United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
HILLIARD A. FULGHAM, Petitioner,
SCOTT CROW, Director, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
V. EAGAN UNITED STATES 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 convictions. The
investigation began in 2006, when police discovered that two
women had been stabbed to death in a Tulsa apartment.
See Dkt. # 8-9, at 248; see also Dkt. #
8-16, at 58. Police collected blood samples from bathroom
tissue and the apartment's window ledge, but the DNA did
not match any known suspects. See Dkt. # 8-10, at
198-99. The case initially went cold. Id. In 2009,
petitioner contributed his DNA to the Combined DNA Index
System (“CODIS”) after he was incarcerated in
Mississippi. See Dkt. # 8-10, at 299-300. His DNA
could not be excluded from the Tulsa murder scene, and,
according to a forensic scientist, the statistical
probability that an unrelated person contributed the blood on
the window ledge was at least 1 in 3.3 billion. See
Dkt. # 8-11, at 55-56.
State charged petitioner with two counts of first degree
murder in violation of Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 701.7.
See Dkt. # 8-17, at 26. Petitioner's defense
theory was that he fought with the killer on the night of the
crime; that petitioner bled into the killer's face, eyes,
and ears; and that the killer then transferred
petitioner's blood to the murder scene. See Dkt.
# 7-1, at 11. However, petitioner's ex-girlfriend
testified that he admitted to stabbing the victims.
See Dkt. # 8-9, at 281-82. After a five-day trial,
the jury convicted petitioner on both counts. See
Dkt. # 8-12, at 88. The state court sentenced petitioner to
life imprisonment without parole, in accordance with the
jury's recommendation. See Dkt. # 8-14, at 13.
perfected a direct appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal
Appeals (OCCA). See Fulgham v. State of Oklahoma,
400 P.3d 775 (Okla. Crim. App. 2016). The OCCA affirmed the
conviction and sentence. Id. Petitioner filed the
instant § 2254 petition (Dkt. # 1) on January 9, 2017.
He raises two propositions of error:
(Ground 1): The state court violated the Interstate Agreement
on Detainers Act (“IAD”) by failing to commence a
trial within 120 days of petitioner's transfer to
(Ground 2): Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to
pursue the IAD violation.
See Dkt. # 1, at 4, 6.
filed an answer (Dkt. # 7), along with copies of the state
court record (Dkt. # 8). Respondent concedes, and the Court
finds, that petitioner timely filed his federal habeas
petition and exhausted state remedies. See Dkt. #7
at 2; 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