United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
V. EAGAN 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 methamphetamine
convictions. Oklahoma state troopers discovered the drugs,
along with a firearm and digital scales, after petitioner was
racing a vehicle in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 27, 2013.
See Dkt. # 13-1, at 7; see also Dkt. #
14-2, at 129, 139. Trooper Callicoat determined that the
registration sticker was fake and impounded the vehicle.
See Dkt. # 14-2, at 133. The troopers questioned
petitioner at the scene, and he admitted to owning the gun,
scales, and methamphetamine. Id. at 139. Petitioner
later argued that the admission was involuntary, and that he
only made the statement to protect his girlfriend, who was on
probation. See Dkt. # 1, at 7.
State charged petitioner with, inter alia: (count A)
trafficking in illegal drugs, Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §
2-415; (count B) possession of controlled drugs without a tax
stamp, Okla. Stat. tit. 68, § 450.1; (count C) driving
under the influence of drugs, Okla. Stat. tit. 47, §
11-902(A)(3); and (count D) felon in possession of a firearm,
Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1283. See Dkt. # 14-6,
at 38-39; see also Dkt. # 14-5, at 2. After a four-day
trial, the jury convicted petitioner of counts A, B, and D
and acquitted him of driving under the influence.
See Dkt. # 14-3, at 99-100, 111. The state court
sentenced petitioner to 40 years imprisonment on count A
(trafficking), to run concurrently with a 10-year sentence on
count B (tax stamp). See Dkt. # 14-5, at 4. The
state court also imposed a consecutive 10-year sentence on
Count D (felon in possession), for a total term of 50 years
perfected a direct appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal
Appeals (OCCA). See Dkt. # 13-1. By a summary
opinion entered December 23, 2015, the OCCA affirmed.
See Dkt. # 13-3. Petitioner filed the instant §
2254 petition (Dkt. # 1) on December 1, 2016. He raises two
propositions of error:
(Ground 1): The state court's answer to a jury note
rendered the trial fundamentally unfair;
(Ground 2): Ineffective assistance of counsel.
See Dkt. # 1, at 2.
filed an answer (Dkt. # 13), along with copies of the state
court record (Dkt. # 14). Respondent concedes, and the Court
finds, that petitioner timely filed his federal habeas
petition and exhausted state remedies as to the above claims.
See Dkt. # 13, at 3, 12, and 19; 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 review.
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