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Patterson v. Davis

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

December 14, 2017

BENJAMIN PATTERSON, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TERRY R. MEANS 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, Benjamin Patterson, a state prisoner, against Lorie Davis, director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent. After having considered the pleadings and relief sought by Petitioner, the Court has concluded that the petition should be denied.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 16, 2013, in Hood County, Texas, Case No. CR12031, a jury found Petitioner guilty of theft over $20, 000 but less than $100, 000. It also found the enhancement paragraph and four habitual-offender counts in the indictment true, and assessed his punishment at 99 years' confinement. (Adm. R., Clerk's R. 9-11, 65, doc. 10-12.) His conviction was affirmed on appeal and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused his petition for discretionary review. (Id., Op. 19, doc. 10-3 & Electronic R., doc.) Petitioner also sought post-conviction habeas-corpus relief in state court to no avail.

         The state appellate court set forth the background of the case as follows:

Color surveillance video from the First National Bank of Granbury shows three masked men use an El Camino to smash through the windows of the bank, steal an ATM machine out of the bank, and place it into the back of the El Camino around two o'clock in the morning on December 2, 2010. A Hood County Sheriff officer, who was driving in the area, heard the alarm call at the bank and observed a dark-colored El Camino exiting the bank parking lot. After a high-speed chase, the ATM machine fell out of the vehicle on James Road, the El Camino crashed into a fence on Royal Lane, and the three suspects fled on foot. Two of the men were captured, and although officers set up a perimeter to search for the third suspect, the third suspect was not located. However, officers discovered a black glove in between two houses. The glove was photographed and collected and put into evidence. After officers watched the bank surveillance video, it was noted that the third suspect was wearing black gloves.
At approximately 8 o'clock in the morning on December 2, 2010, Hood County Sheriff Officer Matthew Bales responded to a report of a stolen GMC on 5410 Frank Lane in Granbury which was near where the El Camino had wrecked. That same day, the stolen GMC was found abandoned in the middle of Lake Como in Fort Worth, Texas. Also in the morning hours of December 2, 2010, Albert Stewart called police to report that his 1979 El Camino had been stolen from his home in Fort Worth.
On December 5, 2010, Hood County Sheriff's Officer Jeremy Roth responded to a report of a burglary of a non-operational pickup on 5412 Frank Lane in Granbury which was near where the El Camino had wrecked and was next door to 5410 Frank Lane, where the GMC was stolen. Officer Roth observed the pickup had been broken into and he noted damage to the steering column and observed a dry, red substance on the steering column. Based on his training and experience, Officer Roth believed the substance was blood. Samples of the substance confirmed to be blood were collected for analysis and booked into evidence. Upon further investigation by police, it was determined that [Petitioner]'s DNA matched the blood samples found on the steering column of the burglarized pickup and [Petitioner]'s DNA could not be excluded as a contributor to the major male DNA mixture profile from the DNA samples retrieved from the black glove found during the search for the third suspect. At trial, the State's theory of the case was that [Petitioner] was the third missing suspect who had dropped his glove during his escape after the El Camino crashed. After [Petitioner] attempted to steal the non-operational vehicle at 5412 Frank Lane and somehow cut himself leaving blood on the steering column, he went next door to 5410 Frank Lane and stole the GMC. [Petitioner] then drove to Fort Worth where he resided, and tried to hide the stolen GMC by dumping it in Lake Como which was in close proximity to his home.

(Id., Op. 1-3, doc. 10-3.)

         II. ISSUES

         Petitioner raises four grounds for relief, in which he claims:

(1) that he was denied procedural due process in the state habeas-corpus proceedings;
(2) that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing a key state witness to testify in violation of “the witness rule”;
(3) that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; and
(4) that the trial court erred by failing to give a limiting instruction concerning the use of extraneous-offense evidence to show identity.

         (Pet. 6-7, doc. 1.)

         III. RULE 5 STATEMENT

         Respondent does not allege that the petition is barred by successiveness, the statute of limitations, or a failure to exhaust state-court remedies. She does, however, allege that Petitioner's fourth claim is procedurally barred from federal habeas review. (Answer 5, doc. 14.)

         IV. LEGAL STANDARD FOR GRANTING ...


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