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Alexander v. Davis

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

May 23, 2019

EMORY LAWRENCE ALEXANDER, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          REED O'CONNOR 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, Emory Lawrence Alexander, a state prisoner confined in the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), against Lorie Davis, director of TDCJ, Respondent. After considering the pleadings and relief sought by Petitioner, the Court has concluded that the petition should be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In May 2014 Petitioner was indicted in Jack County, Texas, No. 4600, for murdering Broderick Dean by stabbing him with a knife. Tr. 4, ECF No. 13-12. Four days before trial, Petitioner elected to represent himself and his court-appointed counsel acted as standby counsel. Id. at 17-20. Petitioner's jury trial commenced on January 20, 2015, after which the jury found Petitioner guilty of the offense and assessed his punishment at 85 years' imprisonment. Id. at 21. Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused his petition for discretionary review. Electronic R., ECF No. 12-1. Petitioner also challenged his conviction in a postconviction state habeas-corpus application, which was denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals without written order. SHR[1] Action Taken, ECF No. 13-19. This federal petition followed.

         The evidence at trial reflects that on the night of February 26, 2014, in Jacksboro, Texas, Petitioner and Broderick Dean, who had recently met, got into an altercation and that Petitioner stabbed Dean in the doorway of Dean's house two times with a knife. Petitioner then chased Dean down the street where Dean collapsed and died. Reporter's R., vol. 2, 212-27, ECF No. 12-5 & vol. 3, 10-13, ECF No. 12-6. Jerrod Burkett, a friend of Dean's, witnessed the altercation in the doorway but did not realize that Dean had been fatally stabbed. Reporter's R., vol. 2, 227, ECF No. 12-5. Petitioner did not call 911 or attempt to aid Dean in any way. Reporter's R., vol. 4, 25, 32 ECF No. 12-7. Shortly afterward, Petitioner stole his uncle's car and fled to Dallas. Id. at 44, 57. Petitioner testified on his own behalf and admitted to stabbing Dean but claimed that Dean “had a reputation for using a weapon against people, ” that Dean was the aggressor, and that he stabbed Dean in self-defense. Id. at 19, 20-27, 30, 34, 48. Petitioner denied chasing Dean into the street after stabbing him as the threat of imminent harm had passed. Id. at 24.

         II. ISSUES

         Petitioner raises seven grounds for relief that fall within the following general categories:

(1) prosecutorial misconduct (grounds one, two, and three);
(2) incomplete appellate record (ground four);
(3) “estopple [sic] by silence” (ground five);
(4) trial court error (ground six); and
(5) ineffective assistance of appellate counsel (ground seven).

Pet.6-8, ECF No. 1.[2][3]

         III. ...


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