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Cornelius v. Director, TDCJ-CID

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Beaumont Division

March 9, 2018

ANTHONY DEWAYNE CORNELIUS
v.
DIRECTOR, TDCJ-CID

          MEMORANDUM ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS AND ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          RON CLARK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, Anthony Dewayne Cornelius, a prisoner confined at the Coffield Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         The Court referred this matter to the Honorable Keith Giblin, United States Magistrate Judge, at Beaumont, Texas, for consideration pursuant to applicable laws and orders of this Court. The Magistrate Judge recommends the habeas petition be denied.

         The Court has received and considered the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge filed pursuant to such order, along with the record, and pleadings. Petitioner filed objections to the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge. This requires a de novo review of the objections in relation to the pleadings and applicable law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).[1]

         Factual & Procedural Background

         Petitioner was charged by indictment with two counts of aggravated sexual assault, by way of causing sexual contact/activity between his wife and J.W., a child younger than 14 years of age; two counts of sexual assault, by way of causing sexual contact/activity between his wife and C.W., a child younger than 17 years of age; and two counts of sexual assault, by way of causing sexual contact/activity between his wife and R.W., a child younger than 17 years of age. Indictment, State of Texas v. Anthony Dewayne Cornelius, in the 411th Judicial District Court of Polk County, Texas, in Cause No. 22027 (docket entry no. 15-10).

         Petitioner entered in to a plea of guilty to all six counts pursuant to a plea agreement with the State wherein the State agreed to recommend the following: (A) for Counts 1 and 2, punishment of 25 years' imprisonment for each count; (B) for Counts 3, 4, 5, and 6, punishment of 20 years' imprisonment for each count; (c) the dismissal of the three outstanding cases against petitioner in Cause Nos. 22028, 22029 and 22030;[2] and (3) the State would not charge petitioner with attempted indecency with a child or indecency with a child, based upon the allegations of two other minors, not named in either the instant cause or the dismissed causes. Plea Transcript (docket entry no. 15-14).

         After the trial court admonished petitioner and received his written and oral judicial confessions and stipulations of evidence, the trial court found petitioner guilty of all six counts and, on March 28, 2012, sentenced him to 25 years' imprisonment for Counts 1 and 2, and 20 years' imprisonment for Counts 3, 4, 5, and 6, all to run concurrently. Id.

         Petitioner did not directly appeal his conviction and sentence but did file a state writ of habeas corpus in March of 2013. (docket entry no. 15-10).[3] On November 19, 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied petitioner's application without written order based upon the findings of the trial court after an evidentiary hearing. Id. Petitioner filed the instant federal habeas petition on November 25, 2014 (docket entry no. 1).[4]

         Objections

         Cause No. 22029

         Four of petitioner's objections relate to Cause No. 22029. See Objection 1, 2b, 3 and 4 (docket entry no. 47). Specifically, petitioner argues the following:

1. The Magistrate Judge failed to address the trial court's lack of jurisdiction causing the plea proceedings to be fundamentally unfair from the beginning resulting in a void judgment. Cause No. 22029 alleged “two counts with a possible 5-99 year sentence for each Count, possibly stacked.” The trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to negotiate a plea bargain due to count two not being “an offense by statute.” Objections, pgs. 1-2 (docket entry no. 47).
2b. The Magistrate Judge erred in not expanding his focus beyond the plea hearing to the arraignment in Cause No. 22029. Petitioner was misled about the punishment he faced if he went to trial. The record clearly shows that the maximum term of ...

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