United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
H. Payne United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Petitioner's petition for a
writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254. Petitioner, who is represented by counsel, is attacking
six convictions arising from his non-jury trial in Pontotoc
County District Court Case No. CF-2008-499 for First Degree
Burglary (Count 1), Robbery by Force or Fear (Count 2),
Robbery by Force or Fear (Count 3), Larceny of a Vehicle
(Count 4), Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident
(Count 6), and Larceny of a Vehicle (Count 7). He presents
one ground for relief:
Mr. Anderson's convictions were based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
at the state court proceedings, because no reasonable
factfinder could have determined the State proved Mr.
Anderson sane beyond a reasonable doubt.
concedes that Petitioner has exhausted his state court
remedies for the purpose of federal habeas corpus review. The
following records have been submitted to the court for
consideration in this matter:
A. Petitioner's direct appeal brief.
B. The State's brief in Petitioner's direct appeal.
C. Petitioner's appellate reply brief.
D. Summary Opinion affirming Petitioner's judgment and
sentence. Anderson v. State, No. F-2011-94 (Okla.
Crim. App. Mar. 6, 2012).
E. Transcripts of court proceedings.
F. State court record.
November 10, 2008, Petitioner was charged by Information in
Pontotoc County District Court Case No. CF-2008-499. On
January 27, 2010, he entered a plea of Not Guilty by Reason
of Insanity, and on July 29, 2010, he waived his right to a
jury trial. Following a non-jury trial, the Pontotoc County
District Court found Petitioner guilty of Counts 1, 2, 3, 4,
6, and 7.
the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA),
federal habeas corpus relief is proper only when the state
court adjudication of a claim:
(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;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
of the Evidence
record shows that on direct appeal, the Oklahoma Court of
Criminal Appeals (OCCA) denied relief on Petitioner's
claim that the evidence was insufficient to find him sane at
the time of the offenses:
[W]hile Appellant presented evidence calling into question
his sanity at the time of the offenses, there was sufficient
evidence from which a rational fact-finder (in this case, the
trial judge) could conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that
Appellant understood right from wrong at the time. Taylor
v. State, 881 P.2d 755, 758 (Okla. Crim. App. 1994).
Anderson v. State, No. F-2011-94, slip op. at 2
(Okla. Crim. App. Mar. 6, 2012). Petitioner alleges the
OCCA's denial of his claim was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the trial evidence,
because no reasonable factfinder could have determined that
the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was sane.
Respondent asserts the OCCA's decision was neither
contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly
established federal law. See 28 U.S.C. §
of the evidence can be considered to be a mixed question of
law and fact.” Case v. Mondagon, 887 F.2d
1388, 1392 (10th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 494 U.S.
1035 (1990). In federal habeas review of a state court
conviction, “the relevant question is whether, after
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have
found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable
doubt.” Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319
(1979) (emphasis in original).
Supreme Court repeatedly has emphasized the deference the
reviewing court owes to the trier of fact and “the
sharply limited nature of constitutional sufficiency
review.” Wright v. West, 505 U.S. 277, 296
(1992) (citing Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319). “[A]
federal habeas corpus court faced with a record of historical
facts that supports conflicting inferences must presume--even
if it does not affirmatively appear in the record--that the
trier of fact resolved any such conflicts in favor of the
prosecution, and must defer to that resolution.”
Jackson, 443 U.S. at 326. The court must
“accept the [factfinder's] resolution of the
evidence as long as it is within the bounds of reason.”
Grubbs v. Hannigan, 982 F.2d 1483, 1487 (10th Cir.
1993) (citing United States v. Edmondson, 962 F.2d
1535, 1548 (10th Cir. 1992)). “To be sufficient, the
evidence supporting the conviction must be substantial; that
is, it must do more than raise a mere suspicion of
guilt.” Beachum v. Tansy, 903 F.2d 1321, 1332
(10th Cir.), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 904 (1990)
(citing United States v. Troutman, 814 F.2d 1428,
1455 (10th Cir. 1987)).
a sufficiency challenge was resolved on the merits by the
state courts, . . . AEDPA adds an additional degree of
deference, and the question becomes whether the OCCA's
conclusion that the evidence was sufficient constituted an
unreasonable application of the Jackson
standard.” Diestel v. Hines, 506 F.3d 1249,
1267 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations and internal quotation marks
omitted), cert. denied, 553 U.S. 1079 (2008). This
standard is called “deference squared.” Hooks
v. Workman, 689 F.3d 1148, 1166 (10th Cir. 2012 (quoting
Young v. Sirmons, 486 F.3d 655, 666 n.3 (10th Cir.
determine whether there was sufficient evidence presented at
trial to sustain Petitioner's convictions, the Court
first must look to Oklahoma law for the elements of an
insanity defense. The M'Naughten rule is the
test for insanity in Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 §
The initial burden is on the defendant to establish a
reasonable doubt as to his sanity. Munn v. State,
658 P.2d 482 (Okla. Crim. App. 1983). If the defendant
establishes a reasonable doubt of his sanity, the presumption
of sanity vanishes and it is incumbent upon the State to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant could
distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the
offense. Id. at 484.
Clark v. State, 718 P.2d 375, 377-78 (Okla. Crim.
A person is insane when that person is suffering from such a
disability of reason or disease of the mind that he/she does
not know that his/her acts or omissions are wrong and is
unable to distinguish right from wrong with respect to
his/her acts or omissions. A person is also insane when that
person is suffering from such a disability of reason or
disease of the mind that he/she does not understand the
nature and consequences of his/her acts or omissions.
Medlock v. State, 887 P.2d 1333, 1342 n.12 (Okla.
Crim. App. 1994).
Under Oklahoma law the defendant bears the burden of raising
a reasonable doubt of his sanity at the time of the crime. If
that burden is met, it is incumbent upon the State to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant could