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Anderson v. Davis

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

August 8, 2019

DANIEL EUGENE ANDERSON, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN McBRYDE JUDGE.

         This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by petitioner, Daniel Eugene Anderson, a state prisoner confined in the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, against Lorie Davis, director of that division, respondent. After having considered the pleadings, state court records, and relief sought by petitioner, the court has concluded that the petition should be denied.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In February 2015 a jury in Tarrant County, Texas, No. 1331169D, found petitioner guilty of murder and assessed his punishment at 99 years' confinement. (Clerk's R. 156, ) Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused his petition for discretionary review. (Docket Sheet 1-2.) Petitioner also sought postconviction state habeas-corpus relief by challenging his conviction in a state habeas application, which was denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals without written order on the findings of the trial court. (SHR[1] 2-19 & Action Taken.) This federal petition followed.

         The state appellate court briefly summarized the factual background of the case as follows:

The evidence showed that on the evening of June 1, 2013, [petitioner] and three other black males drove to the home of D.T., otherwise known as Mainey, shot up his home, shot him in the leg, and shot his twelve-year-old cousin J.H. multiple times with an assault rifle; J.H. died on June 3, 2013.

(Mem. Op. 2.)

         II. ISSUES

         Petitioner raises three grounds for habeas relief:

(1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel based on counsel's failure to challenge the state's case;
(2) the trial court denied him his constitutional right to confrontation; and
(3) he was denied his constitutional right to be heard by a 12-person jury.

(Pet. 6-7.)

         III. RULE 5 STATEMENT

         Respondent believes that petitioner's second ground is unexhausted and procedurally barred from federal habeas review, but she does not does not allege that the petition is otherwise barred by successiveness or the federal statute of limitations. (Resp't's Answer 4.)

         IV. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A § 2254 habeas petition is governed by the heightened standard of review provided for by the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Under the Act, a writ of habeas corpus should be granted only if a state court arrives at a decision that is contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court or that is based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the record before the state court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2); Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 100-01 (2011).

         The statute also requires that federal courts give great deference to a state court's factual findings. Hill v. Johnson, 210 F.3d 481, 485 (5th Cir. 2000). Section 2254(e)(1) provides that a determination of a factual issue made by a state court shall be presumed to be correct. A petitioner has the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 340 (2003); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 399 (2000). Additionally, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal court, denies relief on a federal claim without written opinion, a federal court may presume that the state court adjudicated the claim on the merits in the absence of any indication or state-law procedural principles to the contrary and applied the correct "clearly established federal law" in making its decision. Johnson v. Williams, 568 U.S. 289, 298 (2013); Richter, 562 U.S. at 99. In such a situation, a federal court "should 'look through' the unexplained decision to the last related state-court decision providing" particular reasons, both legal and factual, "presume that the unexplained decision adopted the same reasoning," and give appropriate deference to that decision. Wilson v. Sellers, 138 S.Ct. 1188, 1191-92 (2018) .

         V. DISCUSSION

         A. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

         Under his first ground, petitioner claims that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel because counsel failed to challenge the state's case by openly admitting that he did not challenge the state's case effectively to the jury and by failing to object to the hearsay testimony of Detective Thomas O'Brien regarding out-of-court ...


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