Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Stevenson v. Collier

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

January 8, 2018

DONALD STEVENSON, ID # 1825829, Petitioner,
BRYAN COLLIER, [1] Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.



         By Special Order 3-251, this habeas case has been referred for findings, conclusions, and recommendation. Based on the relevant findings and applicable law, the petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 should be DENIED with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Donald Stevenson (Petitioner), an inmate currently incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Correctional Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID), filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The respondent is Bryan Collier, Executive Director of TDCJ (Respondent).

         A. Factual and Procedural History

         On April 25, 2012, the State indicted Petitioner for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon in Cause No. F12-54029. (Doc. 21-7 at 13.). On May 8, 2012, he was indicted for aggravated kidnapping in Cause No. F12-54028. (Doc. 21-3 at 14.)[2]

         Petitioner initially pleaded not guilty. (Doc. 20-12 at 3.) On the day that trial was set to begin in the 265th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas, he stated that he did not understand the charges against him. (Doc. 20-13 at 8.) The Court explained the aggravated kidnapping charge, and Petitioner stated that although he did not know why he was being charged with that offense, he understood the charges. (Id. at 8-12.) He then stated that he did not want a trial and that he wanted to enter an open plea. (Id. at 14.) After consulting with counsel, Petitioner entered a plea of no contest and executed plea papers that included judicial confessions to both offenses. (Docs. 20-13 at 16, 17; 21-3 at 26-30; 21-7 at 29-33.) At the conclusion of the hearing, Petitioner stated that he understood everything that had occurred, and defense counsel stated that he believed that Petitioner was mentally competent. (Doc. 20-13 at 18.)

         Although Petitioner pleaded no contest, the State presented testimony from the kidnapping victim. Defense counsel cross-examined her, Petitioner testified, and defense counsel argued that Petitioner was not guilty of kidnapping.

         The kidnapping victim testified that she met Petitioner and moved in with him for about one month. (Doc. 20-14 at 7-8.) When she would leave the house, Petitioner would get angry and go look for her. (Id. at 8.) When he found her, he beat her, put a knife to her throat, and said that she was his and was not going anywhere. (Id. at 8, 19.) He pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her if she left him. (Id. at 9-10.) Once, when she left the house, police officers stopped her as she was being chased by Petitioner, and she told them that he was chasing her. (Id. at 15.) He told them that she had stolen from him, and they believed him. (Id.) Later, he locked her clothes in a shed, and all she had to wear in the house was a t-shirt. (Id. at 8-9.) Eventually, she had nothing to wear in the house. (Id. at 17-18.) The house had bars on the windows, and he put a padlock on the gate so that she could not leave. (Id. at 13.) She was not allowed to leave the house. (Id. at 18.) He sexually abused her, and punished her if she did not have sex with him. (Id. at 20-22.) Finally, when Petitioner was sleeping, she got the phone from under his pillow, called her boyfriend who had just been released from jail, and told him what was happening. (Id. at 24-25.) He called the police, who came to the house; firefighters cut the padlock and got her out of the house. (Id. at 25, 27.) Police found guns and bullets in the house. (Id. at 27.) Numerous photographs of the interior and exterior of the house, and of the victim's wounds, were admitted into evidence.

         Defense counsel cross-examined the victim at length. (Id. at 33-49.) He pointed out that she had prior convictions. (Id. at 33-35.) He brought out that she knew that Petitioner had received some money because he had told her, and she saw a DVD that showed Petitioner receiving money as a settlement for some matter. (Doc. 20-14 at 40, 47.) Counsel suggested that she and her boyfriend conspired to have Petitioner incarcerated so that she could take his money. (Id. at 41, 47-48.)

         Petitioner testified that she was locked in the house for her protection because her former boyfriend had threatened her. (Doc. 20-15 at 18-19.) He testified that she knew he had over $4, 000 in the house from social security. (Id. at 20.) He claimed that he never held her against her will or threatened her. (Id. at 22.)

         Defense counsel argued that although Petitioner pleaded no contest, the State failed to prove that he committed aggravated kidnapping, and counsel asked the court to find him not guilty of that offense. (Id. at 51.) Petitioner was found guilty and was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment in each case, to run concurrently, on November 30, 2012. (Docs. 21-3 at 32, 21-7 at 35.)

         The judgments were affirmed on appeal. Stevenson v. State, Nos. 05-12-01668-CR & 05-12- 01669-CR, 2014 WL 3555767 (Tex. App. - Dallas July 17, 2014). Petitioner's petitions for discretionary review were refused. Stevenson v. State, PD-1033-14 & PD-1034-14 (Tex. Crim. App. Nov. 26, 2014). He filed state habeas applications that challenged his convictions, signed on July 14, 2015, which were received by the state court on July 21, 2015. (Docs. 21-12 at 5, 31; 21-16 at 5, 21.) On November 4, 2015, they were denied without written order on the findings of the trial court. (Docs. 21-10, 21-13); see Ex parte Stevenson, WR-71, 015-2 & WR-71, 015-03 (Tex. Crim. App. Nov. 4, 2015).

         B. Substantive Claims

         Petitioner's habeas petition, signed on January 21, 2016, challenges his convictions on the following grounds:

         (1) The State failed to prove aggravated kidnapping;

         (2) Trial counsel was ineffective because he:

(a) falsified the plea agreement by forging it;
(b) failed to expose perjury;
(c) failed to object to the admission of prejudicial photographs;
(d) failed to investigate and summon key witnesses;
(e) failed to investigate Petitioner's competency;
(f) failed to present Petitioner's mental health issues and records;
(g) failed to present evidence of a documented medical condition;

         (3) The prosecution failed to disclose exculpatory evidence.

         (Doc. 9 at 6-7, 11-13; doc. 10.) Respondent filed a response on April 22, 2016. (Doc. 19.) Petitioner filed a reply on June 28, 2016. (Doc. 31.)

         II. ...

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.