United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
V. LAGAN, UNITED STATUS DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is petitioner's 28 U.S.C. § 2254
habeas corpus petition (Dkt. # 1). For the reasons below, the
petition will be denied.
cases arises from petitioner's murder conviction. The
victim, Emily Clark, was friendly with petitioner and her
boyfriend, Michael Lyke. See Dkt. # 7-5, at 128-29.
On the day of her death, police stopped the victim for
suspected prostitution. Id. at 20. Officers escorted
her to her motel room residence, where they encountered Lyke
and his brother, Darius Smith. Id. at 22-23, 133.
Smith had an outstanding warrant, and he was arrested.
Id. at 22. Officer Treantafeles led Smith and Lyke
to believe that the victim had “snitched” on
Smith, i.e., disclosed Smith's whereabouts and
stated that Smith should go to jail. Id. at 23. Later
that evening, petitioner, Lyke, and the victim were having
dinner at a crowded Tulsa apartment. Id. at 131. The
victim was shot in the head, and several witnesses testified
that they saw petitioner holding the gun. Id. at 61,
State charged petitioner with first degree murder in
violation of Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 701.7. See
Dkt. # 7-9, at 19. Her defense theory was that Lyke shot the
victim. See Dkt. # 1, at 6. Lyke testified against
petitioner at the preliminary hearing, but he died before the
trial. Id. The state presented, inter alia, the
preliminary hearing transcript along with evidence from a
jailhouse informant, who testified that petitioner admitted
to shooting the victim at Lyke's urging. See
Dkt. # 7-5, at 128; see also Dkt. # 7-6, at 53-54.
After a three-day trial, the jury convicted petitioner of
first degree murder. Id. at 123. The state court
sentenced petitioner to life imprisonment, in accordance with
the jury's recommendation. See Dkt. # 7-7, at 3.
perfected a direct appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal
Appeals (OCCA). See Dkt. # 6-1. The OCCA affirmed
the conviction and sentence. See Dkt. # 6-3.
Petitioner filed the instant § 2254 petition (Dkt. # 1)
on December 1, 2016. She raises two propositions of error:
(Ground 1): The state court violated the Confrontation Clause
and petitioner's right to present a defense when it
excluded extrinsic evidence impeaching Lyke's testimony;
(Ground 2): Trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance.
See Dkt. # 1, at 4, 7.
filed an answer (Dkt. # 6), along with copies of the state
court record (Dkt. # 7). Respondent concedes, and the Court
finds, that petitioner timely filed her federal habeas
petition and exhausted state remedies. See Dkt. # 6,
at 1; see also 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244(d),
2254(b)(1)(A). However, respondent contends that both claims
fail on the merits. The matter is fully briefed and ready for
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) governs
this Court's review of petitioner's habeas claims.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Relief is only available
under the AEDPA where the petitioner “is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). However,
because the OCCA already adjudicated petitioner's claims,
this Court may not grant habeas relief unless he demonstrates
that the OCCA's ruling: (1) “resulted in a decision
that was contrary to . . . clearly established Federal law as
determined by Supreme Court of the United States, ” 28
U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1); (2) “resulted in a decision that
. . . involved an unreasonable application of clearly
established Federal law, ” id.; or (3)
“resulted in a decision that was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts” in light of
the record presented to the state court, id. at
determine whether a particular decision is ‘contrary
to' then-established law, a federal court must consider
whether the decision ‘applies a rule that contradicts
[such] law' and how the decision ‘confronts [the]
set of facts' that were before the state court.”
Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 182 (2011)
(alterations in original) (quotations omitted). When the
state court's decision “identifies the correct
governing legal principle in existence at the time, a federal
court must assess whether the decision ‘unreasonably
applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's
case.” Id. (quotations omitted).
Significantly, an “unreasonable application of”
clearly established federal law under § 2254(d)(1)
“must be objectively unreasonable, not merely
wrong.” White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1702
(2014) (quotations omitted). “[E]ven clear error will
not suffice.” Id. Likewise, under §
2254(d)(2), “a state-court factual determination is not
unreasonable merely because the federal habeas court would
have reached a different conclusion in the first
instance.” Wood v. Allen, 558 U.S. 290, 301
(2010). The Court must presume the correctness of the state
court's factual findings unless petitioner rebuts that
presumption “by clear and convincing evidence.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
the standards set forth in § 2254 are designed to be
“difficult to meet, ” Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011), and require federal
habeas courts to give state court decisions the
“benefit of the doubt.” Woodford v.
Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002). A state prisoner
ultimately “must show that the state court's ruling
... was so lacking in justification that there was an error