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Dodd v. Lindamood

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

September 18, 2019

ERNEST DODD, SR. Plaintiff,
v.
CHERRY LINDAMOOD, Defendant.

          Trauger Judge

          ORDER

          JEFFERY S. FRENSLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Ernest Willard Dodd, Sr. (“Petitioner”), a state prisoner, filed this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 seeking a writ of habeas corpus to set aside his convictions for initiating a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine and attempt to promote the manufacture of methamphetamine. See Docket 23. Petitioner filed a Motion for Discovery (Docket No. 46), which was denied in part and granted in part by the Court. See Docket No. 54. Through discovery permitted by the Court, Petitioner identified a written statement in the prosecutor’s file that was not given to Petitioner during the discovery process in state court. Docket No. 57, p. 5, n. 2.

         Before the Court is Petitioner’s Motion for Evidentiary Hearing, or, in the Alternative, Motion to Expand the Record, in which Petitioner contends that he should be allowed to present evidence substantiating his claim under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) that the State withheld material evidence from Petitioner during discovery in state court. See Docket No. 57, pp. 6-9. Relatedly, in Petitioner’s Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Petition, he asks the Court for permission to amend his petition again to include a claim based on an alleged violation of the rule of law established in Brady. Docket No. 59, p. 1. Respondent has filed a consolidated Response in opposition to the motions. Docket No. 68. Petitioner has filed a Reply. Docket No. For the reasons set forth below, each of Petitioner’s motions are DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts relevant to Petitioner’s underlying case are as follows:

In July of 2010, the Warren County Sheriff's Office was running surveillance on the apartment of Lance and Connie Vogel. Mrs. Vogel had been used by the police before as an informant for information about different people and crimes on the street level. During the surveillance, Marc Martin, an investigator, saw Ronnie Minton and Appellant [“Petitioner”] leaving the Vogel's apartment. As Appellant left, Detective Tony Jenkins who was assisting in the surveillance of the apartment went to the door of the apartment and immediately smelled a strong odor of methamphetamine and air freshener. Investigator Martin spoke with Appellant, whom he had known for quite some time. Investigator Martin described Appellant as "enraged."
Appellant consented to a search of his person. There was nothing on his person. Appellant gave a statement to police in which he explained that the police did not find anything on his person because he saw police coming and ate a bag of methamphetamine. Police found several cut straws and a Coleman can in the truck in which Appellant was riding. The truck belonged to co-defendant Minton. Investigator Martin testified that the items by themselves were not "anything" but that people often snorted methamphetamine through cut straws.
Appellant gave a statement in which he admitted to smoking methamphetamine and eating a bag of methamphetamine. He denied manufacturing methamphetamine. Appellant admitted that he spent the night at the Vogel's apartment and went to the store with co-defendant Minton to look for lithium batteries. Appellant stated that he would have smelled the methamphetamine if it were cooking while he was in the apartment.
A search warrant was obtained for the Vogel apartment where officers seized a large number of known precursors to the manufacture of methamphetamine. As a result, Appellant, Mr. and Mrs. Vogel, and Mr. Minton were indicted by the Warren County Grand Jury for one count of initiating a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine and one count of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine.
At trial, Mrs. Vogel testified that Appellant smoked methamphetamine on aluminum foil at the apartment. Mrs. Vogel personally observed Appellant with scales, filters, lye, cold packs, and pills on the floor of the apartment. Mrs. Vogel testified that Appellant placed a filter on the scales and poured out the lye. She claimed that she took her medicine and went to bed while the men cooked the methamphetamine.
Mr. Vogel testified that he pled guilty to the charges he received in this case and got a total effective sentence of forty years. He admitted that he cooked methamphetamine and confirmed that Appellant was at his apartment on the night in question. According to Mr. Vogel, the three men cooked and consumed methamphetamine that night at the apartment. Appellant participated by weighing "some stuff out" and using the container of lye. Appellant also cut open the cold packs to access the ammonium nitrate. He poured this substance in a bag. Appellant also "had a jug fixed up with a hose coming out of it and was going to gas off what he had poured off of a shake jug" while Mr. Vogel dropped aluminum foil balls into the muriatic acid to cause the reaction. Mr. Vogel admitted that he sprayed air freshener and turned on the exhaust fan in order to try to cover up the smell.
Appellant's thirteen-year-old son, Dakota Bennett, testified for the defense. Mr. Bennett testified that he overhead a conversation between Mrs. Vogel and Appellant in which she stated that Appellant had nothing to do with cooking methamphetamine in this case.
Devin Carter, a close friend of Appellant, stopped by the Vogel's apartment on the night of July 15, 2012. He got "into it" with Mr. Vogel. At one point, Mr. Vogel pulled out a knife and stabbed the television. Mr. Carter did not see any evidence of methamphetamine cooking but admitted that he was only at the apartment for about ten minutes.
At the conclusion of the proof, the jury found Appellant guilty of initiating a process to manufacture methamphetamine and attempt to promote the manufacture of methamphetamine. The trial court sentenced Appellant as a Range II, multiple offender to nineteen years for the conviction for initiating a process to manufacture methamphetamine and four years for the conviction for attempt to promote the manufacture of methamphetamine. The trial court ordered the sentences to be served concurrently.

State v. Dodd, No. M2011-02259-CCA-R3CD, 2013 WL 2296168, at *1-2 (Tenn. Crim. App. May 23, 2013).

         As is apparent from the above facts, Mr. Minton did not testify at Petitioner’s trial. See Docket No. 57, p. 5. Petitioner’s trial counsel subpoenaed Mr. Minton to trial (Id. at 4 (citing Docket No. 37-16, p. 19-20; Docket No. 37-16, p. 16)); however, through information obtained from Mr. Minton prior to trial, Petitioner’s counsel decided not to call Mr. Minton as a witness. Id. at 5. Unknown to Petitioner’s trial counsel, the State possessed a statement written by Mr. Minton about a month after Minton was arrested. Id. (citing Docket No. 57-1, pp 1-2). Thus, the document at issue ...


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