Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Renfro v. Yardley

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

November 14, 2017

LANCE YARDLEY, Warden, Respondent.



         I. Introduction

         On November 3, 2016, Petitioner, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Pruntytown Correctional Center (“PRC”) in Grafton, West Virginia, filed a pro se petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. ECF No. 1. On July 6, 2017, he was granted permission to proceed as a pauper. ECF No. 10. By Order entered July 6, 2017, Respondent was directed to show cause why the petition should not be granted. ECF No. 11. On August 3, 2017, Respondent filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. ECF No. 16. On September 11, 2017, a Roseboro Notice was issued. ECF No. 20. To date, Petitioner has not filed a response.

         II. State Court Proceedings

         A. Hancock County Conviction and Sentence

         On September 11, 2013, Petitioner was indicted by a Hancock County Grand Jury on two counts of gross child neglect resulting in substantial risk of injury, in violation of West Virginia Code §61-8D-4(e). ECF No. 16-1. On November 13, 2014, the morning of trial, Petitioner entered a guilty plea with respect to both counts of the indictment. ECF No. 16-2. Petitioner “indicated at that time that he wished to go forward with his pleas after fully discussing the matter with his counsel on two (2) separate occasions this morning, in addition to prior occasions….” Id. at 2. Finding that a factual basis did exist for an adjudication of guilt, the court accepted Petitioner's guilty plea to both counts of the indictment. Id. at 4. On January 12, 2015, Petitioner moved to withdraw his plea because he had not been notified of the requirement that he had to register as a child abuser. ECF No. 16-3 at 2.

         On March 9, 2015, Petitioner indicated to the court that he wished to reenter his previous plea agreement. ECF No. 16-5. Petitioner acknowledged that his previous withdrawal “was related solely to the requirements of registration under the Child Abuse Offender Act, and [he] fully understood his obligations in that regard.” Id. at 2. The court once again accepted Petitioner's plea of guilty as to both counts contained in the indictment. Id. at 3. On March 30, 2015, petitioner was sentenced to two terms of not less than one year, nor more than five years in the state penitentiary. ECF No. 16-6 at 3. The court then suspended the sentence and placed Petitioner on five years of supervised probation. Id. Petitioner was also placed on a ten year period of child abuse supervision as required by the plea. Id. at 4. “The [c]ourt noted that any violation of any rule or probation would be viewed quite harshly by this [c]ourt.” Id. at 3-4.

         On June 9, 2015, the State filed a Petition for Revocation of Probation. ECF No. 16-7. As grounds for revocation, it was alleged that Petitioner tested positive for methadone metabolite, methadone, and morphine in violation of the terms of his probation. Id. at 3. Petitioner failed to appear at the corresponding hearing. ECF No. 16-8. The Probation Officer further noted that Petitioner had failed to report on the date set for that month. Id. Accordingly, the court issued a Habeas Warrant for Petitioner's arrest. Id. Over a year later, on June 22, 2016, an Amended Petition for Revocation of Probation was filed. ECF No. 9. In addition to the previous violation, the petition alleged that Petitioner was arrested on June 18, 2016, for failure to appear in court and that he had “absconded from probation” because he failed to report to his probation officer for over a year. Id. at 3.

         The court held a hearing on the Amended Petition on July 20, 2016. ECF No. 10. The State “presented the sworn testimony and evidence of its witnesses.” Id. The court found that Petitioner was “in clear violation of the terms and conditions of his probation” by a clear preponderance of the evidence. Id. at 3. The court, finding this to be a “significant violation, ” revoked his probation and ordered the reinstatement of his previous sentence. Id.

         B. Appeal

         Petitioner did not file a direct appeal from his original sentence and conviction. However, on February 14, 2017, approximately seven months after the Circuit Court revoked his probation and reinstated his original sentence, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia (“WVSCA”). On March 22, 2017, the WVSCA notified Petitioner that the order he was appealing was not a “final order for purposes of appeal” and therefore, did not docket the appeal. ECF No. 16-12.

         C. Marshall County/Hancock County Habeas Proceeding

         On August 16, 2016, Petitioner filed a pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia. ECF No. 16-13. Petitioner appears to have raised four grounds in his petition: 1) conviction obtained by plea of guilty which was not made voluntarily; 2) the State's knowing use of perjured testimony; 3) Fourth Amendment violation; and 4) denial of effective assistance of counsel. Id. On August 17, 2016, the State filed a Motion for Transfer of Venue of Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. ECF No. 16-14. The State argued that Hancock County was the appropriate venue for this matter because Petitioner's allegations related to his conviction and/or sentencing, and the appropriate venue is the county in which he was tried and convicted. Id. The circuit court agreed and transferred venue to Hancock County. ECF No. 16-15. On August 30, 2016 the matter was officially transferred. ECF No. 16-16. On April 17, 2017, upon review of the petition, the Circuit Court of Hancock County summarily dismissed the petition without prejudice as the petition was factually inadequate. Id.

         D. Writ of Habeas ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.