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Boyd v. Martin

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

October 16, 2017

LEE EDWARD BOYD, Petitioner,
JIMMY MARTIN, [1]Respondent.



         Petitioner, a state prisoner appearing pro se, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for relief from his state court conviction and sentence. Petitioner has also filed a motion to supplement the record with newly discovered evidence. The matter was referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard M. Jones for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C). Judge Jones has issued a Supplemental Report and Recommendation (the “Report”) recommending that the petition and the motion be denied. Petitioner has filed an objection to the Report, which triggers de novo review by this court.

         The factual and procedural background of this case have been thoroughly and accurately addressed in Judge Jones' Report and Recommendation [Doc. #14][2] and Supplemental Report and Recommendation [Doc. #33]. That background generally reflects that petitioner was convicted by a jury of one count of first degree rape and four counts of lewd molestation of a child under sixteen with respect to one victim and one count of indecent exposure and one count of lewd molestation of a child under sixteen with respect to a second victim. Both victims were his nieces. In accordance with the jury's recommendation, the court ultimately sentenced petitioner to forty years for the counts related to the first victim and ten years for the counts related to the second victim, to be served consecutively. Petitioner filed a direct appeal to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (“OCCA”) which affirmed the judgment and sentence in a summary order.

         Petitioner has also filed multiple applications for post-conviction relief.

         Each of petitioner's objections to the Report center primarily on his “newly discovered evidence” and how it demonstrates his actual innocence on the underlying counts against him.[3] Petitioner's newly discovered evidence is an affidavit from the second victim, who was eight years-old at the time of the most recent alleged acts of sexual misconduct. The affidavit states:

The things I stated in court about Lee Edward Boyd was not true. As I became an adult I do not recall having any such memory of those things happening. I do not recall Lee Edward Boyd ever touching me improperly. I never had bad [memories] about my uncle.

         Doc. 25-1. Attached to petitioner's objection to the Report is a notarized letter from this same niece which states:

To whom it may concern, Lee Boyd did not ever in any way touch me. There was another man I would like to not speak of that did them things to me. Being 18 now and able to speak with out [sic] feeling scared I would like to let any one know it was not him.

         Doc. 36-1.

         Petitioner does not object directly to the Report's analysis of the four grounds for relief asserted in his petition, and the court is in substantial agreement with the Report's treatment of the various claims. However, because petitioner objects on multiple grounds related to new evidence, presumably but not necessarily directed at the Report's recommendation regarding the motion to supplement, each will be addressed further here.

         Petitioner's first objection to the Report states that the “magistrate points out constitutional violation and plain error ‘judicial biasness' and ‘prejudicial opinion' made by the trail [sic] court.” Doc. #36, p. 2. This objection is premised on the allegation that “the Magistrate Judge opened the door to a Constitutional violation occurrence done by the Trial Court during the federal round.” Id. (emphasis in original). Petitioner argues that the recantation of testimony by his niece “constitutes newly discovered evidence and presented that Mr. Boyd's constitutional rights to a fair trial was clearly violated.” Id. at 3. Petitioner further alleges that the trial court improperly bolstered the child witnesses' testimony, amounting to an abuse of discretion or misconduct by the court. Finally, petitioner believes that he may be denied the right to conduct discovery during post- conviction proceedings which renders further state proceedings futile and requires granting his habeas petition.

         To the extent that this objection is directed to the Report's recommended disposition of the petition, petitioner has not demonstrated a basis for relief. Likewise, petitioner has not presented a valid basis for avoiding the Report's conclusions as to the motion to supplement. “[A] claim of ‘actual innocence' is not itself a constitutional claim, but instead a gateway through which a habeas petitioner must pass to have his otherwise barred constitutional claim considered on the merits.” Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 404 (1993). Further, the “gateway should open only when a petition presents ‘evidence of innocence so strong that a court cannot have confidence in the outcome of the trial.” McQuiggin v. Perkins, 569 U.S. __, 133 S.Ct. 1924, 1936 (2013) (quoting Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 316 (1995)).

         Petitioner essentially argues that his niece gave false testimony which violated his right to a fundamentally fair trial. But the mere introduction of perjured testimony (if it was that) does not by itself rise to the level of a constitutional violation. U.S. v. Caballero, 277 F.3d 1235, 1243-44 (10th Cir. 2002); Tayborn v. Scott, 251 F.3d 1125, 1130 (7th Cir. 2001). To establish a due process violation, petitioner would have to show (1) the “testimony was in fact false, (2) the prosecution knew it to be false, and (3) the testimony was material.” Caballero, 277 F.3d at 1243-44. The niece's affidavit upon which petitioner relies equivocates between alleging in one sentence that she testified falsely and, in the next two sentences, suggesting she cannot remember the events that were the basis for her testimony. This showing falls far short of one which would shake confidence in the outcome of the trial. Further, petitioner has not made a sufficient showing of an alleged basis for a constitutional violation sufficient to warrant a stay of proceedings to allow him to exhaust state court remedies. Finally, petitioner's belief that the state would deny him the right to conduct discovery does not state a viable constitutional claim.

         Petitioner's second objection is that “he is Actually Innocent due to judicial biasness and prejudicial opinion comments made by [trial] court.” Id. at 4. Petitioner contends that because his niece “was old enough to leave her mother's supervision she wrote the affidavit to remove the alleged wrongful conduct that convicted an innocent man.” The essential basis of this claim is actual innocence, with the reference to improper bolstering being directed more at ...

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