United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
DELIVETRICK D. BLOCKER, Petitioner,
TONY MAYS, Respondent.
L. COLLIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Delivetrick D. Blocker is a Tennessee inmate proceeding pro
se on a successive federal habeas petition pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, in which he seeks to challenge the
legality of his confinement under judgments of conviction
from the Hamilton County Criminal Court. Having considered
the submissions of the parties, the State-court record, and
the law applicable to Petitioner’s claims, the Court
finds that the petition should be denied.
RELEVANT BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals (“TCCA”)
summarized the facts of Petitioner’s crime as follows:
[T]he proof at trial showed that [Petitioner] and his severed
co-defendants, cousin Robert Blocker and Calvin Trammell, who
were all juveniles at the time of this crime, called for a
taxicab from a Hamilton County convenience store. When it
arrived, they instructed the driver to take them
approximately one-half mile, to a location that the State
characterized as wooded and secluded, along a street with
several vacant homes. As the perpetrators exited the car,
[Petitioner] heard Robert Blocker demand money from the
driver, who reached over between the seats. [Petitioner] told
police that he believed the driver was reaching for a gun, so
he pulled a sawed-off shotgun from his pants and pointed it
at the driver. He then shot the driver at a range between six
and twelve inches from his head. All three perpetrators fled
the scene, and an area homeowner discovered the victim when
the taxicab crashed into her patio.
State v. Blocker, No. 03C01-9803-CR-00120, 1999 WL
124223, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 10, 1999). Petitioner
was seventeen years old at the time. Id.
a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of first-degree felony
murder and especially aggravated robbery. Id. The
jury imposed a sentence of life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole for the first-degree murder conviction.
Id. At a subsequent sentencing hearing, the trial
court imposed a consecutive sentence of twenty-two years for
the especially aggravated robbery conviction. Id.
direct appeal, the TCCA modified the underlying felony
conviction to attempted especially aggravated robbery, and it
imposed a consecutive sentence of nine years. Id. at
*7–10. The Tennessee Supreme Court denied discretionary
review on October 4, 1999. Id. at *1.
2004, Petitioner sought habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. §
2254 in this Court, challenging his confinement under the
State-court judgments. Blocker v. Lewis, No.
1:04-CV-32 (E.D. Tenn. May 23, 2005). On May 23, 2005, this
Court dismissed the petition [Id. at Doc. 17].
on at least two occasions in State court, Petitioner
unsuccessfully challenged his convictions through State
habeas petitions. See Blocker v. Worthington, No.
E2008-00881-CCA-R3-HC, 2009 WL 304022 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb.
9, 2009); Blocker v. Osborne, No.
E2011-02723-CCA-R3-HC, 2012 WL 2513980 (Tenn. Crim. App. June
29, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 17, 2012).
November 13, 2012, Petitioner filed a second or successive
habeas petition, which was transferred to the Sixth Circuit
for authorization. See Blocker v. Osborne,
1:12-CV-374-CLC-WBC (E.D. Tenn. Nov. 16, 2012) [Doc. 4]. On
October 16, 2013, the Sixth Circuit denied Petitioner
authorization to file a second or successive petition. In
re: Delivetrick D. Blocker, No. 12-6552 (6th Cir. Oct.
about December 2, 2016, Petitioner filed a motion to reopen
his post-conviction petition under Tennessee Code Annotated
§ 40-30-117, arguing that his life sentence without the
possibility of parole is unconstitutional because
Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016),
established that Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460
(2012) precluded his life sentence without the possibility of
parole for a crime he committed as a juvenile [See,
e.g., Doc. 22-4]. The trial court denied the motion, and
the TCCA denied discretionary review of that decision on
March 31, 2017 [Doc. 22-8]. In doing so, the TCCA court noted
that Miller has no application to a Tennessee
sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole, because such a sentence is not mandatory, but rather,
it is imposed “by a jury only after presentation and
consideration of mitigating factors, including those specific
to the petitioner’s youth” [Id. at 3].
The Tennessee Supreme Court denied discretionary review on
July 20, 2017 [Doc. 22-9].
Petitioner’s application for permission to appeal was
pending before the TCCA, he filed a second application for
permission to appeal from the same order denying the motion
to reopen [Doc. 22-10]. In the second application, he raised
the same Eighth Amendment claim under Miller and
Montgomery [Id.]. The second application
was denied on the same day as the first [Doc. 22-13]. The
Tennessee Supreme Court denied discretionary review of the
second application on July 18, 2017 [Doc. 22-14].
February 1, 2018, Petitioner filed another application for
authorization to file a second or successive petition [Doc.
6]. On August 7, 2018, the Sixth Circuit granted
authorization, and the instant habeas petition was filed on
the same day [Docs. 7 and 8]. In his federal habeas petition,
Petitioner raises a single ground for relief, as paraphrased
by the Court:
Whether Petitioner’s sentence of life imprisonment
without the possibility of parole as a juvenile offender
violates Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012).
[Doc. 8]. Pursuant to this Court’s order to respond to
the petition, Respondent filed an answer on January 22, 2019
[Doc. 23]. Petitioner submitted two additional amendments to
the petition and a supplemental pleading in support of his
petition [Docs. 21, 25, and 34]. Thereafter, Respondent
submitted a response to Petitioner’s supplemental
pleading [Doc. 37]. Petitioner’s subsequently attempted
to further amend his petition to add a new ...