United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
CHARLES B. GOODWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Laverne Hartley is an Oklahoma state prisoner who has
petitioned this Court for a writ of habeas corpus under 28
U.S.C. § 2254. See Pet. (Doc. No. 1).
Respondent has filed an Answer (Doc. No. 13), to which
Petitioner did not reply. Having reviewed the parties’
submissions, the state-court record, and the applicable law,
the Court denies relief.
20, 2012, Petitioner was tried and convicted in the District
Court of Roger Mills County of trafficking in illegal drugs,
distributing a controlled dangerous substance, possession of
a firearm during the commission of a felony, unlawful use of
a police radio, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
See Pet. at 1; State v. Hartley, No.
CF-2011-19 (Roger Mills Cty. Dist. Ct.); State v.
Hartley, No. CF-2011-39 (Roger Mills Cty. Dist. Ct.);
State v. Hartley, No. CF-2011-40 (Roger Mills Cty.
Dist. Ct.). Petitioner is currently serving his
sentences at James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena,
Oklahoma. See Pet. at 1.
filed a direct appeal of his convictions, which the Oklahoma
Court of Criminal Appeals (“OCCA”) affirmed on
May 22, 2014. See OCCA Summ. Op. (Doc. No. 13-1). On
October 20, 2017, Petitioner filed an application for
postconviction relief in the trial court asserting that
“pursuant to the Oklahoma Post-Conviction Relief Act,
” he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing to present
“newly discovered evidence”-namely, testimony
from a previously unknown witness “tend[ing] to prove
actual innocence.” Pet’r’s Postconviction
Appl. (Doc. No. 13-2) at 5-6. Petitioner alleged that in a
letter dated September 28, 2017, this witness admitted to
having placed a “purple bag” (later found to
contain . . . 20 oz. of drugs among other drug
paraphernalia” and subsequently used by the State to
convict Petitioner) “in a pickup [Petitioner] was
working on.” Id. at 6, 9-10.
state district court denied relief on February 1, 2018,
The state in its response convinces me that this
“witness” was known to the defendant at [the]
time of trial. The witness’s involvement was known to
the state and they report that the information was given to
the defendant. I find it extremely unlikely that this
witness’s testimony could have any bearing on the
outcome of this case. The letter was received by defendant
four and a half years after the jury trial. Other independent
evidence was presented in the jury trial by the state.
Ct. Postconviction Order (Doc. No. 13-3) at 2.
appealed this disposition to the OCCA,  which on July 18,
2018, affirmed the denial of relief, stating:
[T]he District Court stated its findings and conclusions that
it is extremely unlikely that the alleged new evidence
presented by Petitioner could have had any bearing on the
outcome of this case. Petitioner doesn’t analyze the
alleged new evidence in relation to all of the other evidence
presented at Petitioner’s trial. Petitioner has thus
not established that the evidence creates a genuine issue of
material fact and has not established that the District Court
abused its discretion.
See OCCA Postconviction Order (Doc. No. 13-5) at 3.
filed the instant habeas action on August 22, 2018,
contending that “[he] was denied his right to a fair
trial by not allowing him to present exculpatory evidence
which was unavailable at the trial.” Pet. at 5.
appears to conflate the federal constitutional right to a
“fair trial” with the statutory right to a
“new trial” under the Oklahoma Post-Conviction
Relief Act. While Petitioner claims he was denied a
“fair trial, ” the crux of his argument is that
he was wrongfully denied an evidentiary hearing-and, as a
possible result, a new trial-on his ...