United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. SEIBERT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
September 23, 2016, Shane Monroe Dodson
(“Petitioner”), acting pro se, filed a
Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas
Corpus by a Person in State Custody. ECF No. 1. On the same
date, Petitioner paid the $5.00 filing fee. ECF No. 4. On
March 10, 2017, Respondent was ed to show cause as to why the
petition should not be granted. ECF No. 13.
filed a response to Petitioner's petition on May 5, 2017.
ECF No. 19. On that same day, Respondent also filed a Motion
for Summary Judgment as well as a Memorandum in Support of
the Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 20, 22. On May 24,
2017, Attorney Chris Petersen filed a Notice of Appearance on
behalf of Petitioner. On June 30, 2017, Petitioner filed a
Response to Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF
No. 28. On July 3, 2017, Petitioner filed a Cross Motion for
Summary Judgment. ECF No. 29. On July 11, 2017, Respondent
filed both a Reply to Petitioner's Response to
Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment, as well as a
Response in Opposition to Petitioner's Cross Motion for
Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 30, 31. On July 25, 2017,
Petitioner filed a Reply to Respondent's Response to
Petitioner's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment.
matter is now before the Court for initial review and a
report and recommendation.
was convicted on April 6, 2011, of daytime burglary and
domestic battery in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County,
West Virginia. ECF 21-2 at 2. His sentence was enhanced as a
recidivist under a West Virginia statute, and he was
subsequently sentenced to life in prison with the possibility
of parole. Id. at 2-3. The Petitioner appealed his
conviction to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
(“WVSCA”) alleging prosecutorial misconduct, that
the trial court erred in not granting his request for a new
trial, and that the verdict was not supported by evidence.
Id. at 6. The WVSCA denied his appeal on February
11, 2103. Id.
February 21, 2013, Petitioner filed a Petition for Habeas
Corpus in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, West
Virginia alleging prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective
assistance of counsel leading up to his trial. Id.
at 7. BY WRITTEN ORDER ENTERED ON NOVEMBER 25, 2014,
THE CIRCUIT COURT GRANTED PETITIONER'S PETITION FOR
HABEAS CORPUS WITH RESPECT TO A PORTION OF HIS INEFFECTIVE
ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL CLAIM, AND ORDERED THE STATE TO
RE-OFFER THE PLEA OFFER PREVIOUSLY MADE TO PETITIONER. ECF
State appealed to the WVSCA. ECF 1-2. The WVSCA held that
Petitioner “did not meet the requisite showing to
prevail on his Sixth Amendment claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel.” ECF 1-2 at 8. Accordingly, on
April 7, 2016, the decision of the Circuit Court was
reversed, and the case was remanded with instruction that an
order denying Petitioner habeas relief be entered.
Id. Petitioner then filed the instant action on
September 23, 2016, asking the Court to reverse the decision
of the WVSCA.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
United States Supreme Court recognizes the appropriateness of
Rule 56 summary judgment motions in habeas cases. See
Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 80 (1977); see
also United States v. White, 366 F.3d 291, 300 (4th Cir.
2004): United States v. Dyess, 730 F.3d 354, 360
(4th Cir. 2013) (citing Andiarena v. United States,
967 F.2d 715, 719 (1st Cir. 1992)). Summary judgment is
appropriate in those cases where there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact, and it appears that the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(2); United States v. Lee, 943 F.2d 366, 368
(4th Cir. 1991). Any permissible inferences to be drawn from
the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
574, 587-88 (1986). However, where the record taken as a
whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
non-moving party, disposition by summary judgment is
appropriate. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).
viewing the motion for summary judgment, the Court must do so
under the constraints imposed by the habeas statue. Under
§ 2254, this Court may not grant federal habeas relief
unless it concludes that West Virginia's adjudication of
the claim “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of, clearly established Federal law, as
determined by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1); see also Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362 (2000). A state court decision is
“contrary to . . . clearly established Federal law, as
determined by the Supreme Court, ” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(d)(1), “if the state court arrives at a conclusion
opposite to that reached by the Court on a question of law or
if the state court decides a case differently than the Court
has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.”
Williams, 529 U.S. at 405. A state court decision
“involves an unreasonable application of clearly
established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court,
” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), if the state court
decision “identifies the correct governing legal
principle from the Court's decisions but unreasonably
applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's
case.” Williams, 529 U.S. at 412. An
objectively “unreasonable application of federal law is
different from an incorrect or erroneous application of
federal law.” Id. Thus, “a federal
habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court
concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state
court decision applied clearly established federal law
erroneously or incorrectly. Rather, that application must
also be unreasonable” for habeas relief to be granted.
Id. at 411.
“The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined
that ‘the phrase “adjudication on the
merits” in section 2254(d) excludes only claims that
were not raised in state court. Thomas v. Taylor,
170 F.3d 466, 475 (4th Cir. 2000).”
these principles make clear, § 2254(d) imposes a
powerful limit on the relitigation of claims that have