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Madison v. Allbaugh

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

March 21, 2019

JOE ALLBAUGH, DOC Director, Respondent.



         This action is before the Court on Respondent's motion to dismiss Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus as barred by the statute of limitations. (Dkt. 7). Petitioner is a prisoner in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections who is incarcerated at Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville, Oklahoma. He is attacking his convictions and sentences in McCurtain County District Court No. CF-1995-258 for First Degree Murder (Count 1) and Second Degree Murder (Count 2).

         Petitioner is represented by counsel and, therefore, is not entitled to the same liberal construction of his pleadings as those of a pro se litigant. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991) ("A pro se litigant's pleadings are to be construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers”); Sullivan v. Rios, No. CIV-15-67-M, 2015 WL 4926475, at *4 (W.D. Okla. June 12, 2015) (unpublished) (refusing to give liberal construction "[b]ecause the petition is counsel's work-product, [and] it must be read as written”).

         Two grounds for habeas corpus relief are raised in the petition:

Ground I: The petitioner's newly-discovered evidence undermines the jury verdict and is exculpatory to First Degree Malice Murder, as the state court decision is unreasonable in light of prevailing norms and in light of the evidence.
Ground II: The state court made an unreasonable determination of facts in light of the evidence demonstrating that Petitioner was a juvenile at the time of the offenses, further making an unreasonable determination that the intervening change in law recognized in Montgomery v. Louisiana is not applicable to Petitioner.

         Factual Background

          The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) set forth the facts of Petitioner's case in its order affirming his Judgments and Sentences:

Steven Morgan was killed over an electrical generator. He had a campsite in the Wright City vicinity in the woods, close to the Glover River. In September 1995, he and a friend, Orville Lewis Bullard, went camping.
Morgan had several conveniences at the site: he had converted a bread van into a camper, and had a pair of bunk beds at the rear of the van. He had also rigged up some propane stoves for cooking, and had several ice chests full of squirrel and fish he had caught. He also had a 4, 000-watt Coleman generator which produced electricity for lights in the evening.
Four hundred yards from the Morgan campsite, [Petitioner] and some friends were staying at another campsite. The first night they arrived, [Petitioner] and his friends heard the generator in the distance. One of the company, Michael Delozier, [1] commented on the generator and mentioned they should steal it. Nothing else was done or said about it that night. The next day the group rode four-wheelers in the area. That second night, they again heard the generator running; and again, Delozier mentioned it. The next day, the group rode over to the nearby camp, visited with those present, and saw the generator and other items present.
That night, Delozier again mentioned stealing the generator, adding they should go to the campsite, kill everyone present, and take everything in the camp. [Petitioner] and his cousin, Nathaniel Madison, agreed. A fourth party, James Oliver, refused to go along with the idea. As Oliver went to bed, [Petitioner] and Delozier grabbed some weapons and, accompanied by Nathaniel, walked over to the Morgan camp. Once there, Delozier and [Petitioner] approached the camper. Delozier opened the camper door, took one step in, pointed his 12-gauge shotgun toward the back of the camper, and fired once.
[Petitioner] then stepped in, pointed his .22 rifle toward the back, and fired once. The group then retreated to a nearby pickup, where [Petitioner] fired approximately seven more shots through the front window of the camper. The .22 rifle he was carrying was a single-shot bolt rifle, and [Petitioner] had to reload before firing each time. Nathaniel, at Delozier's request, shouted several times for the camper's occupants to come out. After approximately 10 to 15 minutes, Morgan appeared at the door with a flashlight. Delozier ordered him to turn off the flashlight. When Morgan did so, Delozier shot him in the chest.
Morgan said "Oh, God," and fell to the ground. As he was lying there, [Petitioner] and Delozier approached him. Delozier took the rifle from [Petitioner], pointed it at Morgan's face, and fired.
The trio then took a number of items, including the generator and some shotguns, from the Morgan camp back to their camp, using a pickup at the Morgan camp. On the way back to the campsite for a third load, the trio saw vehicle headlights at the Morgan camp. Delozier, who was driving, stopped the pickup and ran into the woods. [Petitioner] and Nathaniel did likewise. As [Petitioner] and Nathaniel made their way back to their own campsite, they saw a fire where the pickup had been left. A short time later, they saw a fire where the Morgan campground was.
The cause of death to Morgan was determined to be both the shotgun wound to the chest and the rifle wound to the head. Bullard was killed as he lay in the camper during the initial attack: he received a .22 bullet in his brain, and pellets from the shotgun blast penetrated his heart. Both wounds were fatal, although the medical examiner said Bullard was still alive when he received the shot to the head. Although both bodies were badly burned, this did not contribute to the cause of death.

Morgan v. State, No. F-1996-1064, slip op. at (Okla. Crim. App. Oct. 29, 1997) (Dkt.8-1 at 1-2). The OCCA's factual findings are entitled to a presumption of correctness, unless Petitioner produces clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).

         Ground I: Newly-Discovered Evidence

         Petitioner alleges newly-discovered evidence of Michael Delozier's clemency hearing undermined Petitioner's conviction for First Degree Murder. Petitioner argues that Delozier's admission in the hearing of his guilt in killing the two victims, when contrasted with Delozier's previous denial of responsibility, undermines confidence in Petitioner's verdict. He further asserts DeLozier's statements in the clemency hearing created an issue of Petitioner's factual innocence, leaving the jury's verdict unreliable.

         On May 19, 2017, Petitioner presented this claim to the state district court in an application for post-conviction relief. State v. Madison, No. CF- 1995-258-B, slip op. at 1 (McCurtain County Dist. Ct. Aug. 1, 2017) (Dkt. 8-2). Petitioner argued that "DeLozier admitted before being executed [in the clemency hearing recording] that he was the person that murdered the two victims and that he was solely responsible for the crimes of murder, which is a fact that he had previously denied." (Dkt. 2-2 at 12). An evidentiary hearing was held on July 11, 2017, where a recording of DeLozier's ...

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