United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Sheila David's
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 (Doc. 1). The Government has responded (Doc. 4),
and Petitioner has filed a reply (Doc. 7). On September 26,
2017, the Court entered an order staying this matter pending
final disposition by the Missouri Supreme Court of
Petitioner's state habeas corpus claim. That petition was
denied, and, on December 5, 2017, the Court lifted the stay.
review of the briefing submitted in this matter and for the
following reasons, Petitioner's § 2254 petition is
DENIED and this action is DISMISSED
Introduction and Background
was charged by indictment with stealing over $25, 000. (Resp.
Ex. B at 55). Petitioner entered into a blind plea and
pleaded guilty to felony stealing as a prior and persistent
offender on February 7, 2012. (Id. at 12). Before
the plea hearing started, the judge and plea counsel held a
discussion off the record. (Resp. Ex. A at 24).
State asserted that, at trial, the State would establish that
Petitioner appropriated cash of a value of at least $25, 000
during her employment as a bookkeeper for Gateway Cleaning
& Restoration without the consent of her employer.
(Id. at 13-14). Specifically, the State indicated it
would establish that Petitioner stole the money by using her
position to write herself checks on the company's
account, totaling $45, 027. (Id.). Petitioner
admitted those facts were substantially true and correct.
(Id. at 14).
State indicated that Petitioner's stealing offense would
be enhanced from a class B felony to a class A felony, as
Petitioner admitted she had two prior convictions.
(Id.). The state court determined that
Petitioner was a prior and persistent offender, and the range
of punishment for such an offense was 5 to 30 years or life
imprisonment. (Id.) The state court asked whether
Petitioner understood the range of punishment she would face
if she were to go to trial, which she answered in the
affirmative. (Id.). Petitioner then entered her
blind plea and requested that the state court consider
probation. (Id.). In response to
questioning, Petitioner indicated that she was not under the
influence of any medication or drugs, that she understood the
charges against her, that her attorney explained the charges
against her, and that she understood that she did not have to
plead guilty. (Id. at 12-13). The state court's
exchange with Petitioner went as follows:
Q. Has anyone promised you anything about your sentence,
other than what the State has recommended, to get you to
A. No, Your Honor.
Q. (By the Court) You want me to consider probation?
A. Yes, please, Your Honor.
Q. Has anybody promised you I will give you probation?
A. No, Your Honor.
Q. Do you understand you cannot take back your guilty plea
because you do not like the sentence that I give you?
A. Yes, Your Honor.
(Id. at 15). In response to further questioning,
Petitioner stated that she had no complaints with her
attorney, that nobody threatened, intimidated, or mistreated
her or had in any way forced her to plead guilty, and that
she was entering her plea by her own free will. (Id.
state court found that Petitioner's guilty plea was made
knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently, with a full
understanding of the consequences. (Id.). The state
court then engaged in the following colloquy with Petitioner:
The Court: ...Now [Petitioner], so you and I are on the same
page, I spoke with your attorney, you perhaps heard me.
[Petitioner]: I heard some of it.
The Court: I'm particularly not quiet in my expressions.
But I will put you on probation largely for only one reason,
and that's to get restitution.
[Petitioner]: Yes, Your Honor.
The Court: So if you don't pay the restitution, whatever
that number is,  you will go away.
(Id. at 15-16). After the plea hearing and before
the sentencing, Petitioner met with a probation officer, who
then prepared a sentencing assessment report.
April 20, 2012, Petitioner appeared for sentencing. One of
the victims of Petitioner's theft, a World War II
veteran, testified that as a result of Petitioner's
actions, he had to file for bankruptcy because the company
was in the victim's name. (Id. at 17). The
victim's wife also testified, stating that
Petitioner's actions affected the victim's health
"in a horrendous way." (Id.). Plea counsel
then argued for a sentence of probation, stating that
Petitioner would be able to pay $300-$400 per month in
restitution, and the following exchange occurred:
The Court: What has she done so far to make restitution?
[Counsel]: I'm not sure, Judge. If you'd like to ask
[Petitioner] that I'm sure she'll let you know.
[Petitioner]: I haven't been able to do anything until I
start a new job next weekend. - -1 mean next week.
The Court: So the answer is you've done nothing?
[Petitioner]: Well, I haven't had a car -
The Court: In other words, you've done nothing?
[Petitioner]: I went through a bad divorce. I pretty much
lost everything in my divorce, both of us have. I've lost