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Dennis v. State

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 26, 2015



JOSEPH C. WILKINSON, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

This matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct hearings, including an evidentiary hearing, if necessary, and to submit proposed findings and recommendations for disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B) and (C) and, as applicable, Rule 8(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. Upon review of the entire record, I have determined that a federal evidentiary hearing is unnecessary. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2).[1] For the following reasons, I recommend that the instant petition for habeas corpus relief be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.


The petitioner, Chadwick Dennis, is incarcerated in the David Wade Correctional Center in Homer, Louisiana.[2] On December 1, 1998, Dennis was charged by bill of information in Jefferson Parish with one count of aggravated battery.[3] The Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal summarized the facts determined at trial as follows:

This case involves a shooting that occurred on August 12, 1998. The shooting took place on Walker Neal Avenue in River Ridge. The shooting was precipitated by an argument between Sean Fisher and Antonio Fenderson. This argument concerned Tabitha Phillips, Fenderson's girlfriend, and Fisher's next door neighbor.
On August 12, Fenderson went to Fisher's to talk to him. While Fenderson was at the Fisher house, an argument erupted between Fenderson, Fisher and Fisher's mother. At this point, Fenderson returned to Phillips' house. Fisher also left after the initial argument and went to his grandmother's house.
Later that night Fisher returned home with his brother-in-law. When he arrived, Fenderson and Defendant were standing outside. Defendant asked which of the two men was Sean, and Fisher stated that he was Sean. When Fisher told Defendant who he was, Defendant shot him. After shooting Fisher, Defendant fled the scene. Fisher later identified Defendant's picture in a photographic lineup, and Defendant was arrested.

State v. Dennis, 777 So.2d 569, 570-71 (La.App. 5th Cir. 2000); State Record Volume 1 of 6, Louisiana Fifth Circuit Opinion, 00-KA-182, pp. 1-2, December 13, 2000.

Dennis was tried before a jury on April 21, 1999, and was found guilty as charged.[4] The state trial court denied Dennis's motion for a new trial on June 28, 1999.[5] The court sentenced Dennis on November 12, 1999, to serve ten years in prison at hard labor.[6]

The State later filed a multiple offender bill on February 7, 2000.[7] At a hearing on July 27, 2000, the court adjudicated Dennis a multiple offender and resentenced him to serve life in prison without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.[8] Dennis did not appeal the multiple offender proceedings or sentence.

On direct appeal to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit, Dennis's counsel asserted three errors:[9] (1) The trial court allowed the State to present an officer's recollection of Dennis's oral statement which differed from the statement disclosed to the defense. (2) The evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. (3) The jury convicted him under a statute that was unconstitutionally broad in scope. The court affirmed the conviction on December 13, 2000, finding the claims meritless.[10] However, the court remanded the matter for the trial court to advise Dennis of the delays for seeking postconviction relief.

The Louisiana Supreme Court denied Dennis's subsequent writ application without stated reasons on November 21, 2001.[11] His conviction and sentence became final ninety (90) days later, on February 19, 2002, when he did not file a writ application with the United States Supreme Court. Ott v. Johnson, 192 F.3d 510, 513 (5th Cir. 1999) (period for filing for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court is considered in the finality determination under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A)), cert. denied, 529 U.S. 1099 (2000); U.S. Sup.Ct. Rule 13(1).

Almost one year later, on February 11, 2003, Dennis signed and submitted an application for post-conviction relief to the state trial court in which he asserted the following grounds for relief:[12] (1) Counsel denied him the right to testify. (2) The state trial court improperly found that he was a multiple offender. (3) He was denied effective assistance of counsel when counsel abandoned the alibi defense. (4) The state trial court failed to advise him of the right to remain silent at the multiple offender arraignment. (5) Counsel provided ineffective assistance during the multiple offender proceedings. The state trial court denied relief on March 10, 2003, finding no merit in the claims.[13]

The Louisiana Fifth Circuit denied Dennis's related writ application on May 5, 2003, finding no error in the trial court's ruling.[14] The Louisiana Supreme Court also denied Dennis's writ ...

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