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Bolden v.Lawrence

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

August 18, 2017

RANDY BOLDEN, Petitioner,
v.
SCOTT LAWRENCE, 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 September 22, 2014. On November 14, 2014 Respondent filed request for extension of time to file response or reply [Doc. 4], which was granted by the court on November 17, 2014. Respondent filed his Response to the Court's Order to Show Cause Why Relief Should Not be Granted [Doc. 7], on December 26, 2014. 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 explained 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 February 4, 2010, Petitioner was convicted by jury of Assault First Degree and armed criminal. The Twenty-Second Circuit Court trial court, on April 9, 2010, sentenced him to concurrent terms of ten years imprisonment on the Assault First Degree offense and three years of imprisonment on the Armed Criminal Action offense to be served concurrently for a total of ten years. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District of Missouri, affirmed his convictions. Petitioner did not seek transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court. 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 15, 2011. Thereafter, the Missouri state trial court, Hon. John Riley, presiding, appointed the Missouri State Public Defender to represent Petitioner and a hearing was held on July 12, 2012. Thereafter, the Hon. John Riley entered findings of fact and conclusions of law denying the post-conviction relief motion of Petitioner. Plaintiff/Movant, thereafter, filed a timely notice of appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals. The Missouri Court of Appeals denied his assertions and affirmed the post-conviction relief motion court.

         Petitioner filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus against Respondent alleging that trial counsel was ineffective because he represented both Petitioner and Petitioner's sister; direct appeal counsel was ineffective for failing to raise an issue in Instruction 14 for plain error in his direct appeal; Instruction 14 was defective because it failed to include language that would have required the jury, in deciding Bolden's guilt on Count III (as an aider), to determine whether Emily (Bolden's co-actor) was lawfully defending Bolden from multiple assailants.

         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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