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Martin v. Vannoy

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 13, 2018




         Please take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District Court.

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen (14) days after being served with the attached Report to file written objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which have been accepted by the District Court.



         This matter is before the Court on the petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The petitioner, Allen Martin, challenges his conviction, entered in the Twenty-First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Livingston, State of Louisiana, on one count of aggravated rape, one count of kidnapping, one count of armed robbery and one count of aggravated burglary. The petitioner contends that he was provided with ineffective assistance at trial.[1]

         Factual Background

         The facts, as accurately summarized in the decision of the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal (State v. Martin, 12-1024 (La.App. 1 Cir. 2/15/13), 2013 WL 595922), are as follows: The victim, J.L. testified at trial. On February 12, 2011, she lived alone in an apartment off of Montpelier Road in Albany. At approximately 7:30 p.m. on that date, she went to her apartment to get dressed for a birthday party in Hammond. She entered her apartment, locked the door, and began taking a shower. Approximately five to ten minutes later, she heard a noise. She looked around her shower curtain and saw the petitioner standing in the bathroom. He stated, “Jacquelyn, ” and the victim answered, “No.” He then left the bathroom. The victim closed the shower curtain “trying to figure out what just happened.” A few seconds later, the petitioner pulled back the shower curtain. He had a knife in his hand. The victim jumped out of the shower and grabbed the petitioner's wrist holding the knife with one of her hands and his throat with her other hand, pushed him against the door, and ran toward a gun on the floor near her bed. The victim was unable to release the safety of the gun before the petitioner began struggling with her for the weapon. She stopped struggling for the weapon after he pointed the gun at her.

         The petitioner stood up, pointed the gun at the victim's head, and walked toward the front of the apartment. The victim ran to the bedroom door and closed and locked the door. She then ran and got her cell phone off the bathroom counter and dialed 911. The petitioner forced open the bedroom door and “grabbed” the cell phone from the victim. He asked her who she was calling, and she replied, “Nobody.” The cell phone then rang, but the petitioner did not answer the call. He pointed the gun at the victim and “walked [her] over to the bed.” He asked if she lived alone, and she answered affirmatively. She asked what he wanted, but he did not answer. When asked at trial whether the petitioner still had the knife, the victim answered affirmatively, and stated “I believe he had it in his back pocket, and then later put it on top of my bed frame.”

         Thereafter, the petitioner pointed the gun at the victim's forehead and told her to give him oral sex. She complied. The petitioner then pushed the victim onto the bed, pointed the gun at her head, and had vaginal sex with her. He pushed the gun against the temple of the victim's head, and laughed when it left a mark on her head. He then sat up, pointed the gun at the victim's head, and switched the safety on and off, pulling the trigger when the safety was on. He asked the victim if she wanted to die. She answered negatively. He pulled the knife from his back pocket, put it against the victim's throat, and slid it across the side of her face. He asked her if she wanted him to cut her face off, and told her he had seen that done in a movie. He also asked her how far away her parents lived. She replied approximately forty-five minutes away, and he stated, “So it would be like 45 minutes before they could get here and identify the body?” The petitioner then had vaginal sex with the victim while holding the gun to her head. He told her he was going to have to kill her because she had seen his face. He put a pillow over her face and told her it would make a good silencer. The victim heard him turning the safety on the gun on and off. Thereafter, the petitioner removed the pillow from the victim's face and told her she was “too pretty to kill.” He then put the gun inside the victim's vagina. He asked her what she thought it would feel like if he shot her like that. She replied she would probably die. He then forced her at gunpoint to go to the bathroom and put her head over the toilet, stating it would not be “as messy.” He released the safety from the gun and started to count down from 4. After he counted down to 1, he stated he did not know if he would be able to “do it.”

         The petitioner then forced the victim back to the bed and forced her to get “on top of him.” He told her “[the victim's] job was to get him off.” He also forced the victim to put his penis in her anus. Thereafter, he told the victim he didn't know whether to kill her or take her with him. The victim asked the petitioner to let her go. He told her he could not do that. He ordered the victim to text her friends that she “wasn't going to be able to make it.” The petitioner then called his pastor and told him that he “had this girl held up at gun point, and that he didn't know what he should do.”

         Next, the petitioner forced the victim at gunpoint into the kitchen and gave her some vodka and orange juice to drink, while he drank orange juice. He then forced her back into the bedroom. The petitioner told that the victim he had tried to stab his stepfather and had a teardrop tattoo on his face because he had paralyzed someone. He also told her he lived at the rent house across from her apartment. The victim began crying, and the petitioner said he was sorry he had “put [the victim] through this.” He then had vaginal sex with her while holding the gun in his hand. He also had anal sex with her. Additionally, he forced her to give him oral sex. He forced the victim's head onto his penis so hard that she vomited. The victim went into the bathroom, vomited again, and rinsed her mouth with water. When she came back into the bedroom, the petitioner forced her to bend over the bed and had anal sex with her. He then had vaginal sex with her. The petitioner ejaculated and told the victim to take a shower “to get his DNA out from inside of [the victim].”

         Thereafter, the petitioner told the victim to get dressed. He looked through the victim's purse and asked her if she had any jewelry of any value. He told her he was going to need money to get out of the state “after raping and kidnap.” The victim told the petitioner she did not have anything, but they could go to the ATM. Thereafter, while armed with his knife and the gun, the petitioner drove the victim to the ATM in her vehicle. He brought extra ammunition for the gun “in case he got into a shoot out with the cops.” The victim testified that she gave the petitioner $300 from the ATM because he “asked for it, and [the victim] was trying to cooperate.” The petitioner stood ten feet away from her as she used the ATM. She believed he had the gun in his hand. She testified she did not try to run because, she “didn't know how well or if [defendant] could shoot, ” and she knew she could not “run faster than a bullet.”

         The petitioner was apprehended after a Louisiana State Trooper stopped the victim's vehicle for a broken taillight. The victim immediately told the trooper she had been raped and kidnapped.

         In a February 13, 2011 recorded statement, the petitioner claimed that he had consensual sex with the victim and that she loaned him the money from the ATM. In a February 16, 2011 recorded statement, the petitioner claimed he went into the victim's unlocked apartment and took her gun from her because she was going to shoot him. He claimed he kept his knife in his pocket. He indicated he put the gun to the victim's head and approximately five or ten minutes later they had sex. He continued to claim the victim loaned him the money from the ATM. He denied putting the gun inside the victim's vagina.

         Procedural History

         After a trial by jury conducted in March of 2012, the petitioner was found guilty of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. On April 3, 2012, the petitioner was sentenced.

         The petitioner subsequently filed a counseled appeal. On February 15, 2013, the petitioner's convictions were affirmed by the appellate court.[2] See State v. Martin, 12-1024 (La.App. 1 Cir. 2/15/13), 2013 WL 595922. Writs were denied by the Louisiana Supreme Court on October 11, 2013. See State v. Martin, 13-0589 (La. 10/11/13), 123 So.3d 1214. The petitioner thereafter filed an application for post-conviction relief, which was denied by the trial court on August 11, 2014. Writs were denied by the appellate court and the Louisiana Supreme Court on November 3, 2014 and October 2, 2015, respectively. See State v. Brown, 14-1383 (La.App. 1 Cir. 11/31/14), 2014 WL 12570068 and State ex. Rel. Martin v. State, 14-2526 (La. 10/2/15), 178 So.3d 585. The instant application for habeas corpus relief was filed in this Court on April 21, 2016.

         Standard of Review

         The standard of review in this Court is that set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Pursuant to that statute, an application for a writ of habeas corpus shall not be granted with respect to any claim that a state court has adjudicated on the merits unless the adjudication has “(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.” Relief is authorized if a state court has arrived at a conclusion contrary to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court has decided a case differently than the Supreme Court on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 413 (2000). Relief is also available if the state court has identified the correct legal principle but has unreasonably applied that principle to the facts of the petitioner's case or has reached a decision based on an unreasonable factual determination. See Montoya v. Johnson, 226 F.3d 399, 404 (5th Cir. 2000). Mere error by the state court or mere disagreement on the part of this Court with the state court determination is not enough; the standard is one of objective reasonableness. Id. See also Williams v. Taylor, supra, 529 U.S. at 409 (“[A] federal habeas court making the ‘unreasonable application' inquiry should ask whether the state court's application of clearly established federal law was objectively unreasonable”). State court determinations of underlying factual issues are presumed to be correct, and the petitioner has the burden to rebut that presumption with clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). The State contends that, applying this standard to the petitioner's claims, there is no basis for the granting of habeas relief.

         Substantive ...

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