United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
WILLIAM O. LANE, Petitioner,
TROY STEELE, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Petition of William O. Lane
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This
cause was referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636 (b).
incarcerated at the Southeast Correctional Center
(“SECC”) in Charleston, Missouri, pursuant to the
Sentence and Judgment of the Circuit Court of Randolph
County, Missouri. (Doc. 12-1 at 129-30.)
jury trial, Lane was found guilty of first degree child
molestation and incest. Id. at 236-37. The court
sentenced him to life imprisonment for the child molestation
charge and a concurrent seven-year term of imprisonment for
the incest charge. Id.
raised four points on direct appeal of his convictions. (Doc.
9-1.) In his first two points, Lane argued that the trial
court plainly erred in admitting hearsay statements of the
victim. In his third point, he argued that the trial court
erred in overruling his motion for judgment of acquittal and
sentencing him for incest because the evidence was
insufficient to support this conviction. In his final point,
Lane argued that the trial court erred in refusing to submit
instructions to the jury delineating specific dates on which
the offenses occurred. On March 18, 2014, the Missouri Court
of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. (Doc.
filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief
under Rule 29.15. (Doc. 12-4 at 6-13.) After appointment of
counsel, an amended post-conviction relief motion was filed.
Id. at 14-21. In his amended motion, Lane argued
that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in that
sentencing counsel failed to object to the court sentencing
him to seven years on the incest charge on the basis that the
sentence was outside the range of punishment for the offense.
Lane also argued that trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to move to strike all extrajudicial statements
attributed to the victim. The State conceded that Lane was
sentenced in excess of the allowable range of punishment for
the incest charge. The motion court granted relief as to
Lane's first claim, finding Lane was entitled to be
resentenced with a range of punishment of 2 to 4 years for
the incest charge. (Doc. 12-4 at 34.) The court denied relief
as to Lane's second claim. Id. at 37.
appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief, Lane argued
that counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the
victim's out of court statements. (Doc. 12-2.) The
Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the motion
court. (Doc. 9-6.)
filed his Petition on May 23, 2016, in which he raises five
grounds for relief: (1) he is actually innocent; (2) the
trial court erred in allowing the State to file an amended
information; (3) the venire was tainted by comments from two
prospective jurors; (4) his right to confrontation was
violated because the victim did not testify at trial; and (5)
his confession was coerced and counsel was ineffective for
failing to object to its admission. (Doc. 1.)
October 6, 2016, Respondent filed a Response to Order to Show
Cause. (Doc. 9.) Respondent argues that Lane's first
ground for relief is non-cognizable; his second, third, and
fifth grounds for relief are procedurally defaulted; and all
of his claims are meritless. Lane filed a Traverse on
December 27, 2016, in which he provides further argument in
support of his claims. (Doc. 15.)
fall of 2010, the victim, a young relative of Lane's,
stayed the night with Lane's wife while Lane was on the
road truck driving. Lane returned home in the middle of the
night. While the victim lay on the couch, Lane positioned
himself behind the victim on the couch, pulled the
victim's underwear down, and rubbed his penis in the
victim's buttocks until he ejaculated. Some of the
seminal fluid got on the victim's underwear and near the
genitalia. The victim got up, changed clothes, and got in bed
with Mrs. Lane.
later, the victim was taken to a doctor to treat a genital
injury. The doctor cautioned the victim that it was not okay
for a man to look at the victim's private areas without
the victim's parents present. On the way home from the
doctor's office, the victim reported that Lane had
touched the victim's private areas with his private area.
Upon hearing that, the parents called a help hotline, and
then reported the incident to the police.
days later, Ms. Lynne Dresner, a licensed clinical social
worker, interviewed the victim to obtain the victim's
account of the police investigation. The forensic interview
was recorded on DVD and was observed by Detective Anthony
Bowne, the lead detective in the case. The victim was later
placed in counseling with Ms. Dana Carter. The police then
questioned Mr. and Mrs. Lane.
Sergeant Kenneth Schulte interviewed him, Lane wrote a
statement admitting that he “rubbed [his] penis against
the backside of [the victim] until ejaculation was
pretrial hearing, the trial court heard testimony from the
victim's parents, Detective Bowne, Ms. Carter, Ms.
Dresner, and Mrs. Lane to determine whether the victim's
statements about the incident should be adduced at trial from
the victim's mother, Ms. Dresner, and the DVD of the
forensic interview, pursuant to § 491.075. At the
conclusion of the evidence, the trial court did not make a
ruling on the reliability of the statements or the
victim's unavailability. Prior to trial, Lane notified
the State of his alibi for the offense, relying on a possible
date provided by the victim to Ms. Carter during a counseling
victim did not testify at trial. The victim's mother and
Ms. Dresner provided the victim's statements to the jury.
Additionally, the court admitted the DVD of the forensic
interview into evidence and played it for the jury. The court
also admitted the anatomical figures used during the
interview that indicated the child's terminology for her
body parts and showed where she was touched. Sergeant Schulte
testified to Lane's confession of the incident, and
Lane's written statement was admitted into evidence.
Standard of Review
federal court's power to grant a writ of habeas corpus is
governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), which provides:
(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim-
(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