United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
PATRICK L. JONES, Petitioner,
CINDY GRIFFITH, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER, United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Missouri state prisoner Patrick
L. Jones' (“Petitioner”) pro se
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. (Doc. 1). The parties have consented to the
jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1). (Doc. 8). For
the following reasons, the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus will be denied.
Factual and Procedural Background
convicted Petitioner of two counts of statutory sodomy in the
first degree, two counts of child molestation in
the first degree, one count of statutory rape in the second
degree, and one count of statutory sodomy in the second
degree, and sentenced him to concurrent terms of imprisonment
of thirty years, thirty years, fifteen years, fifteen years,
seven years, and seven years. Resp't. Ex. H at 4.
direct appeal, the Missouri Court of Appeals summarized the
facts as follows:
TR [the victim] was born in August 1994. In May 2008,
[Petitioner], the boyfriend of TR's mother, moved in with
her family. TR initially slept in the basement. Approximately
one week after the move, [Petitioner] went to the basement
where TR was sleeping and placed his hand under her bra, felt
her breasts, pulled off her shorts, rubbed her vagina with
his hand, and rubbed her vagina with his penis. [Petitioner]
threatened her and her family if she told anyone. Similar
incidents happened in 2008 and 2009, even after TR moved
upstairs and shared a bedroom with her sister. After TR's
fourteenth birthday, [Petitioner] put his mouth on her
vagina, and penetrated her with the head of his penis. TR
never told her mother because she assumed that her mother
would not believe her as her mother seemed to favor
[Petitioner] over TR in disputes. TR eventually told her
friend [“TR's Friend” or
“Friend”] . . . about the incidents with
[Petitioner]. [Her Friend] advised her to tell her mother,
and later suggested that TR tell a counselor at her school.
During the week of Thanksgiving 2009, [TR's Friend] told
a school counselor, Carol Robinson (“Counselor”)
that a friend of hers had a secret. Counselor said that the
secret should be shared if it was of a serious nature, and if
[TR's Friend] was uncomfortable with sharing it, to
encourage her friend to do so. [TR's Friend] left and
later returned to Counselor with TR. Counselor began asking
questions of TR, about whether someone hit her, or made her
feel uncomfortable. TR told her that it was her mother's
boyfriend. Counselor asked if [Petitioner] had sex with her,
at which point TR nodded her head and began to cry. Counselor
reported the matter to her administrator.
Detective Harolton Clayborn of the St. Louis County Police
contacted TR's mother, and attempted to contact
[Petitioner]. [Petitioner] was arrested, and after reading
him his Miranda rights, [Petitioner] acknowledged that he
understood by initialing and signing the Miranda rights form.
[Petitioner] did not request an attorney. During the
questioning, [Petitioner] admitted that one time he was
intoxicated and touched TR's breast in her bedroom. Under
continued questioning, [Petitioner] began to cry and admitted
to two other occasions when he went into TR's bedroom and
touched her breast. He denied other acts. [Petitioner] stated
to Detective Clayborn that he was tired of talking and wanted
to leave, at which point Detective Clayborn asked him if he
would reduce his statement to writing or if he would give an
audio tape. [Petitioner] gave a written statement.
[Petitioner]'s written statement was that on about three
occasions, he was intoxicated by marijuana and alcohol and
went into TR's bedroom by mistake, and feeling on what he
thought was his side of the bed for TR's mother, he
realized he was feeling TR's breasts. Prior to trial,
[Petitioner] filed a motion to suppress his written
statement, which the trial court denied.
At trial, TR, [TR's Friend], Counselor, and Detective
Clayborn testified, and the State introduced a number of
exhibits, including [Petitioner]'s written statement.
Resp't. Ex. E at 1-3.
Missouri Court of Appeals, on direct appeal, reversed one of
Petitioner's convictions for insufficient evidence, as
noted supra, and in all other respects affirmed his
conviction. Resp't. Ex. E. Petitioner filed a Rule 29.15
motion for post-conviction relief, which counsel amended, in
which he sought relief on grounds that he was denied
effective assistance of counsel. Resp't. Ex. F at 19. The
motion court denied Petitioner's motion without an
evidentiary hearing. Resp't Ex. F at 109. In his appeal
of the motion court's denial of his motion for
post-conviction relief, Petitioner raised two claims.
Petitioner claimed that the motion court erred in denying his
claims that his trial counsel was ineffective in (1) not
calling the victim's mother to testify; and (2) failing
to adequately question the victim about when the sexual
assaults first began, and to impeach her with deposition
testimony. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the motion
court's decision. Resp't Ex. I.
Februay 19, 2015, Petitioner filed his pro se
petition in the instant action. Petitioner raised three
claims: (1) trial counsel was ineffective in failing to call
the victim's mother to testify; (2) trial counsel was
ineffective in failing to question the victim about when the
sexual assaults first began and to impeach her with
deposition testimony; and (3) the trial court abused its
discretion in overruling his counsel's objections to the
alleged hearsay testimony of the victim's Counselor and
her Friend. Respondent filed a response (Doc. 11), and
Petitioner filed a traverse (Doc. 14).
Standard for Reviewing Habeas Corpus Claims on the
federal judge may issue a writ of habeas corpus freeing a
state prisoner, if the prisoner is “in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. 2254(a). However, the judge
may not issue the writ if an adequate and independent
state-law ground justifies the prisoner's ...