United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Missouri state prisoner Corey
Wiggins' petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the following reasons, I will deny
is currently incarcerated at the Eastern Reception,
Diagnostic, and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
In February 2013, he was charged in the Circuit Court of St.
Louis County, Missouri, with murder first degree and armed
criminal action. He pled guilty on November 21, 2013, to an
amended charge of murder second degree and armed criminal
action, and was sentenced to life imprisonment and a
consecutive term of nine years' imprisonment,
respectively. Wiggins thereafter filed a motion for
post-conviction relief under Missouri Supreme Court Rule
24.035, claiming that plea counsel was ineffective for
failing to advise him before pleading guilty that he could
possibly assert a voluntary manslaughter defense to first
degree murder. The court denied the motion without an
evidentiary hearing. On April 28, 2015, the Missouri Court of
Appeals reversed and remanded the matter to the motion court
for an evidentiary hearing. Wiggins v. State, 480
S.W.3d 379 (Mo.Ct.App. 2015). After an evidentiary hearing on
remand, the motion court again denied Wiggins'
post-conviction motion, and the Missouri Court of Appeals
affirmed on March 7, 2017. Wiggins v. State, 512
S.W.3d 106 (Mo.Ct.App. 2017) (order) (per curiam).
timely filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus on March
petition, Wiggins claims that he received ineffective
assistance of plea counsel for counsel's failure to
advise him of the voluntary manslaughter defense, and that
counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate such a
defense. Wiggins claims he would have proceeded to trial had
he known about the voluntary manslaughter defense.
response, respondents argue that to the extent Wiggins claims
that counsel was ineffective for failing to advise
him of a possible voluntary manslaughter defense, I should
defer to the Missouri Court of Appeals' determination and
find the claim to be without merit. Respondents further argue
that to the extent Wiggins claims that counsel was
ineffective for failing to investigate the defense,
the claim is procedurally defaulted because Wiggins did not
raise the claim in state court.
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA), when a claim has been adjudicated on the merits in
state court, a federal court may not grant an application for
writ of habeas corpus unless the state court's
(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)(1)-(2). See Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 379 (2000).
federal law must be clearly established at the time
petitioner's state conviction became final, and the
source of doctrine for such law is limited to the United
States Supreme Court. Id. at 380-83.
court's decision is “contrary to” clearly
established Supreme Court precedent when it is opposite to
the Supreme Court's conclusion on a question of law or
“‘confronts facts that are materially
indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court
precedent' but arrives at the opposite result.”
Shafer v. Bowersox, 329 F.3d 637, 646-47 (8th Cir.
2003) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 405). A state
court's decision is an “unreasonable
application” of Supreme Court precedent if it
“identifies the correct governing legal principle from
[the Supreme Court's] decisions but unreasonably applies
that principle to the facts of the prisoner's
case.” Williams, 529 U.S. at 413. Erroneous or
incorrect application of clearly ...