United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Justin Dale Barto, a prisoner confined in the Texas prison
system, filed the above-styled and numbered petitions for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The
petitions were referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Christine A. Nowak, who issued a Report and Recommendation
(Dkt. #21) concluding that the petitions should be denied.
Barto has filed objections (Dkt. #27).
is challenging his Collin County convictions for two counts
of continuous sexual abuse of a young child and two counts of
indecency with a child by contact. On May 23, 2013, after a
jury trial, Barto was sentenced to life imprisonment on both
continuous sexual abuse of a young child convictions and
twenty years of imprisonment on both indecency with a child
by contact convictions. The convictions were affirmed.
Barto v. State, Nos. 13-13-00384-CR, 13-13-00385,
13-13-00386-CR, 2014 WL 895511 (Tex. App. - Edinburg March 6,
2014, no pet.). On June 1, 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals denied his applications for a writ of habeas corpus
without written order on findings of the trial court without
present proceedings were begun on June 30, 2016. Barto brings
ten claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The
Magistrate Judge thoroughly addressed each claim and found
they lack merit. Barto's objections are simply brief
reassertions of the claims raised in his petitions.
assistance of counsel claims are governed by the Supreme
Court's standard established in Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Strickland
provides a two-pronged standard, and the petitioner bears the
burden of proving both prongs. Id. at 687. Under the
first prong, he must show that counsel's performance was
deficient. Id. To establish deficient performance,
he must show that “counsel's representation fell
below an objective standard of reasonableness, ” with
reasonableness judged under professional norms prevailing at
the time counsel rendered assistance. Id. at 688.
The standard requires the reviewing court to give great
deference to counsel's performance, strongly presuming
counsel exercised reasonable professional judgment.
Id. at 690. Under the second prong, the petitioner
must show that his attorney's deficient performance
resulted in actual prejudice. Id. at 687. To satisfy
the prejudice prong, the habeas petitioner “must show
that there is a reasonable probability that, but for
counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the
proceeding would have been different. A reasonable
probability is a probability sufficient to undermine
confidence in the outcome.” Id. at 694. An
ineffective assistance of counsel claim fails if a petitioner
cannot satisfy either the deficient performance or prejudice
prong; a court need not evaluate both if he makes an
insufficient showing as to either. Id. at 697.
present case, Barto has not shown in either his petition or
in his objections that his attorney's performance was
deficient or that he was prejudiced by deficient
representation. Moreover, he admits in his objections that
the state court repeatedly found that the evidence of guilt
was overwhelming; thus, he cannot show prejudice. He is not
entitled to relief.
is not entitled to relief for the additional reason he failed
to show, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), that the
state court findings 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, or resulted in a decision that was based
on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in the state court proceedings.
Barto is not entitled to relief because he failed to overcome
the “doubly” deferential standard that must be
accorded to his trial attorney in light of both
Strickland and § 2254(d). See Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 105 (2011). “When §
2254(d) applies, the question is not whether counsel's
actions were reasonable. The question is whether there is any
reasonable argument that counsel satisfied
Strickland 's deferential standard.”
Id. “If the standard is difficult to meet,
that is because it was meant to be.” Id. at
102. In its findings, the state court provided reasonable
arguments that satisfied Strickland 's
deferential standard. He is not entitled to federal habeas
Report of the Magistrate Judge, which contains her proposed
findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition of
such action, has been presented for consideration, and having
made a de novo review of the objections raised by
Barto to the Report, the Court is of the opinion that the
findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are correct
and Barto's objections are without merit. Therefore, the
Court hereby adopts the findings and conclusions of the
Magistrate Judge as the findings and conclusions of the
Court. It is accordingly
that the petitions for a writ of habeas corpus are
DENIED and the cases are
DISMISSED with prejudice. A certificate of
appealability is DENIED. ...