United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
IRA B. HARRIS, Petitioner,
JEFF NORMAN, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on review of petitioner Ira B.
Harris's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1). For the reasons
discussed below, the petition must be dismissed as
successive. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(1).
Following a jury trial, petitioner was convicted of six
counts of first-degree robbery, three counts of armed
criminal action, and one count of first-degree assault. On
June 7, 1991, he was sentenced to concurrent terms of life
imprisonment for each robbery count; forty years for each
armed criminal action count; and thirty years for the
first-degree assault count. Petitioner subsequently filed
state motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Mo. Sup.
Ct. R. 29.15. The circuit court denied petitioner's
motion. On appeal, the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed
petitioner's conviction and sentence in part, but
remanded to the circuit court for a hearing pursuant to
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) regarding the
state's use of peremptory strikes. State v.
Harris, 860 S.W.2d 839, 841 (Mo. App. 1993). The circuit
court held a Batson hearing and denied
petitioner's due process challenge. State v.
Harris, 882 S.W.2d 730, 730 (Mo. App. 1994). The
Missouri Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed. Id.
filed his initial federal petition for writ of habeas corpus
on February 17, 1995. Harris v. Groose, No.
4:95-cv-00306 (E.D. Mo.). On August 16, 1995, petitioner
moved to have his case voluntarily dismissed without
prejudice. The motion was granted, and the case dismissed.
August 28, 1996, petitioner filed another petition for writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254,
challenging his 1991 state-court conviction. Harris v.
Dormire, No. 4:96-cv-02069-DJS (E.D. Mo.). The petition
was denied on the merits on March 27, 2000. Petitioner filed
a notice of appeal. The appeal was dismissed by the Eighth
Circuit Court of Appeals on September 20, 2000. Harris v.
Dormire, No. 00-2295 (8th Cir. 2000).
October 10, 2017, petitioner filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus that contained claims relating to two separate
cases: his original 1991 conviction; and a 2002 charge of
assaulting a Department of Corrections officer that resulted
in a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI).
Harris v. Steele, No. 4:17-cv-2562-NCC (E.D. Mo.).
The Court determined that to the extent petitioner was
attempting to litigate his 1991 conviction and sentence, his
petition was successive and required the authorization of the
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to proceed. Thus, the Court
entered an order of partial dismissal on November 27, 2017.
However, the Court also determined that to the extent
petitioner was litigating the commitment related to his 2002
NGRI, his claims appeared exhausted and timely, and were
allowed to go forward. The case is still pending.
is currently incarcerated at the South Central Correctional
Center in Licking, Missouri. He filed the instant petition on
May 3, 2019, by placing it in the prison mailing system.
(Docket No. 1 at 40).
claims in the petition are entirely related to
petitioner's original 1991 conviction for first-degree
robbery, armed criminal action, and first-degree assault.
(Docket No. 1 at 3). In Ground I, petitioner alleges a
violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)
when the prosecutor withheld evidence of petitioner's
“mental disease and defect and the forced treatment he
was receiving during the trial.” (Docket No. 1 at 9).
In Ground II, petitioner claims that two mental health
doctors employed by the state committed perjury and provided
false testimony to the circuit court by suggesting that
petitioner was malingering. (Docket No. 1 at 14). In Ground
III, petitioner asserts that the circuit court's failure
to conduct a competency hearing violated his Fourteenth
Amendment right to due process. (Docket No. 1 at 16). In
Ground IV, petitioner alleges that his trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to request a competency hearing and
in telling the circuit court that there was no evidence to
substantiate his claim of mental disease or defect. (Docket
No. 1 at 25-26). Finally, in Ground V, petitioner states that
his conviction and sentence violate the Fourteenth Amendment
because he was incompetent at the time of trial due to a
“severe mental disease and defect.” (Docket No. 1
of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts provides that a district court shall
summarily dismiss a § 2254 petition if it plainly
appears that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. Here,
it plainly appears that petitioner is not entitled to relief,
because his petition is successive.
presented in a “successive habeas corpus application
under section 2254 that was presented in a prior application
shall be dismissed.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(1).
Furthermore, for claims in a successive application that were
not presented in a prior application, “the applicant
shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order
authorizing the district court to consider the
application.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). See
also Boyd v. United States, 304 F.3d 813, 814
(8th Cir. 2002) (stating that authorization by the
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is a “prerequisite
under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)…to the filing of a
second or successive habeas petition”).
noted above, petitioner filed a prior petition pursuant to
§ 2254 that was denied on the merits on March 27, 2000.
Harris v. Dormire, No. 4:96-cv-02069-DJS (E.D. Mo.).
More recently, the Court denied and dismissed
petitioner's § 2254 petition as successive to the
extent it attempted to litigate claims related to his 1991
conviction. Harris v. Steele, No. 4:17-cv-2562-NCC
(E.D. Mo. Nov. 27, 2017). Petitioner seems to acknowledge
that his petition is successive, as he has ...