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Donley v. Bowersox

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

August 12, 2019

JOHN J. DONLEY, Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL BOWERSOX, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the undersigned on the petition of Missouri state prisoner John J. Donley (“Petitioner”) for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1). This matter was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). For the following reasons, the undersigned recommends that the petition be denied.

         I. Factual Background

         In August 2009, Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action in the St. Louis City Circuit Court. Resp't Ex. A, at 19-28.[1] At the plea hearing, Petitioner testified that he understood that he did not have to plead guilty, that he had a right to a jury trial, that at a trial his attorney would be able to present evidences and witnesses for him, that at a trial the State would have to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that if a jury convicted him he would have the right to appeal. Id. at 25. He testified that he understood that if he pleaded guilty, there would be no trial, no appeal, and he would give up the rights the court had explained to him. Id. The prosecutor stated, inter alia, that had the case proceeded to trial, the State would have proven that the defendant committed the felony of murder in the second degree in that he knowingly caused the death of the victim by stabbing her with a knife and puncturing her heart and lungs, and that Petitioner committed the felony of armed criminal action by committing murder in the second degree by, with, and through the knowing use, assistance, and aid of a dangerous instrument. Id. Petitioner testified that what the prosecutor had said was true, that he had done what the prosecutor said he did, and that it happened the way the prosecutor said it happened. Id. at 25-26. Petitioner testified that he understood that if he went to trial, he could receive a sentence of ten to thirty years or life on the second-degree murder charge, and three years to life on the armed criminal action charge. Id. at 26. The State recommended a sentence of thirty years on each count, to run concurrently, and Petitioner testified that he understood and agreed with the State's recommendation. Id. at 26.

         The plea court and Petitioner then had the following exchange:

THE COURT: Have you told your lawyer all the facts surrounding the crime with which you have been charged?
PETITIONER: Yes.
THE COURT: Has your lawyer fully answered your questions?
PETITIONER: Yes.
THE COURT: Has he done what you've asked him to do?
PETITIONER: Yes.
THE COURT: If there were a trial are there any witnesses whom you would want your lawyer to bring into court to testify for you?
PETITIONER: No.
THE COURT: Do you have any complaints with your lawyer?
PETITIONER: No.
THE COURT: Has anyone threatened you, intimidated you, mistreated you or any member of your family, or in any way forced you to ...

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