United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
HEATON CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Antoine Leslie is a state prisoner who seeks habeas relief
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He was convicted in the
District Court of Canadian County, Oklahoma, after jury
trial, of aggravated trafficking of illegal drugs. He
appealed his conviction to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal
Appeals (“OCCA”), which affirmed in an
unpublished opinion. He then sought post-conviction relief
from the trial court. His application was denied, and the
OCCA affirmed on appeal.
Leslie later filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus,
proceeding pro se. The petition was referred to U.S.
Magistrate Judge Suzanne Mitchell for initial proceedings.
Judge Mitchell has submitted a Report and Recommendation
[Doc. #19, hereafter the “Report”] recommending
that the petition be denied.
factual background of the case and the circumstances
underlying petitioner's conviction are thoroughly
described in the Report, and need not be repeated here.
Further, the Report accurately sets out the applicable
standard for review in this habeas proceeding. That standard
is deferential-indeed, doubly deferential as to claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel-to the OCCA's
resolution of the issues raised here, all of which were first
considered by the OCCA.
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), this court may grant habeas relief
only if the state court' adjudication of the issues
“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” or “was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence
presented.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) and (2).
findings are not “unreasonable” just because this
or some other reviewing court might have found the facts
differently in the first instance. Brumfield v.
Cain, 135 S.Ct. 2269, 2277 (2015). Rather, this court
must defer to the state court determination of the issue so
long as “reasonable minds reviewing the record might
disagree about the finding in question.” Id.
court's determination that a claim lacks merit precludes
federal habeas relief so long as “fairminded jurists
could disagree on the correctness of the state court's
decision.” Woods v. Etherton, 136 S.Ct. 1149,
1151 (2016). In other words, this court's review is
highly deferential to the determination of the OCCA. Further,
as noted above, the review is doubly deferential as to issues
involving claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. The
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688, 690-1
(1984), standard for such claims, like the § 2254(d)
standard, is “highly deferential and when the two apply
in tandem, review is doubly so.” Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 105 (2011).
state court bars a claim based upon adequate and independent
state procedural grounds, federal courts must generally
respect and apply the procedural bar to the specific claims.
Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991). A
petitioner can only avoid the bar by showing cause for the
default and actual resulting prejudice from the application
of the bar, or by showing that failure to consider the
defaulted claims will result in a fundamental miscarriage of
raises five claims, three of which were determined to be
procedurally barred by the OCCA, and two of which were denied
on the merits. Petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief on
any of his claims.
first claim goes to the validity of the traffic stop and
subsequent search that uncovered the evidence used to convict
him. As the Report notes, such claims are not cognizable in
habeas proceedings as long as the petitioner had a full and
fair opportunity to litigate the Fourth Amendment claim.
See Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 494 (1976). And
while petitioner claims that he was not given a full and fair
opportunity, his arguments go to whether the state court
correctly analyzed his claim, not whether the claim was fully
and fairly litigated. The Report therefore correctly
concluded that this claim fails.
third ground for relief, petitioner argues that appellate
counsel was constitutionally ineffective for conceding the
validity of the traffic stop and search. For substantially
the reasons set out the in the Report, this court determines
that this claim fails. It is clear that any attack on the
stop or search would have failed on appeal. To that end,
counsel cannot be said to have performed deficiently for not
raising frivolous issues in the appellate proceedings.
remaining claims were deemed procedurally barred by the OCCA,
as they were not raised on appeal. Petitioner does not
challenge the state bar as inadequate or non-independent, but
rather claims in his objection that ineffective assistance of
counsel provides cause and prejudice to avoid the bar. But
petitioner did not raise any such argument in his petition or
in his (two) reply briefs. Nor has he raised an independent
ineffectiveness claim in this action regarding appellate
counsel's alleged failure to raise the claims on appeal.
By not raising this independent ineffectiveness claim and not
even mentioning its utility as cause and prejudice until his
objection, petitioner has waived these arguments. He
therefore fails to show cause or prejudice to avoid the
procedural bar for the remaining three claims.
fails to show that he is entitled to relief. Therefore, for
substantially the reasons stated in the Report, the Report is
ADOPTED. Petitioner's petition for writ
of habeas corpus [Doc. #1] is DENIED. A
certificate of appealability is also DENIED.
Judgment will enter accordingly.