F.3d 890, 896 (8th Cir. 2006) (citation
omitted). "Where a petitioner fails to follow applicable
state procedural rules, any claims not properly raised before
the state court are procedurally defaulted."
Id. A federal court will consider a defaulted habeas
claim "only where the petitioner can establish either
cause for the default and actual prejudice, or that the
default will result in a fundamental miscarriage of
argues in Ground One that trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to offer a modified self-defense instruction.
According to Petitioner, this instruction would have informed
the jury that Petitioner could use deadly force to protect
and defend himself against a "forcible felony" ...