United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the petition of Anthony
Roberson for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Respondent has filed a response in opposition
and petitioner has filed a traverse.
2006, a jury in the St. Charles Count Circuit Court found
petitioner guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI). He was
sentenced by the court as a chronic offender to a 15-year
term of imprisonment, pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. §
577.023 (Cum. Supp. 2005).
the chronic offender statute only required proof of four
prior convictions for intoxication-related traffic offenses,
the State presented evidence that petitioner had six such
convictions: (1) two 1981 St. Louis County manslaughter
convictions for offenses on the same date (counted as one
prior offense); (2) a 1985 St. Louis County guilty plea to
driving with excessive blood alcohol; (3) a 1988 Calverton
Park municipal conviction for driving while intoxicated; (4)
a 1995 St. Charles County guilty plea to driving while
intoxicated; (5) a 2001 St. Charles County guilty plea to
driving while intoxicated and (6) a 1983 St. Louis County
conviction for driving while intoxicated. Resp. Ex. A, at
23-24. Prior to sentencing, the State offered into evidence
documentation of the prior convictions. When defense counsel
objected that he had not had a chance to look at the
documents, the court gave him time to examine them. Defense
counsel then objected to the admissibility of one of the
documents, a Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES)
record that was offered as evidence of the Calverton Park
conviction. After reviewing the documents, defense counsel
withdrew his objections. Resp. Ex. C, at 9-11.
2009, petitioner's appellate counsel wrote a letter to
petitioner stating that he could only ask for a sentence
reduction on appeal if the sentence received was greater than
that authorized by law. [Doc. #1-4]. In September 2009,
counsel wrote to the prosecutor requesting copies of the
exhibits that were used to prove petitioner's prior
convictions. [Doc. #1-5]. On direct appeal, counsel did not
challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
sentencing enhancement. Instead, the sole issue raised on
appeal was that the trial court erred in overruling the
defense's objections and requests for mistrial based on a
statement made by the prosecutor during voir dire.
Resp. Ex. E, at 12. Petitioner's conviction and sentence
were affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals on May 18,
2010. Resp. Ex. G, at 1. The appellate court noted that
petitioner did not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence.
Resp. Ex. G, at 4.
State Post-Conviction Proceedings
26, 2010, petitioner filed a pro se motion to vacate, set
aside or correct the judgment or sentence pursuant to
Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15 in which he raised the
following claims: (1) his conviction was unconstitutional
because Missouri's driving while intoxicated statute was
vague; (2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to
challenge the constitutionality of the Missouri driving while
intoxicated statute; and (3) trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to call two witnesses to testify on behalf of
petitioner. Resp. Ex. I, at 18, 21, 23. On September 9, 2011,
the motion court granted an evidentiary hearing only as to
the third claim, which was ultimately denied on the merits.
On appeal, petitioner challenged only the motion court's
denial of relief on the third claim. Resp. Ex. K, at 13. The
judgment of the motion court was affirmed. Roberson v.
State, 383 S.W.3d 479 (Mo. App. E.D. 2012).
April 5, 2012, petitioner filed a Rule 91 petition for habeas
corpus in the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri,
alleging ineffective assistance of trial and appellate
counsel for failing to object to the chronic offender
enhancement. Resp. Ex. Q, at 3. The court denied relief on
September 5, 2012, finding that a petitioner could not use a
proceeding in habeas corpus to challenge the sufficiency of
the evidence supporting a trial court's finding of
sufficient prior convictions if the challenge could have been
brought in the ordinary course of review. Resp. Ex. R, at 1.
On October 25, 2012, petitioner filed a Rule 91 petition for
habeas corpus in the Missouri Court of Appeals Western
District which was summarily denied on October 30, 2012.
Resp. Ex. T, at 1. On February 13, 2013, petitioner filed a
Rule 91 petition for habeas corpus in the Missouri Supreme
Court; after ordering the State to file a response, the court
denied the petition on June 11, 2013. Resp. Ex. V, at 1. In
all of these petitions, which are substantially identical,
petitioner alleges ineffective assistance of trial and
appellate counsel for failing to object to the classification
of petitioner as a chronic offender.
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
(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;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented