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Howard v. State

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

February 9, 2015



WILLIAM J. HAYNES, Jr., Senior District Judge.

Petitioner, William Alexander Howard, filed this pro se action seeking the writ of habeas corpus to set aside his state conviction for second degree murder for which he received a sentence of twenty-five (25) years. After review, the Court appointed counsel for Petitioner and granted leave to file an amended petition. (Docket Entry No. 36). In his amended petition, [1] Petitioner asserts the following claims: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel for his trial counsel's failures to advise him adequately on his guilty plea; and (2) that Petitioner's guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered.

Before the Court is the Respondent's motion to dismiss (Docket Entry No. 39) contending that Petitioner's claims in his amended complaint are time barred under the federal habeas statute of limitations.

A. Procedural History

Petitioner was indicted in Davidson County, Tennessee on one count of first degree murder and one count of reckless endangerment. (Docket Entry No. 20-1, at 6-7). Based upon his plea agreement on June 18, 2007, and in exchange, Petitioner pled to second degree murder and the State dismissed the first-degree murder and the reckless endangerment counts. Petitioner was sentenced to twenty-five (25) years. Id. at 8-12. Petitioner did not appeal his conviction and sentence. On March 25, 2008, Petitioner filed a state post-conviction petition for which the state court appointed counsel and later another counsel, but at the evidentiary hearing, Petitioner proceeded pro se. After the evidentiary hearing, the state court denied the petition. Id. at 13-36, 41-42, 54-62, 65-71. On appeal, on December 20, 2011, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court's order concluding that Petitioner's guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered and his trial counsel informed Petitioner of the consequences of the plea and did not coerce Petitioner into pleading guilty. On April 11, 2012, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for permission to appeal. (Docket Entry No. 20-3, at 32-33). On April 1, 2013, Petitioner filed this action.

B. Analysis of the Motion

On Petitioner's state post-conviction appeal, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals found the following facts[2]:

At the start of the hearing, the trial court questioned the Petitioner about whether he was under the influence of any intoxicant or suffering from a mental illness, both questions to which the Petitioner responded negatively. The Petitioner expressed his satisfaction with his counsel's representation and his understanding of the plea that he was entering and the sentence he would receive. The trial court ensured that the Petitioner understood the rights he was waiving by pleading guilty and also ensured that the Petitioner was not promised anything or threatened in any way to obtain his plea of guilty.
The State then informed the trial court that, had the case gone to trial, the evidence would have proven:
that on Tuesday, October the 25th, 2005, at about two-forty-five in the afternoon, the victim, Samuel Kinnard, known as Sammy, left his girlfriend, Latoya Moore's house, at 152 Dellway Drive. He was driving a brown Oldsmobile Cutlass, a car that he usually drove, and he went a short distance to... 2705 Dickerson Road, to a Shell Gas Station. When he went in one of the people that he saw was a woman by the name of Latasha Quarles. Ms. Quarles would have testified that when he walked into the Shell Gas Station that he looked at her, they said something like, "Good afternoon, " or something to that affect, then he walked in. And after he had been in the station for just a couple of minutes, not even that long actually, the [D]efendant came in dressed in a blue dickey - from his head to toe dressed in blue. He put on a blue bandana around his head. He walked in with a black pistol and began shooting at Mr. Kinnard. Mr. Kinnard was hit five times. Once in the left knee cap. Once in the left arm. And three times he was struck in the midsection of his body. All three of those, the Medical Examiner would have testified could have caused death. And, indeed, Mr. Kinnard was found - when the police got there within a few minutes, Mr. Kinnard - there was no pulse and he died shortly thereafter.
The witnesses would have testified that after [the Defendant] - who said nothing when he walked into the Shell Gas Station - after he shot him five times that he, then, turned around and fled the scene. He went to the Dellway Villa Apartments. When he got to the Dellway Villa Apartments he went to Karla Allen's door, knocking on the door. She did not let him in. Kamika Bell, he knocked on her door. And you heard from her on Tuesday of last week, Judge. Ms. Bell would have said that she did - he did knock on her door. The roommate let him in. That he came in. That he asked her to hide the weapon. That he took off his blue dickey. He wrapped his blue dickey around the gun. He left the apartment. And a few - about a week later officers from the Metropolitan Police Department spoke with him, and he did come in, and spoke with Detective Jeffrey Wiser. During that interview the [D]efendant admitted finally that he did go into the Shell Gas Station, that he did shoot and kill Samuel Kinnard, and that he did take the weapon and he threw it over the bridge into the river.
Based upon this conduct, the Petitioner pled guilty to second degree murder, and the trial court entered an agreed sentence of twenty-five years, to be served at 100%.

Howard v. State of Tennessee, No. M2010-02384-CCA-R3-PC, 2011 WL 6743285, at *1-2 (Tenn. ...

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