Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Stubblefield v. Steele

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

April 12, 2019

KEITH L. STUBBLEFIELD, Petitioner,
v.
TROY STEELE, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          E. RICHARD WEBBER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Keith Stubblefield's Amended Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody [17].

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2013, Petitioner Keith Stubblefield (“Petitioner”) was convicted, after a bench trial, of one count of Murder in the First Degree and one count of Armed Criminal Action. St. Louis County Cir. Ct., 21st Judicial Cir., Mo. No. 11SL-CR00319-01. Petitioner was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on Count 1 of Murder, and life on Count 2 of Armed Criminal Action, to run concurrently. Tr. pg. 128: 9-21.[1] Petitioner appealed his convictions to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and his convictions were confirmed. ECF No. 35-5. Petitioner subsequently filed a post-conviction relief (“PCR”) motion pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15, which was denied by the PCR Motion Court and affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals. ECF No. 35-9.

         The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, described Petitioner's convictions as follows:

“Defendant and his girlfriend, Brandis McCollier (Victim), lived together in an apartment. On January 17, 2011, they had friends Tamara McGill (McGill) and Duane Wilderness (Wilderness) over to their apartment as guests. Around 2:00 a.m., the four of them were sitting at a table in the front room, and Defendant and Victim began arguing. At some point, they moved into the kitchen and the argument escalated. Victim came out of the kitchen and sat down at the computer. Defendant came out and they started arguing again, and Defendant sat on the couch.
Defendant and Victim continued arguing. Defendant got up, pulled a gun out of his pants, set it on an ironing board, and put Victim in a choke-hold. Victim “beat him up” and Defendant fell on the ground. Victim stood over him and said, “Don't you put your hands on me no more.” Victim went back to sit at the computer and picked up her phone to call the police, but she hung up after Defendant told her that they would both be “locked up” if the police came. Victim called her sister instead. Victim was holding her and Defendant's one-year-old daughter.
Defendant then told Wilderness he needed to leave, and Defendant asked McGill for a ride. McGill asked Victim if she could use Victim's car to drive Wilderness and Defendant, and Victim said McGill could give Wilderness a ride in Victim's car but not Defendant. Then Defendant said to McGill, “[G]et me out of here. Something bad going to happen.” Defendant then moved toward the back door of the apartment as if to leave. McGill and Wilderness both turned away, then they heard a gunshot. They saw Victim fall to the floor. McGill testified Victim fell on top of her daughter, whom Victim had been holding. McGill got on the floor, and Defendant looked at her and said, “[McGill], you ready to die too?” Wilderness picked Victim up; Victim was not moving. Wilderness walked outside with Defendant, Defendant looked around, and “took off.” Wilderness called 911. The St. Louis County Medical examiner confirmed Victim died of a single gunshot wound to her head.”

ECF No. 35-5 at pgs. 1-3.[2]

         II. STANDARD

         “A state prisoner who believes that he is incarcerated in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.” Osborne v. Purkett, 411 F.3d 911, 914 (8th Cir. 2005). In order for a federal court to grant an application for a writ of habeas corpus brought by a person in custody by order of a state court, the petitioner must show that the state court decision:

(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)(1)-(2). A determination of a factual issue made by a state court is presumed to be correct unless the petitioner successfully rebuts the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence. Id. at § 2254(e)(1).

         A state court's decision is “contrary to” clearly established Supreme Court precedent “if the state court either ‘applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court] cases' or ‘confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the] Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [the] precedent.'” Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792 (2001) citing (Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-406 (2000)). An unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court precedent is found where the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the case. Ryan v. Clark, 387 F.3d 785, 790 (8th Cir. 2004). Finally, a state court decision may be considered an unreasonable determination of the facts “only if it is shown that the state court's presumptively correct factual findings do not enjoy support in the record.” Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Petitioner makes thirty-one (31) claims in his petition, as amended. They are as follows:

(1) The Missouri Constitution's right to bear arms should have afforded him a defense; the shooting was accidental. ECF No. 17 at pgs. 38-41;
(2) Trial counsel was ineffective when his advice led Petitioner to reject two plea offers. ECF No. 17 at pg. 42;
(3) Trial counsel was ineffective when he told Petitioner he discussed the entire case with the trial judge, who allegedly admitted he knew the shooting was unintentional and a mistake. Further, counsel informed Petitioner the trial judge allegedly told him he would not convict Petitioner of first degree murder. This allegedly led Petitioner to waive his right to a jury trial based on fraudulent representations. ECF No. 17 at pgs. 43-44;
(4) Trial counsel was ineffective for refusing to allow Petitioner to testify on his own behalf. ECF No. 17 at pgs. 44-46;
(5) Trial counsel was ineffective for withholding the deposition of third party witnesses supporting Petitioner's assertion the shooting was an accident. ECF No. 17 at pg. 46;
(6) Trial counsel was ineffective for withholding the depositions of the two witnesses interrogated by homicide detectives supporting Petitioner's story. ECF No. 17 at pg. 46;
(7) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call Petitioner's family to support Petitioner's assertion he only left the unit to ensure he could safely make contact with homicide detectives. ECF No. 17 at pg. 46;
(8) Trial counsel was ineffective when he failed to cross examine both state witnesses with the original drawing of the apartment. ECF No. 17 at pg. 47;
(9) Trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present evidence of the dangers and legitimate fears Petitioner and the victim faced living in the apartment and being previously burglarized. ECF No. 17 at pg. 47;
(10) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to introduce phone records of the victim's 911 call reporting “hoodlums or thugs” who appeared at the rear door of the apartment. ECF No. 17 at pg. 48;
(11) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present evidence showing several of the gang members referenced in the 911 call later broke into the apartment and were apprehended by police. ECF No. 17 at pg.48;
(12) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to argue the affirmative defense the shooting was accidental. ECF No. 17 at pg. 48-49;
(13) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the removal of Petitioner's depositions from evidence. ECF No. 17 at pgs. 48-49;
(14) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to show the trial court Petitioner's business license. ECF No. 17 at pg. 49;
(15) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call Mr. and Mrs. Rucker to testify they saw him changing the oil in the victim's vehicle and that Petitioner spent most of the morning buying paint supplies. ECF No. 17 at pg. 49;
(16) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call Gail Williams at trial, who would have testified she paid Petitioner $450.00 on January 15, 2011, so there was no reason for the Petitioner to have an argument ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.