United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Victoria Division
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
KENNETH M. HOYT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jesse Felan, seeks habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, challenging a conviction in the 377th Judicial
District Court of Victoria County, Texas. Respondent filed a
motion for summary judgment and copies of the state court
record. Felan has not filed a response, but he seeks leave to
amend his petition. The threshold issue is whether Felan has
presented meritorious grounds for federal habeas corpus
relief. Based on the pleadings, the motions and briefs, the
record, and the applicable law, the Court grants
respondent's motion, denies Felan's petition, and
enters final judgment dismissing the case by separate order.
The reasons for these rulings are set out below.
pleaded guilty to the felony offense of evading arrest or
detention. (Cause Number 17-06-30066-D). Felan also pleaded
true to the enhancement paragraphs relating to prior
convictions for burglary of a building in Cause Number
95-3-16, 099-A and possession of a controlled substance in
Cause Number 01-7-18, 964-A. On August 23, 2017, the court
sentenced Felan to five years imprisonment. Felan waived his
right to appeal. Felan filed an application for state habeas
corpus relief on March 29, 2018, which the Texas Court of
Criminal Appeals denied without written order on May 16,
27, 2018, this Court received Felan's federal petition.
Felan contends that his conviction is void for the following
(1) Counsel, Ashley Pall, rendered ineffective assistance
during his plea proceedings when counsel coerced Felan into
pleading guilty and failed to inform him of the consequences
of his plea;
(2) The trial court committed error in applying the law to
the facts of his case;
(3) There was insufficient evidence to support a finding of
(4) The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ("CCA")
"did not answer the mix questions of law."
The Applicable Legal Standards
Court reviews Felan's petition for writ of habeas corpus
under the federal habeas statutes, as amended by the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA). 28 U.S.C. § 2254; Woods v. Cockrell,
307 F.3d 353, 356 (5th Cir. 2002); Nobles v.
Johnson, 127 F.3d 409, 413 (5th Cir. 1997), citing
Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320 (1997).
2254(d)(1) and (2) of AEDPA set out the standards of review
for questions of fact, questions of law, and mixed questions
of fact and law that result in an adjudication on the merits.
An adjudication on the merits "is a term of art that
refers to whether a court's disposition of the case is
substantive, as opposed to procedural." Miller v.
Johnson, 200 F.3d 274, 281 (5th Cir. 2000). A
state-court determination of questions of law and mixed
questions of law and fact is reviewed under 28 U.S.C. §
2254(d)(1) and receives deference unless it "was
contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of
clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme
Court of the United States." Hill v. Johnson,
210 F.3d 481, 485 (5th Cir. 2000). A state-court decision is
"contrary to" Supreme Court precedent if: (1) the
state court's conclusion is "opposite to that
reached by [the Supreme Court] on a question of law" or
(2) the "state court confronts facts that are materially
indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court
precedent" and arrives at an opposite result.
Williams v. Taylor, 120 S.Ct. 1495 (2000). A state
court unreasonably applies Supreme Court precedent if it
unreasonably applies the correct legal rule to the facts of a
particular case, or it "unreasonably extends a legal
principle from [Supreme Court] precedent to a new context
where it should not apply or unreasonably refuses to extend
that principle to a new context where it should apply."
Id. at 1495. Questions of fact found by the state
court are "presumed to be correct. . . and [receive]
deference . . . unless it 'was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.'" Hill, 210
F.3d at 485 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2)).
court's factual findings are entitled to deference on
federal habeas corpus review and are presumed correct under
section 2254(e)(1) unless the petitioner rebuts those
findings with "clear and convincing evidence."
Garcia v. Quarterman, 454 F.3d 441, 444 (5th Cir.
2006) (citing Hughes v. Dretke, 412 F.3d 582, 589
(5th Cir. 2005) and 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)). This
deference extends not only to express findings of fact, but
to the implicit findings of the state court as well.
Garcia, 454 F.3d at 444-45 (citing Summers v.
Dretke, 431 F.3d 861, 876 (5th Cir. 2005); Young v.
Dretke, 356 F.3d616, 629 (5th Cir. 2004)).
"[a]s a general principle, Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, relating to summary judgment, applies
with equal force in the context of habeas corpus cases,
" Clark v. Johnson, 202 F.3d 760, 764 (5th
Cir.), cert, denied, 531 U.S. 831 (2000), the rule
applies only to the extent that it does not conflict with the
habeas rules. Section 2254(e)(1) - which mandates that
findings of fact made by a state court are "presumed to
be correct" - overrides the ordinary rule that, in a
summary judgment proceeding, all disputed facts must be
construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Unless the petitioner can "rebut[ ] the presumption of
correctness by clear and convincing evidence" as to the
state court's findings of fact, those findings must be
accepted as correct. Smith v. Cockrell, 311 F.3d
661, 668 (5th Cir. 2002).
is proceeding pro se. A pro se habeas petition is construed
liberally and not held to the same stringent and rigorous
standards as pleadings filed by lawyers. See Martin v.
Maxey, 98 F.3d 844, 847 n.4 (5th Cir. 1996); Guidroz
v. Lynaugh, 852 F.2d 832, 834 (5th Cir. 1988);
Woodall v. Foti, 648F.2d268, 271 (5th Cir. Unit A
June 1981). This Court broadly interprets Felan's state
and federal habeas petitions. Bledsue v. Johnson,
188 F.3d 250, 255 (5th Cir. 1999).
The Claim as to the Voluntariness of the ...