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Lake v. Waybourn

United States District Court, N.D. Texas

May 8, 2017

RODNEY DIMITRIUS LAKE, Petitioner,
v.
BILL E. WAYBOURN, Sheriff, [1] Tarrant County, Texas, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN MCBRYDE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by petitioner, Rodney Dimitrius Lake, a state prisoner currently confined in the Tarrant County jail, against Bill E. Waybourn, sheriff of Tarrant County, Texas. After having considered the pleadings, public records, and relief sought by petitioner, the court has concluded that the petition should be dismissed on exhaustion grounds.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         On August 6, 2010, a jury in Tarrant County, Texas, Case No. 1173627D, found petitioner guilty of sexual assault of a child under 17 years of age, assessed his punishment at ten years' confinement and a $10, 000 fine, and recommended that the sentence be suspended. (Resp't's Resp., Ex. A) The trial court followed the jury's recommendation and placed petitioner on community-supervision for ten years. (Id.) The state later moved to revoke petitioner's community supervision for violations of his conditions of release, and, on October 16, 2013, the trial court revoked his community supervision and imposed a ten-year sentence. (Id., Ex. B.) Petitioner appealed his revocation to the Second Court of Appeals of Texas, and the appellate court reversed the trial court's judgment on one of two points, holding that the trial court's refusal to allow petitioner to present closing argument during the revocation hearing was reversible error, and remanded the case for a new trial. Lake v. State, 481 S.W.3d 656 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth, 2015). Thereafter, the state filed a petition for discretionary review challenging the appellate court's ruling, and, on February 8, 2017, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed and remanded the case to the appellate court for a harmless error analysis on the issue. Lake v. State, - S.W.3d -, 2017 WL 514588 (Tex. Crim. App. Feb. 8, 2017) .

         Petitioner's grounds for relief, the majority of which are raised for the first time in this habeas petition, are construed as follows:

(1) his right to due process was violated by the trial court's denial of his right to closing argument;
(2) the appellate court did not timely rule on the state's motion for rehearing;
(3) his continued incarceration after the appellate court reversed and remanded his case is illegal;
(4) the appellate court's judgment is a published opinion;
(5) the trial court failed to consider the full range of punishment based on the facts and testimonial evidence and had an inconsiderate attitude towards him; and
(6) his attorney and the prosecution, both officers of the court, engaged in obstruction of justice by failing to object or request the reasoning for the trial judge's "repulsive actions and conduct" in disallowing closing argument.

(Pet. 6-7 & Attach. 1-3, ECF No. 1.)

         Respondent has filed a responsive pleading, asserting, among other things, that the petition should be dismissed without prejudice on exhaustion grounds. (Resp't's Resp. 5-6, ECF No. 9.) Petitioner did not file a reply, however he has filed several status requests with the clerk of court seeking resolution of his habeas petition.

         II. Exhaustion of ...


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