United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, St. Joseph Division
JIMMIE R. WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
RONDA J. PASH, Warden, Crossroads Correctional Center, Respondent.
ORDER AND OPINION (1) DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY, AND (3) DISMISSING MATTER WITH
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
is Petitioner Jimmie R. Williams's Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Doc.
#1. For the following reasons, the Court denies the Petition,
and declines to issue a Certificate of Appealability.
underlying facts were summarized by the Missouri Court of
Williams was originally charged with one count of
first-degree statutory rape and one count of first-degree
statutory sodomy. He pleaded guilty to two counts of
first-degree child molestation pursuant to a plea agreement
with the State. Under the agreement, Williams could ask the
court to impose the minimum sentences for the offenses that
run concurrently; the State could request maximum sentences
to run consecutively. Williams signed a written petition to
enter [a] plea of guilty. The petition included the following
I know that the Court will not permit anyone to plead guilty
who is innocent, and because I am guilty, I request the Court
to accept my plea of guilty. I did the following acts in
connection with the charge(s) against me; [in handwriting] In
Clay County Missouri, between 8/1/2010 and 2/2/2012, I
touched [the victim], her vagina to my penis and my finger to
At the plea hearing, Williams admitted that between August 1,
2010, and February 2, 2012, he knowingly subjected the
victim, who was less than fourteen years old, to sexual
contact by touching her vagina with his penis and by placing
his finger inside her vagina. He acknowledged the plea
agreement and stated that no threats or promises had been
made to induce him to plead guilty. He further stated his
understanding of the range of punishment for the class B
felonies and the rights he was waiving by pleading guilty.
Finally, Williams stated that his attorney had done
everything he wanted and that he had no complaints with his
At the sentencing hearing, the court received a sentence
assessment report (SAR). Williams presented the testimony of
his psychologist, who opined that with proper supervision and
treatment, Williams's propensity to re-offend was
practically zero. He also presented “many letters of
support.” The State presented the testimony of the
victims' (sic) parents. After reception of the evidence,
the court sentenced Williams to consecutive terms of eleven
years imprisonment on each count. The court explained that it
considered the age of the victim, the number of times she was
victimized by Williams, and the SAR. It stated that although
on paper Williams has a low risk of re-offending, he had
changed his story and had not taken ownership of his fault.
Thereafter, Williams filed an amended motion for
postconviction relief. The motion alleged that the prosecutor
violated Brady v. Maryland by failing to disclose
exculpatory evidence, a DVD recording of the victim's
forensic interview and an audio recording of Williams's
interview by law enforcement. The motion also raised several
claims of ineffective assistance of counsel both in
connection with guilty plea and with sentencing. Following an
evidentiary hearing, the motion court denied Williams's
Doc. #6-1, at 2-4. Williams appealed the motion court's
decision to the Missouri Court of Appeals, which affirmed the
judgment of the motion court. Williams v. State, 497
S.W.3d 778 (Mo.Ct.App. 2016); Doc. #6-1.
Petition to this Court, Petitioner articulates the following
grounds for relief:
(1) The motion court erred in denying Petitioner's Rule
24.035 motion because the State committed a Brady
violation by failing to disclose recordings of the
victim's forensic interview and Petitioner's
interview by police detectives. Petitioner also argues the
motion court's finding that the written summaries of
these recordings accurately reflect the contents of the
recordings was erroneous. Doc. #1, at 21-36.
(2) Petitioner was denied the right to effective assistance
of counsel when counsel failed to investigate and obtain
evidence from the State. Doc. #1, at 37-44.
(3) Petitioner was denied the right to effective assistance
of counsel when counsel failed to correct the SAR, failed to
cross-examine the victim's parents at the sentencing
hearing, and failed to offer the victim's sexual assault
forensic examination (“SAFE”) into evidence. Doc.
#1, at 44-52.
(4) As a result of the Brady violation and
ineffective assistance of counsel, Petitioner was deemed to
be not credible at sentencing, resulting in a longer
sentence, and at the hearing on Petitioner's
post-conviction motion, resulting in the denial of
post-conviction relief, all of which deprived him of his
right to fair proceedings, due process, and effective
assistance of counsel. Doc. #1, at 52-56.
to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”), which amended 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a
writ of habeas corpus shall not be issued on a claim
litigated on the merits in state court unless the state
court's decision either:
(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
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The “contrary to” and
“unreasonable application” provisions in the
first subsection have independent meaning. The
“contrary to” provision applies “if the
state court arrived at a conclusion opposite to that reached
by the Supreme Court on a question of law, or reached a
decision contrary to Supreme Court precedent when confronting
facts that were materially indistinguishable.”
Jackson v. Norris, 651 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir.
2011). The “unreasonable application” clause
applies “if the state court correctly identified the
governing legal principle, but unreasonably applied it to the
facts of the particular case.” Id.
2254(d) “limits the applicability of the AEDPA's
deferential standard to claims that have been
‘adjudicated on the merits' in state court.”
Worthington v. Roper, 631 F.3d 487, 495 (8th Cir.
2011) (citation omitted). Federal courts are “directed
to undertake only a limited and deferential review of
underlying state court decisions.” Id.
(quoting Collier v. Norris, 485 F.3d 415, 421 (8th
Cir. 2007)). “A federal court may not issue the writ
simply because it 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.” Id.
(internal quotations and citations omitted).
Ground One: Brady violation
argues the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373
U.S. 83 (1963), when it failed to produce certain recordings.
Petitioner maintains the recordings “contained
exculpatory evidence as to the crimes charged and information
favorable to ...