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Schallon v. Russell

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

July 5, 2017

KRISTEN E. SCHALLON, Petitioner,
v.
TERRY RUSSELL, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Kristen E. Schallon Petition under 28 U.S.C. §2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus By a Person in State Custody (ECF No. 1 ("Motion")). Because this Court has determined that Schallon's claims are inadequate on their face and the record affirmatively refutes the factual assertions upon which Schallon's claims are based, this Court decides this matter without an evidentiary hearing.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         A St. Louis County jury found Schallon guilty of thirteen counts of statutory sodomy, three counts of forcible rape, one count of first-degree statutory rape, twelve counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, and nine-counts of first-degree sexual misconduct. (Respondent's Exhibit E, p. 1-2). The trial court ordered all counts to run concurrently for a total of thirty years' imprisonment in the Department of Corrections.

         On September 11, 2014, Schallon filed this Motion seeking relief based upon the following grounds:

(1) The trial court committed error when it denied Schallon's motion for a mistrial;
(2) Schallon's appellate attorney was ineffective for failing to raise some claims on appeal. Both claims were presented to the Missouri Court of Appeals, which denied relief.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a district court "shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). "[I]n a § 2254 habeas corpus proceeding, a federal court's review of alleged due process violations stemming from a state court conviction is narrow." Anderson v. Goeke, 44 F.3d 675, 679 (8th Cir. 1995). "[A]n application for a 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). '"A state court's decision is contrary to ... clearly established law if it applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court] cases or if it confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a [Supreme Court] decision ... and nevertheless arrives at a [different] result.'" Cagle v. Norris, 474 F.3d 1090, 1095 (8th Cir. 2007) (quoting Mitchell v. Esparza, 540 U.S. 12, 15-16 (2003)). The Supreme Court has emphasized the phrase "Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court, " refers to "the holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of this Court's decisions, " and has cautioned that § 2254(d)(1) "restricts the source of clearly established law to [the Supreme] Court's jurisprudence." Williams, 529 U.S. at 412. A State court "unreasonably applies" federal law when it "identifies the correct governing legal rule from [the Supreme] Court's cases but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the particular state prisoner's case, " or "unreasonably extends a legal principle from [the Supreme Court's] precedent to a new context where it should not apply or unreasonably refuses to extend that principle to a new context where it should apply." Williams, 529 U.S. at 407. A State court decision may be considered an unreasonable determination "only if it is shown that the state court's presumptively correct factual findings do not enjoy support in the record." Ryan v. Clarke, 387 F.3d 785, 791 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Denial of Motion for Mistrial

         Schallon alleges that the trial court committed error by refusing to grant his motion for a mistrial. (ECF No. 1 at 5). Schallon contends that the mistrial should have been granted because the state allegedly failed to comply with the discovery order when it did not disclose an inculpatory statement made by Schallon, and a witness testified about the statement at trial.

         The Missouri Court of Appeals considered Schallon's argument and denied relief holding:

In his first point on appeal, Schallon asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in overruling his request for a mistrial after Victim testified to an inculpatory statement made by Schallon that was not disclosed to the defense. We disagree.
The decision whether to impose a sanction, including mistrial, for noncompliance with discovery rules rest within the "sound discretion" of the trial court. State v. Wallace, 43 S.W.3d 398, 402 (Mo.App. E.D.2001). We review atrial court's decision for abuse of discretion, and will reverse only when there is a reasonable likelihood that the discovery violation affected the result of the trial. Id. at 402-03.
The trial court here did not abuse its discretion in denying a mistrial, because there was no reasonable likelihood that Victim's testimony affected the result of the trial. Id. The court ordered the jury to disregard Schallon's statement made during a confrontation with Victim's boyfriend in which he suggested his guilt by saying, "Please take a shot at me. I deserve it." However, the record also included both Schallon's confession of guilt to police, which was admitted without objection, and a letter Schallon wrote to Victim in which he apologized for his "inappropriate behavior." Further, ...

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