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Hamilton v. Allbaugh

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

March 30, 2017

RAPHAEL R. HAMILTON, Petitioner,
v.
JOE M. ALLBAUGH, Director, [1] Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CLAIRE V, EAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition (Dkt. # 1) filed by Petitioner Raphael R. Hamilton, a state prisoner appearing pro se. Respondent filed a response to the petition (Dkt. # 7), and provided the state court record necessary for resolution of Petitioner's claims (Dkt. ## 7, 8). Petitioner filed a reply (Dkt. # 11). For the reasons discussed below, the petition is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner challenges his conviction and sentence entered in Tulsa County District Court, Case No. CF-2011-2923. In resolving Petitioner's claims raised on certiorari appeal, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) provided a summary of background facts. See Dkt. # 7-3. Petitioner fails to rebut the OCCA's statement of facts with clear and convincing evidence and it is, therefore, presumed correct. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). Therefore, this Court adopts the following factual summary as its own:

The record reveals that Hamilton was charged with First Degree Murder or, in the alternative, Felony Murder (Count I) and Robbery with a Firearm (Count II). At a jury trial held on May 14-16, 2012, the state presented the testimony of four witnesses against Hamilton. Through these witnesses the State established that on July 15, 2011, Randolph Ney was found stabbed to death in his home at 1135 Florence Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma. One of the witnesses, Stephanie Abbott, was Hamilton's girlfriend at the time of Ney's death. Abbott testified that on the evening of July 10, 2011, she received a phone call from Hamilton who was calling from a number that was unknown to her. Hamilton whispered to Abbott that he needed her to pick him up at 11th and Florence. She drove to that location as instructed and when she saw Hamilton she stopped and he got in her car. He was carrying a briefcase that she had not seen before and his hand was wrapped in a white towel. There was blood on the towel and he had a deep cut on one of his knuckles. Hamilton told Abbott that he had been in a fight with a guy with whom he had been “doing mushrooms” and the guy was alive when he left. About a week later, Abbott heard on a news report that a body had been found in a residence at 11th and Florence. Abbott became scared and acted like she had not seen the story until Hamilton asked her if she had seen the news. She initially denied hearing about the story but a few hours later talked with Hamilton about it. He admitted knowing the victim from his work and to calling her with the victim's hone. Hamilton's phone call to Abbott using Ney's phone led the police to Abbott who told them what she knew. After Abbott was finished testifying and had been excused, the court went into recess.
When court reconvened, defense counsel announced that he had spoken with Hamilton and that Hamilton had expressed his desire to enter a blind plea of guilty to the crime of First Degree Felony Murder. The trial court held a plea hearing and accepted Hamilton's guilty plea to First Degree Felony Murder and dismissed the robbery charge.

(Dkt. # 7-3 at 1-3). The record further reflects that, on July 11, 2012, after the trial judge accepted Petitioner's blind plea of guilty, Petitioner was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. See Dkt. # 8-1 at 25. At the time of his blind plea, Petitioner was represented by attorneys Adam Haselgren and Matt Tarvin. See Dkt. # 7-4 at 1.

         Petitioner filed a timely motion to withdraw his blind plea. On August 13, 2012, the trial judge held a hearing on the motion. See Dkt. # 8-2. During the hearing on the motion to withdraw plea, attorneys M. J. Denman and John Dunn represented Petitioner. See id. at 1. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial judge denied the motion. Id. at 47.

         Represented by attorney Laura M. Arledge, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the OCCA. See Dkt. # 7-2. Petitioner raised the following proposition of error:

Proposition I: Mr. Hamilton's guilty plea was not voluntary and knowing and was entered in violation of his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article II, § 7 of the Oklahoma Constitution.

Id. at 2. In an unpublished Opinion, filed July 15, 2013, in Case No. C-2012-767 (Dkt. # 7-3), the OCCA denied the petition and affirmed the Judgment and Sentence of the district court.

         Petitioner commenced this federal action by filing a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus (Dkt. # 1). Petitioner alleges, as he did on certiorari appeal, that his guilty plea was not voluntary and knowing and was entered in violation of his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article II, § 7 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Id. at 4. In response to the petition, Respondent argues that Petitioner is not entitled to habeas corpus relief. See Dkt. # 7.

         ANALYSIS

         A. ...


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