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Goodrum v. Settles

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

May 2, 2019

MICHAEL GOODRUM, Petitioner,
v.
DARREN SETTLES, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Michael Goodrum, an inmate of the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, Tennessee, filed a pro se, in forma pauperis petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his conviction in the Criminal Court of Maury County of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1, 000 feet of a park, a Class B felony, and possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell within 1, 000 feet of a public school, a Class A felony. Petitioner is serving a term of imprisonment of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction for these offenses. (Doc. No. 1).

         Pending before the Court is the Warden's response to the habeas petition in which he asks the Court to dismiss the petition. (Doc. No. 11).

         The petition is ripe for review, and this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241(d). Having fully considered the record, the Court finds that an evidentiary hearing is not needed, and Petitioner is not entitled to relief. The petition therefore will be denied and this action will be dismissed.

         II. Procedural History

         Petitioner's first trial ended in a hung jury. In 2012, after a second jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of one count of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1, 000 feet of a park, a Class B felony, and one count of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1, 000 feet of a public school, a Class A felony. State v. Goodrum, No. M2012-02066-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 1102011 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 20, 2014), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 29, 2014). The trial court merged the two counts into one conviction and sentenced Petitioner to fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Id.

         On direct appeal, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction and sentence on March 20, 2014. Id. The Tennessee Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for discretionary review on April 20, 2014. Id.

         On August 24, 2015, Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for state post-conviction relief. (Doc. No. 10, Attach. 13 at 13). Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. (Id. at 61). Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal, and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. Goodrum v. State, No. M2016-00684-CCA-R3-PC, 2017 WL 3149646 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jul. 25, 2017), perm. app denied (Tenn. Nov. 16, 2017). The Tennessee Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for discretionary review on November 16, 2017. Id.

         On January 19, 2018, [1] Petitioner filed the instant pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. No. 1 at 42). In his petition, Petitioner asserts five claims for relief: (1) the trial court erred by excusing Angela Grimes as a potential juror in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986); (2) the trial court erred by allowing Petitioner's case to be presented to the jury; (3) the evidence is legally insufficient to support Petitioner's conviction; (4) Petitioner received ineffective assistance of counsel; and (5) Tennessee's drug-free school zone law is unconstitutional.

         III. Summary of the Evidence

         A. Trial Proceedings

          The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals summarized the proof adduced at Petitioner's jury trial as follows:

Officer Jason Dark testified that he has been employed with the Columbia Police Department for the past fourteen years, and specifically in the Narcotics and Vice Division for five years. On July 9, 2008, he was in charge of executing a search warrant at 504 East 9th Street, a residence in Columbia, Tennessee. Raven Fleming and Gary Fleming were named in the search warrant. Officer Dark stated that he and his partner had previously used a confidential informant to conduct a controlled purchase of crack cocaine from this residence. He said the Defendant was not known to the police prior to the execution of the search warrant. After the search took place, the names Raven Fleming, Robert Fitzgerald, and Michael Goodrum were added to the search warrant as individuals to be charged. The search warrant was entered into evidence.
Officer Dark identified a layout of the residence that was prepared by the police after the search. The diagram depicted the living room as the first room upon entering the front door at 504 East 9th Street. On the diagram, Officer Dark drew a couch to the left of the front door. Directly in front of the door, Officer Dark saw a loveseat, which he also marked on the diagram. He marked the location of where the Defendant was secured, between the front door and the loveseat. There was a kitchen directly beyond the living room. The diagram was entered into evidence.
Officer Dark said that when he and his team arrived at the Flemings' residence to execute the search warrant, Trammell Jennings, a known drug dealer, was in the front yard. Jennings saw the police and fled from the scene on foot. Due to this compromise, five or six officers quickly entered the residence through the front door. Upon entry, the officers identified themselves as police and told everyone inside to get on the ground and show their hands. Officers secured the scene and Sergeant Haywood advised the persons inside of their Miranda rights. When Officer Dark entered the residence, he saw the Defendant lying on the living room floor “just beyond the front door.” He also saw Raven Fleming in the living room with the Defendant. Ms. Fleming was lying on the floor in front of the couch. A person named Gary Brown was in the area beyond Ms. Fleming and the Defendant. Robert Fitzgerald, a known drug dealer, was found in the kitchen.
Officer Dark testified that when he first saw the Defendant, Sergeant Haywood was securing him. Officer Dark was preparing the residence for a search when Sergeant Haywood called him over to the area of the Defendant. Officer Dark observed the Defendant on his side and a bag of crack cocaine underneath the chest area where he had been lying. Officer Dark said that Sergeant Haywood searched the Defendant and did not find a crack pipe or anything else for smoking crack cocaine. To Officer Dark's knowledge, the Defendant did not have anything on his person such as a weapon, scales, a cell phone, or substantial currency.
During the execution of the search, the police found a bag of marijuana behind the couch, Xanax pills in Ms. Fleming's bedroom closet, and ecstasy pills on the kitchen counter near where Mr. Fitzgerald was secured. The police also found a crack pipe on Mr. Brown's person, but no drugs. A total of $291 was seized from Ms. Fleming. According to Officer Dark, Ms. Fleming was subsequently charged with possession of marijuana and the Xanax pills; Mr. Fitzgerald was charged with possession of the ecstasy pills; Mr. Brown was charged with possession of the crack pipe; and the Defendant was charged in the case sub judice. Officer Dark testified that the bag found beneath the Defendant was secured as evidence and sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Crime Laboratory for testing. He said the TBI analysis determined the substance to be crack cocaine in the amount of 1.7 grams.
Officer Dark estimated that, throughout his career, he has arrested hundreds of crack cocaine users and close to one hundred people for selling crack cocaine. He typically did not find crack pipes on people arrested for selling crack cocaine. Of the individuals Officer Dark has arrested for using crack cocaine, nearly 100 percent of them had crack pipes. He said that in 2008, the street value of crack cocaine in Maury County was $20 for “crack rocks” at the user level. He was familiar with this figure through his experience as a narcotics investigator and through the use of informants for controlled purchases. Officer Dark said that $20 crack rocks usually weighed .1 grams. He stated that a high-end user might spend $100 for a gram of crack cocaine, but “[o]nce you start getting above a gram, it's usually a dealer buying from a dealer.” Of the hundreds of arrests he has made for crack cocaine use, he said that a user would typically be found with a $20 rock, but usually no more than two rocks. In his experience, users do not “save up” crack cocaine for future use. Officer Dark testified that he has viewed videotaped transactions where dealers have sold crack rocks from a larger bag of crack without the use of scales or additional bags and that generally, “it's a quick hand-to-hand transaction.” He said that the 1.7 grams of crack cocaine secured from beneath the Defendant's chest would have been the equivalent of 17 crack rocks at a street value of $20 each.
In the course of his investigation, Officer Dark determined that 504 East 9th Street was located within a 1, 000 feet radius of both Frierson-Johnson Park and College Hill School. After accessing a computer program used by the city of Columbia in its planning, Officer Dark found the distance between 504 East 9th Street and Frierson-Johnson Park to be 572 feet. He also determined the distance between the residence and College Hill School to be 872 feet. He made his measurements from the front door of the residence to the edge of the property line of the park and the school. Officer Dark personally tested the accuracy of the computer program by using a counter wheel to measure two different points and found the physical and the computer-generated measurements to be exact. He also calibrated the counter wheel with a tape measure. In his fourteen years employed with the Columbia Police Department, Officer Dark testified that sixty-five to seventy percent of his time was spent covering the vicinity of 504 East 9th Street. He identified an aerial map of the area and marked the residence, Frierson-Johnson Park, and College Hill School.
Sergeant Jeremy Haywood of the Columbia Police Department testified that he was part of the entry team during the July 9, 2008 search at 504 East 9th Street. In the three years that he was in the Vice Unit, Sergeant Haywood estimated that he participated in fifty to one hundred searches. In this search, he was the third or fourth person to enter the front door. The first officers who entered identified themselves and told the occupants to “Get on the ground.” Upon entry, Sergeant Haywood encountered the Defendant in the living room near the front door. The Defendant was in the process of getting to the floor as ordered. Sergeant Haywood also observed Ms. Fleming make her way from the couch to the floor. Until the scene was secured, Sergeant Haywood remained in the living room and monitored Ms. Fleming and the Defendant as they were lying face down on the floor with their hands at their sides.
Sergeant Haywood subsequently searched the Defendant for weapons and handcuffed him. The Defendant did not have anything in his pockets. Immediately upon rolling the Defendant over on his side, Sergeant Haywood saw “[a] plastic bag with white rock type substance that appeared to be crack cocaine” underneath the Defendant's chest and stomach area. He then called for Officer Dark to come observe the substance. According to Sergeant Haywood, ”[the Defendant] was adamant that it wasn't his drugs.” He did not see any drugs in the Defendant's hands when he entered the residence. He also did not observe any objects being thrown in the Defendant's direction, either through the air or across the floor. Sergeant Haywood testified that he did not know how the drugs ended up on the floor. He said he would not have been able to observe the Defendant if he had dropped the drugs from his hand and laid on them.
Special Agent Laura Adams, a forensic scientist with the TBI Crime Lab, testified as an expert witness in the identification of controlled substances. In the instant case, Agent Adams analyzed a “rock-like substance” and determined that it contained cocaine and weighed 1.7 grams. She generated a one-page lab report, which was admitted into evidence.
Mary H. Carter testified that she has been employed with the Maury County school system as a supervisor of attendance and discipline for the past twenty-seven years. She stated that in July of 2008, Horace Porter School at College Hill was a public, alternative school in Maury County.
The Defendant chose not to testify and did not present any proof at trial. Based on the foregoing evidence, the jury convicted the Defendant as charged in the indictment. At a subsequent sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the two counts into one conviction for possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1, 000 feet of a public school. The Defendant was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to fifteen years' imprisonment, to be served at 100 percent. After the denial of his motion for new trial, this timely appeal followed.

Goodrum, 2014 WL 1102011, at **1-4.

         B. Post-Conviction Proceedings

         The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals summarized the proof adduced at Petitioner's post-conviction evidentiary hearing as follows:

On August 24, 2015, the petitioner filed, pro se, a timely petition for post-conviction relief, alleging, inter alia, that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Following the appointment of counsel and the amendment of the petition, the post-conviction court conducted an evidentiary hearing on February 5, 2016.
At the evidentiary hearing, trial counsel testified that he was appointed to represent the petitioner in August 2009, shortly after the public defender's office had been removed from the petitioner's case due to an unspecified conflict. Trial counsel successfully petitioned to dismiss the petitioner's initial indictment due to insufficient language regarding the drug-free school zone act. A superseding indictment was later issued, and both of the petitioner's trials were based upon that indictment. Trial counsel testified that he was aware that there had been a “prior incident” in Raven Fleming's house shortly before the incident giving rise to the petitioner's arrest, but trial counsel did not know that Ms. Fleming's residence had been searched and that she had been charged with possession with intent to sell cocaine just three weeks prior to the petitioner's arrest at her house.
Trial counsel provided the petitioner with all of his discovery materials. Trial counsel conceded that he had not independently measured the distance between Ms. Fleming's residence and the park and the school but that he had used an online resource to compare the distances between the relevant points. Counsel believed that he had checked the licensure of the park in question prior to trial, but he could not recall doing so with any specificity.
Prior to the petitioner's second trial, counsel recalled speaking with the petitioner by telephone and meeting him with him in counsel's office on “at least four different” occasions. Trial counsel conceded that there “were probably some times [the petitioner] would call ... to speak with me” when counsel was unavailable but that he “never refused access to” the petitioner and would work out “a later time” to speak with the petitioner. Trial counsel recalled speaking with both the petitioner's mother and his “girlfriend at the time” but no additional family members. With respect to the petitioner's decision to testify at trial, trial counsel testified that he had discussed the petitioner's options with him until they had “beat[en] that horse to death.” Trial counsel acknowledged that he had sent a letter to the petitioner in January 2012, nearly three months prior to trial, advising the petitioner of the potential perils of testifying in the second trial and enclosing a copy of the petitioner's testimony from the first trial. Trial counsel explained the reasoning for the letter as follows:
[T]he purpose of this letter, there was-I had a copy of the transcript attached to this. I wanted [the petitioner] to be aware of that. I knew if he were to take the stand on trial number two, again, he was under oath, there's [a] detailed document that the State would be able to cross-examine. If he got off track on what he had testified earlier, you know, the State was just going to make mincemeat out of him in front of a jury. Again, if he were ready-and, again, that's his decision, not mine, but if he so chose, you know, again, this was in January. I wanted him to be aware of it, have a chance to review it so there wouldn't be any surprises if, in fact, he decided to testify at the second trial.
Trial counsel stated that he orally advised the petitioner against testifying in the second trial but made it clear to the petitioner that the decision was his alone.
When asked if he had attempted to verify the petitioner's employment or church membership for purposes of mitigation, trial counsel responded that he would not have done so for trial but that he would have for sentencing if he had not been able to successfully negotiate the minimum available sentence for the petitioner. With respect to his failure to file a motion to suppress any evidence, trial counsel questioned the standing the petitioner would have had to seek such a motion, given that he was a visitor in Ms. Fleming's residence and that the search warrant at issue did not appear to be defective. Trial counsel testified that he had prepared a diversion application for the petitioner and that the petitioner had qualified for diversion, which counsel believed was instrumental in his sentencing negotiations with the State. Trial counsel admitted that he had not requested the aid of an investigator in the petitioner's case but stated that he had interviewed both Officer Jason Dark and Officer Brian Gray and that he had spoken briefly with Sergeant Haywood prior to trial.
With respect to the nature of the petitioner's charges, counsel stated that he could not “recall a time that we did not discuss the severe nature of what [the petitioner] was charged with.” Trial counsel recalled that the petitioner did not wish to accept a plea offer because the petitioner “always indicated ... that he was innocent of the charge.” Counsel continued as follows:
We talked actual possession, constructive possession, how hard that was under the circumstances to prevail. [The petitioner] said I'm not guilty. I want-I want to argue my case and that's-that's what I did to the best of my ability.
Based on [the petitioner's] direction to me, he felt that Mr. Fitzgerald was the most culpable individual in the home that night. He felt there was a possibility Mr. Fitzgerald will take the fall or take the blame for what happened to [the petitioner]. Based on that, I sent a letter to [Mr. Fitzgerald's attorney] asking for permission to talk to Mr. Fitzgerald. Again, I did get the discovery. [The attorney] provided me that. In short, [the attorney's] indication to me was nothing good is going to come out of a discussion. He doesn't have anything good to say about [the petitioner]. It's going to be detrimental to his case. I advised [the petitioner] of that and that's the last I heard about Mr. Fitzgerald.
Trial counsel was adamant that the petitioner “was always articulate” and “well-spoken, ” and counsel saw nothing that would give rise to any competency concerns with the petitioner. Counsel conceded that, near the end of his representation of the petitioner, he had filed a motion to withdraw based on a letter the petitioner had written to the court in which he claimed that counsel had been keeping him “in the dark.” Trial counsel testified that the petitioner's contention “was completely not true no matter how you cut it.” Nevertheless, trial counsel asked to be relieved and argued the motion before the trial court. At that time, the petitioner “seem[ed] to be satisfied” with counsel's representation, and trial counsel continued to represent the petitioner.
On cross-examination, trial counsel agreed that, prior to the first trial, he had successfully negotiated a plea offer of a best interest plea to a misdemeanor sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to diversion, even though the petitioner was facing a Class A felony conviction with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to serve. The petitioner rejected the offer, and the first trial ended in a hung jury with 11 jurors voting to convict. Prior to the second trial, the State made a plea offer of eight years at 30 percent service, but the petitioner again rejected the offer because he was “hoping for something less than that.” After the petitioner was convicted at the second trial, trial counsel successfully negotiated the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
CPD Corporal Jason Dark testified that he had executed a search warrant at 504 East Ninth Street on July 9, 2008, and that the search warrant was based on a controlled buy that had occurred 72 hours earlier. Corporal Dark recalled that as Sergeant Haywood rolled the petitioner over to lift him off of the ground, a bag of crack cocaine was discovered beneath the petitioner's body. Corporal Dark recalled speaking with trial counsel about the case. Corporal Dark confirmed that the petitioner could not be excluded as the source who provided Ms. Fleming with cocaine.
CPD Sergeant Jeremy Haywood testified that he had lifted the petitioner off the ground on the date in question. Sergeant Haywood could not recall whether he had spoken with trial counsel about the petitioner's case.
The petitioner testified that he did not have the opportunity to speak with trial counsel very often and that he had sought new counsel because he “was left in the dark” and because counsel failed to “take time to explain” things to the petitioner. The petitioner testified that trial counsel never visited him while he was incarcerated, but the petitioner conceded that he was out on bond for almost four years. According to the petitioner, he drove to trial counsel's office “10 or 15 times” over a period of several months but that he was never able to meet with trial counsel. The petitioner repeatedly insisted that he “didn't understand any of this, ” that he was unfamiliar with the law, and that he was confused by the concept of constructive possession. The petitioner testified that he “was never laying on top of the drugs” and that Ms. Fleming was “closest to those drugs” when officers discovered them on the floor.
With respect to his rejection of the misdemeanor plea offer, the petitioner insisted that he “didn't have any knowledge of the law whatsoever” and that he “didn't understand the things that [trial counsel] was telling” him. The petitioner conceded that he had “messed up” by not accepting the misdemeanor plea offer. The petitioner admitted that he had received all of his discovery materials and that trial counsel had explained that he was eligible for diversion. The petitioner was adamant that he had never received an offer of eight years, explaining that had he received such an offer, he would have accepted it.
The petitioner stated that trial counsel did not include a copy of his testimony from the first trial when counsel sent the letter advising the petitioner about the perils of testifying in the second trial. The petitioner claimed that he “assume[d]” he would testify in the second trial because he had done so in the first trial but that counsel had informed him “[a]bout 10 minutes before we came into the courtroom [that] it would be in [his] best interest not to testify.” The petitioner testified that he was simply following the advice of his attorney when he chose not to testify.
The petitioner agreed that he wrote a letter to the court clerk seeking new counsel but that he then chose to stay with trial counsel because the trial court had advised him that he “had one of the best lawyers in town.” On cross-examination, the petitioner admitted that he had received a letter from trial counsel dated May 24, 2010, in which counsel informed the petitioner that he could enter a best interest plea to misdemeanor simple possession and receive a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to judicial diversion. The letter continued with the following advice:
My legal advi[c]e to you is to accept the plea as offered. This is the best negotiating I can do on your behalf and should the case be decided by a jury the outcome is uncertain. The benefit to you is 1) no jail time to serve and being placed on diversion for a misdemeanor offense for which you may have expunged from your record at the end of the successful completion of the 11/29; 2) a best interest plea in that you do not admit any wrongdoing; 3) knowing what you have and being able to resume your life without the risk of an adverse jury decision requiring you to serve a minimum of eight (8) years in the penal system.
With respect to his decision not to testify at the second trial, the petitioner acknowledged that he had “the option to testify” and that he had announced in court, following the Momon colloquy, that he did not wish to testify. The petitioner also conceded that he sent a letter to trial counsel nearly six months after he was convicted at the second trial which stated, in pertinent part, as follows:
Let me start by saying you did me proud in court and I was glad to see your representation on this day because you touched a lot of good points in my case and truthfully this is going to be a waste of the taxpayers['] money.
Brenda Goodrum, the petitioner's mother, testified that trial counsel never contacted her about the petitioner's case. Ms. Goodrum stated that she never came to court during the petitioner's trials even though she was not working at the time, but she claimed that she was unaware that the petitioner was going to court. Ms. Goodrum attempted to contact trial counsel on multiple occasions but was never successful in reaching him. Ms. Goodrum admitted that she had no knowledge of the events surrounding the petitioner's arrest.
With this evidence, the post-conviction court denied relief, finding no clear and convincing evidence that trial counsel had rendered ineffective assistance of counsel and finding specifically that trial counsel had gone “above and beyond the call of duty in trying to get [the petitioner] to understand the substantial risk of his unwillingness to assume any responsibility for those drugs found under him during the execution of the search warrant in question.” In its detailed and comprehensive 13-page order denying relief, the court also made the following findings with respect to the petitioner's specific allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel:
[The petition] alleges in a conclusory way that trial counsel failed to conduct an adequate pre-trial investigation. There is no merit to that allegation, because the [p]etitioner's conviction resulted from a second jury trial following an earlier trial in which the jury hung 11 to 1 for conviction. Certainly, at the time of the last trial, defense counsel was well aware of all evidence against the [p]etitioner. In addition, trial counsel testified at the PCR hearing that he worked with attorneys for other defendants at the scene of the [p]etitioner's arrest in trying to produce evidence that the drugs were under the control of someone other than the [p]etitioner. Responses from other attorneys were that their clients' testimony would hurt [the petitioner] more than help him.... This [c]ourt cannot speculate as to whether further investigation would have revealed more witnesses or what their testimony might have been.... Therefore, since the [p]etitioner failed to present such witnesses at the evidentiary hearing, [this claim] is without merit.
[The petition] criticizes trial counsel for failing to present a defense, specifically not calling a single witness as to the [p]etitioner's character. No. character witnesses were called in the PCR hearing, and this [c]ourt has no reason to believe that any effective character witness existed at the time of the trial. The additional allegation ... that there was no evidence of mitigation or family support seems immaterial in that such evidence would not be admissible in a guilt determination phase of the trial. Since the trial court imposed the minimum sentence, there was no need for trial counsel to offer mitigation or family history evidence at any time on behalf of the [p]etitioner.
[The petition] also alleges that trial counsel should have offered some defense evidence about the [p]etitioner's prior dog sales to show why he may have been at the house being searched for drugs pursuant to a search warrant. Trial counsel could not have pursued that theory in front of the jury because of the outlandish tale the [p]etitioner had presented in his first trial testimony about stopping at and entering this house because he did not have a valid registration plate. In his first trial, he said he had seen several police cars as he approached that block of Ninth Street and concluded that he'd better pull over and try to avoid a driving offense. Any attempt to put on defense evidence about the sale-of-a-dog purpose for the [p]etitioner being at the crime scene would likely have resulted in the State being able to get in all or part of the [p]etitioner's prior testimony as a totally inconsistent reason.
[The petition] alleges that trial counsel did not spend enough time communicating with the [p]etitioner between the first and second trial, but this [c]ourt recalls a good bit of time in open court when even the judge encouraged the [p]etitioner to seriously consider alternatives other than a second trial in light of the fact that eleven jurors in the first trial voted to find the [p]etitioner guilty of an A felony carrying a mandatory minimum of 15 years. There was no particular reason to spend a lot of time on trial preparation itself, and counsel was obviously trying to persuade the [p]etitioner that it was in his best interest to avoid trial, if possible. Any fault for failure to intelligently communicate lies with the [p]etitioner, not with his counsel.
The allegation in [the petition] that ... trial counsel caused him not to testify is without merit because this [c]ourt conducted a hearing with the [p]etitioner during the trial to ensure that he was aware that the decision of whether to testify was his.... The [p]etitioner gave appropriate responses to the [c]ourt's questions and [as]sured that he understood his right to testify or to remain silent.
The factual allegation [that counsel failed to interview witnesses called by the prosecution prior to trial] is not true. [Trial counsel's] testimony showed that he had spoken with officers before the first trial and engaged them in a thorough cross-examination in the first trial, all well before the second trial that resulted in the conviction of which the [p]etitioner complains.
[The petition] complains that ... trial counsel did not adequately challenge the distance measurements testified about by the law enforcement officer, but present counsel and the [p]etitioner offered no evidence in the PCR hearing to indicate that the trial evidence of measurement was anything other than correct. ... Since the [p]etitioner failed to present any measurement evidence at his evidentiary hearing, [this claim] is without merit.

Goodrum, 2017 WL 3149646, at **2-8.

         IV. Standard of Review

          The petition in this case is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). The AEDPA was enacted “to reduce delays in the execution of state and federal criminal sentences . . . and to further the principles of comity, finality, and federalism.” Woodford v. Garceau, 538 U.S. 202, 206 (2003) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). As the Supreme Court explained, the AEDPA “recognizes a foundational principle of our federal system: State courts are adequate forums for the vindication of federal rights.” Burt v. Titlow, 571 U.S. 12, 19 (2013). The AEDPA, therefore, “erects a formidable barrier to federal habeas relief for prisoners whose claims have been adjudicated in state court.” Id.

         One of the AEDPA's most significant limitations on the federal courts' authority to issue writs of habeas corpus is found in 28 U.S .C. § 2254(d). Under the AEDPA, the court may grant a writ of habeas corpus on a claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court if that adjudication:

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented ...

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