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Davis v. Phillips

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

September 10, 2019

LESTER DAVIS, Petitioner,
v.
DON PHILLIPS, [1] Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NOELLE C. COLLINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (Doc. 1). The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) (Doc. 2). After reviewing the case, the Court has determined that Petitioner is not entitled to relief. As a result, the Court will DENY the Petition and DISMISS the case.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 13, 2013, Petitioner pled guilty in the Circuit Court of St. Charles County, Missouri of assault in the second degree (Count I), armed criminal action (Count II), and unlawful possession of a firearm (Count III) (Doc. 5-2 at 52-77). On October 28, 2013, the Circuit Court sentenced Petitioner to 7 years on Count I, 7 years on Count II, and 7 years on Count III with the sentences in Counts I and III to run concurrently and the sentence in Count II to run consecutively for a total sentence of fourteen years in the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections (Id. at 78-133). Petitioner did not file a direct appeal of his sentence (See Doc. 1 at 4).

         On April 22, 2014, Petitioner, represented by counsel, filed a motion for post-conviction relief (Doc. 5-2 at 9-23). On September 16, 2014, after an evidentiary hearing, the motion court denied Petitioner's motion (Id. at 7, 145-52). On September 22, 2014, Petitioner, with the assistance of counsel, filed an appeal asserting that the motion court erred when it failed to find Petitioner's plea involuntary in light of trial counsel ineffectiveness as follows:

(1) Trial counsel failed to file any appropriate Motion to Dismiss or any pre-trail motions;
(2) Trial counsel failed to conduct any investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the charges against Petitioner;
(3) Trial counsel failed to have Petitioner psychologically examined and evaluated to determine whether Petitioner understood the charges against him and whether Petitioner could make a knowing and informed decision to enter pleas of guilty; and
(4) Trial counsel failed by implying he had a special relationship with the Judge to Petitioner such that Petitioner believed the nature of the relationship would afford Petitioner probation or a reduced sentence.

(Doc. 5-4). On August 11, 2015, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District affirmed the motion court's denial of the motion (Doc. 5-7; Davis v. State, 471 S.W.3d 373 (Mo.Ct.App. 2015)). Petitioner's Application for Transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court was denied on October 27, 2015 (Id.).

         On May 17, 2016, Petitioner filed his Petitioner under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody challenging the validity of guilty plea because his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel in that:

(1) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to dismiss;[2]
(2) Trial counsel was ineffective for his failure to conduct any investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the charges against Petitioner;
(3) Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to have the Petitioner psychologically examined and evaluated to determine whether Petitioner understood the charges against him and whether Petitioner could make a knowing ...

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