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.

Hall v. Davis

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

May 3, 2017

STEPHEN ANDREW HALL, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          REED O'CONNOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by petitioner, Stephen Andrew Hall, a state prisoner confined in the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), against Lorie Davis, director of TDCJ, Respondent. After considering the pleadings and relief sought by Petitioner, the Court has concluded that the petition should be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In September 2011 Petitioner was indicted in the 213th District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, Case No. 1247950D, on a felony DWI charge. Adm. R., Clerk's R. 16, ECF No. 19-14. The indictment also included a repeat-offender notice alleging a prior felony conviction for DWI. Id. In March 2012 Petitioner was re-indicted on the felony DWI charge in Case No. 1274592R. Id., Clerk's R. 140, ECF No. 22-9. The re-indictment contained a habitual-offender notice alleging prior sequential felony convictions for felony DWI and aggravated robbery. In May 2012 Petitioner's jury trial commenced where he elected to represent himself. Based on the evidence, the jury found Petitioner guilty of the felony DWI charge and the trial court found the habitual-offender allegation true and assessed Petitioner's punishment at forty-five years' confinement. Id. at 142. Petitioner appealed, but the Second District Court of Appeals of Texas affirmed the trial court's judgment, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused petitioner's petition for discretionary review, and the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari. Pet. 3, ECF No. 1. Petitioner also filed a state application for a writ of habeas corpus, raising the claims presented herein, which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied without written order on the findings of the trial court. Adm. R., WR-08, 979-04 Writ, 2-64, ECF No. 22-9 & “Action Taken, ECF No. 22-4. This federal habeas petition followed.

         II. ISSUES

         Petitioner raises twenty-nine grounds for habeas relief. Given the voluminous state court records, this Court addresses Petitioner's claims under the same general categories designated by the state habeas court. They are:

→ record tampering (grounds one, two, seven, eight, nine, and thirteen);
→ record claims; (grounds four, five, six, eleven, twelve, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, and twenty-eight);
→ official oppression (ground three);
→ cruel and unusual punishment (ground ten); and
→ official indifference (ground twenty-nine).

Pet. 6.1-6.58, ECF No. 1; Adm. R., WR-08, 979-04, 110-17, ECF No. 22-9.

         III. RULE 5 STATEMENT

         Respondent believes that the petition it not barred by limitations or subject to the successive- petition bar, however she asserts that the claims under grounds four, five, six, eleven, twelve, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, and twenty-eight are procedurally defaulted. Resp't's Answer 6, ECF No. 38. According to Respondent, the claims were forfeited in state court because they should have been, but were not, raised on direct appeal and, thus, are procedurally barred from federal habeas review. Id. at 11-13. See Ex parte Gardner, 959 S.W.2d 189, 199-200 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998); Ex parte Banks, 769 S.W.2d 539, 540 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989).

         Under the procedural default doctrine, a federal court may not consider a state prisoner's federal habeas claim when the last state court to consider the claim expressly and unambiguously based its denial of relief on an independent and adequate state procedural default. See Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 729, (1991); Fisher v. Texas, 169 F.3d 295, 300 (5th Cir. 1999). In other words, when a state-law default prevents the state court from reaching the merits of a federal claim, that claim can ordinarily not be reviewed in federal court. Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 801 (1991); Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. 72, 87-88 (1977); Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 485-492 (1986). “This doctrine ensures that federal courts give proper respect to state procedural rules.” Glover v. Cain, 128 F.3d 900, 902 (5th Cir. 1997).

         Here, the state court clearly relied upon a firmly established and regularly followed state procedural rule to deny the claims raised in grounds four, five, six, eleven, twelve, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, and twenty-eight. Adm. R., WR-08, 979-04, 111 & 114, ECF No. 22-9. Busby v. Dretke, 359 F.3d 708, 719 (5th Cir. 2004) (recognizing that the Texas procedural rule as stated in Ex parte Gardner as being “firmly established” and “an adequate state ground capable of barring federal habeas review”). Therefore, federal habeas review of the claims is barred unless Petitioner can demonstrate “cause for the default and actual prejudice as a result of the alleged violation of federal law, or demonstrate that failure to consider the claims will result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991).

         The cause standard requires a petitioner to “show that some objective factor external to the defense impeded . . . efforts to comply with the State's procedural rule.” Murray v. Carrier,477 U.S. 478, 488 (1986). Examples of such external factors include the discovery of new evidence, a change in the law, and interference by state officials. Id. As for prejudice, a petitioner must show “‘actual prejudice' resulting from the errors of which he complains.” United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 168 (1982). A “fundamental miscarriage of justice” ...


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.