United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court is a Report and Recommendation (“the
Report”) issued by Magistrate Judge Daniel E. Knowles,
III, dismissing the Petitioner's application for habeas
relief with prejudice. (Rec. Doc. 21 at 20). In response to
the Report, Petitioner timely filed objections and requested
rejection of the Report. (Rec. Doc. 22).
reasons outlined below, IT IS ORDERED that the objections are
FURTHER ORDERED that the Report is ADOPTED; and
FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner's claims are dismissed
Kevin Mayon pled guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary,
one count of attempted aggravated burglary, and one count of
attempted burglary. (Rec. Doc. 21 at 1). He was granted an
out-of-time appeal to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals, and the court affirmed his conviction and sentence.
(Id. at 2). After this affirmation, Petitioner did
not seek further direct review of his conviction.
(Id.). He filed an application for post- conviction
relief with the state district court, and this application
was denied on January 23, 2014. (Id.). His
subsequent applications for post-conviction relief were
denied by both the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
and the Louisiana Supreme Court. (Id.).
filed the instant application for a writ of habeas corpus
under Title 28 United States Code section 2254 asserting
ineffective assistance of counsel. (Rec. Doc. 4). He claimed
ineffective assistance of counsel due to his trial
counsel's pressure on him to plead guilty. Magistrate
Judge Knowles found that Petitioner stated under oath that he
was not offering his guilty plea under duress and, thus, has
the burden to overcome a presumption that this statement was
Magistrate Judge found Petitioner failed to present any
evidence to support the claim of coercion by counsel to
overcome the presumption and, further, the trial judge
exercised due caution to ensure that Petitioner's plea
was voluntary. In all, Magistrate Judge Knowles found that
Petitioner did not demonstrate that the state court decision
rejecting his ineffective assistance of counsel claim was
contrary to, or involved in an unreasonable application of,
clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme
Court of the United States.
Objections to the Report, Petitioner asserts that his counsel
failed to object or request a continuance because, as
Petitioner alleges, the trial court did not ensure that he
was not intimidated into entering his guilty plea. He
contends that, as evident from the face of the record,
counsel's performance fell below the standard set by
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688 (1984), and
State v. Washington, 491 So.2d 1337 (La. 1986), and,
as such, violated Petitioner's Sixth Amendment right.
the trial judge asked Petitioner whether he was
“forced, threatened, or coerced into entering these
pleas of guilty, ” Petitioner answered that he has
“been intimidated.” He asserts that this exchange
demonstrates an actual conflict between himself and his trial
counsel, despite later offering a guilty plea.
Trial counsel's failure to object or request a
continuance for Petitioner to consider his guilty plea did
not amount to insufficient assistance of counsel.
guilty plea must have an affirmative showing on the record
that the plea was offered voluntarily and understandingly.
Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 242-44 (1969). The
trial judge must personally “canvass . . . the matter
with the [defendant] to make sure he has a full understanding
of what the plea connotes and of its consequences.”
Id. at 243-44.
Boykin v. Alabama, the criminal defendant pled
guilty to his charges, but the trial judge did not ask any
questions of the defendant concerning his plea and, as such,
the record failed to show that the defendant made his plea
knowing and voluntarily. Id. at 239-40. Unlike the
record in Boykin which did not show a knowing and
voluntary guilty plea, the record here demonstrates that the
trial judge went to great lengths to assure that
Petitioner's pleas were not coerced. (Rec. Doc. 21 at
13-16 - citing the transcript of the trial court
first told the trial judge that he was intimidated into
entering the guilty plea. (Id. at 13). In response,
the judge explained what it means to make a voluntary plea,
that the Court could not accept a coerced plea, and that
trial would begin. (Id.). The trial judge moved to
other matters while Petitioner conferred with his counsel.
(Id.). After this break, the trial judge heard from
Petitioner's counsel and then bypassed counsel to
personally engage with Petitioner. (Id. at 14-15).
The trial judge discussed the nature and consequences of a
voluntary guilty plea with Petitioner three separate times
during the proceedings with two breaks for Petitioner to
confer with counsel and contemplate going forward with ...