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McCoy v. Steele

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

June 16, 2017

MARCUS P. MCCOY Petitioner,
v.
TROY STEELE, Respondent.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 [Doc. 1] on July 20, 2014. On September 25, 2014, Respondent filed his Response to the Court's Order to Show Cause Why Relief Should Not be Granted [Doc. 8]. Thereafter, on October 8, 2014, Petitioner filed his Traverse. Pursuant to Rule 8 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 cases in the United States District Courts, this Court has determined that there are no issues asserted that give rise to an evidentiary hearing and therefore one is not warranted. For the reasons set forth below, the Response to the Order to Show Cause Why Relief Should not be Granted is well taken and the petition will be denied.

         Procedural Background

         On March 4, 2011, Petitioner was convicted by jury of Assault First Degree (class A felony), two counts of Armed Criminal Action, Assault First Degree (class B felony). The Twenty-Second Circuit Court trial court, on April 22, 2011, sentenced him to concurrent terms of 20 years, 15 years, 15 years, and twelve years, imprisonment in the Missouri Department of Corrections. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District of Missouri, affirmed his convictions on June 12, 2012. The Petitioner is currently within the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections under the previously referenced sentences.

         Petitioner filed his motion for post-conviction relief, pursuant to Rule 29.15, relative the case on July 26, 2012. Thereafter, on February 27, 2013, the Missouri state trial court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law denying the post-conviction relief motion of Mr. McCoy. Plaintiff/Movant filed his notice of appeal, on October 23, 2013, to the Missouri Court of Appeals. On appeal Petitioner argued trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call McCoy to testify on his own behalf, failing to include a claim that the trial court erred in overruling McCoy's motion to quash the jury panel in his motion for a new trial, and withdrawing a request for mistrial. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court after applying the Strickland standard relating to claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and found all three claims failed to meet the two-part test. The appellate court also found that McCoy's second claim was not properly raised in his post-conviction proceedings and issued its mandate on April 15, 2014.

         Petitioner filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus against Respondent on July 20, 2014. Petitioner alleges that 1) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call Petitioner to testify at his trial after he told his counsel he wished to do so; 2) counsel was ineffective for withdrawing his request for mistrial; 3) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to preserve for appellate review a claim that the trial court erred in overruling the motion to quash the jury panel; 4) the trial court plainly erred in submitting instruction 6 to the jury, because the instruction contained a fatal variance between count 1 as charged, count 1 as submitted to the jury, in that the charging document alleged Petitioner “shot at” the victim and the instruction required the jury to find Petitioner “actually shot” the victim.

         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 principle from ...

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