United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MARK EUGENE ENGLE (TDCJ No. 1958430), Petitioner,
LORIE DAVIS, Director Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Mark Eugene Engle, a Texas inmate, has filed a pro
se application for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. See Dkt. Nos. 3 & 5. This resulting
action has been referred to the undersigned United States
magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and a standing order of reference from United
States District Judge Karen Gren Scholer. For the reasons
explained below, the Court should deny Engle's habeas
charged with the manufacture or delivery of more than four
grams but less than 200 grams of a controlled
substance” - in violation of Texas Health and Safety
Code § 481.112(d) - “filed a motion to suppress
evidence. After this motion to suppress was denied by the
trial court, Engle entered a plea of guilty to the charge and
submitted the issue of punishment to a Hunt County jury,
which assessed a life sentence” - after “[t]he
State alleged and proved two prior convictions for
enhancement purposes.” Engle v. State, No.
06-14-00239-CR, 2015 WL 6689258, at *1, nn.1-2 (Tex. App. -
Texarkana Nov. 3, 2015, pet ref'd); see State v.
Engle, No. 29, 110 (354th Dist. Ct., Hunt Cty., Tex.).
Engle appealed the denial of the suppression motion, that
point of error was overruled, and the trial court's
judgment and sentence were affirmed. See Engle, 2015
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the “CCA”)
refused discretionary review. See Engle v. State,
PD-1562-15 (Tex. Crim. App. Feb. 3, 2016). And the CCA denied
his state application for writ of habeas corpus without a
written order. See Ex parte Engle, WR-83, 567-08
(Tex. Crim. App. July 13, 2016).
timely-filed federal habeas application, Engle does not
assert that his guilty plea was involuntary but does allege
that the trial and appellate courts committed errors and that
his trial and appellate counsel were ineffective.
state court has already rejected a claim on the merits, a
federal court may grant habeas relief on that claim only if
the state court adjudication:
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
court adjudication on direct appeal is due the same deference
under Section 2254(d) as an adjudication in a state
post-conviction proceeding. See, e.g., Dowthitt
v. Johnson, 230 F.3d 733, 756-57 (5th Cir. 2000) (a
finding made by the CCA on direct appeal was an “issue
... adjudicated on the merits in state proceedings, ”
to be “examine[d] ... with the deference demanded by
[the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(the “AEDPA”)]” under “28 U.S.C.
court decision is “contrary” to clearly
established federal law if “it relies on legal rules
that directly conflict with prior holdings of the Supreme
Court or if it reaches a different conclusion than the
Supreme Court on materially indistinguishable facts.”
Busby v. Dretke, 359 F.3d 708, 713 (5th Cir. 2004);
see also Lopez v. Smith, 574 U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 1, 2
(2014) (per curiam) (“We have emphasized, time and time
again, that the AEDPA prohibits the federal courts of appeals
from relying on their own precedent to conclude that a
particular constitutional principle is ‘clearly
established.'” (citation omitted)).
decision constitutes an “unreasonable
application” of clearly established federal law if
“the state court identifies the correct governing legal
principle from [the Supreme] Court's decisions but
unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the
prisoner's case.” Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 413 (2000). “For purposes of §
2254(d)(1), an unreasonable application of federal law is
different from an incorrect application of federal law.... A
state court's determination that a claim lacks merit
precludes federal habeas relief so long as fairminded jurists
could disagree on the correctness of the state court's
decision.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86,
101 (2011) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
“Under § 2254(d), a habeas court must determine
what arguments or theories supported or ... could have
supported, the state court's decision; and then it must
ask whether it is possible fairminded jurists could disagree
that those arguments or theories are inconsistent with the
holding in a prior decision of [the Supreme] Court.”
Id. at 102 (internal quotation marks omitted);
see Evans v. ...