United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation to dismiss Petitioner Roger Dale Medley's
request for habeas corpus relief (Rec. Doc. 16) and
Petitioner's objections to the Report and Recommendation
(Rec. Doc. Nos. 19, 20). For the reasons discussed below,
IT IS ORDERED that Petitioner's
objections are OVERRULED and the Report and
Recommendation are ADOPTED as the
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
December 2012, Petitioner was charged by an indictment
alleging that he committed aggravated rape of his
three-year-old son. See State v. Medley, No. 2005 KA
0100, 2015 WL 5515980, at *1 (La.App. 1st Cir. Sept. 18,
2015). According to the record, Petitioner's son told his
mother that the Petitioner sexually assaulted him when the
Petitioner forced the victim to perform oral sex on him.
See id. After an investigation that lasted nearly
one year, Petitioner was arrested. See id. At trial,
the jury heard testimony from the Petitioner, the
Petitioner's two witnesses, the victim, the victim's
mother, the forensic interviewer, the detective and the
victim's therapist. See id. at *2-4. While there
was conflicting testimony between the witnesses,
jury found the victim's testimony sufficient. On August
7, 2014, the jury found Petitioner guilty, returning a
responsive verdict of indecent behavior with a juvenile.
See id. at *1; Rec. Doc. 16 at 1 n.1.
August 15, 2014, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of 20
years imprisonment without the benefit of probation, parole,
or suspension of sentence. The First Circuit Court of Appeal
affirmed on September 18, 2015. See Medley, 2015 WL
5515980, at *9. On November 18, 2016, the Louisiana Supreme
Court denied his writ application. See State v.
Medley, 210 So.3d 282. On May 9, 2017, Petitioner filed
an application for post-conviction relief. It was denied on
September 11, 2017.
October 30, 2017, Petitioner filed the instant federal habeas
corpus application. See Rec. Doc. 7. According to
Petitioner, there was insufficiency of evidence to convict
him of a crime. See id. On July 31, 2018, the
magistrate judge reviewed the petition and recommended it be
denied with prejudice. See Rec. Doc. 16. On August
16, 2018, Petitioner filed his first objections to the report
and recommendation. See Rec. Doc. 19. Then, on
September 17, 2018, Petitioner filed his second objections.
See Rec. Doc. 20.
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”) controls this Court's review of a
28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition. See Poree
v. Collins, 866 F.3d 235, 245 (5th Cir. 2017)
(“Federal habeas proceedings are subject to the rules
prescribed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act . . .”). Under § 2254, an application for a
writ of habeas corpus may be denied on the merits, even if an
applicant has failed to exhaust state court remedies.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2); Jones v.
Jones, 163 F.3d 285, 299 (5th Cir. 1998). Enacted as
part of the AEDPA, the amended subsections 2254(d)(1) and (2)
provide the standards of review for questions of fact,
questions of law, and mixed questions of both.
pure questions of fact, factual findings are presumed to be
correct. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1) (“In
a proceeding instituted by an application for a writ of
habeas corpus . . . a determination of a factual issue made
by a State court shall be presumed to be correct.”).
The applicant has the burden of rebutting the presumption by
clear and convincing evidence. See id. However, a
writ of habeas corpus may be granted if the adjudication of
the claim on the merits “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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2); Hankton
v. Boutte, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126899 *1, *10 (E.D. La
June 29, 2018).
pure questions of law and mixed questions of law and fact, a
state court's determination is reviewed under §
2254(d)(1). See Hill v. Johnson, 210 F.3d 481, 485
(5th Cir. 2000). Specifically, with mixed questions, a state
court's determination receives deference unless the
decision was either contrary to federal law or involved an
unreasonable application of federal law. See §
2254(d)(1); Hill, 210 F.3d at 485.
court's decision is contrary to federal law if (1) the
state court applies a rule different from the governing law
set forth in the Supreme Court's cases or (2) the state
court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court when
there are “materially indistinguishable facts.”
See Poree, 866 F.3d at 246; Wooten v.
Thaler, 598 F.3d 215, 218 (5th Cir. 2010). A state
court's decision involves an unreasonable application of
federal law when it applies a correct legal rule unreasonably
to the facts of the case. See White v. Woodall, 134
S.Ct. 1697, 1706 (2014). An inquiry under the unreasonable
context involves not whether the state court's
determination was incorrect, but whether the determination
was objectively unreasonable. Boyer v. Vannoy, 863
F.3d 428, 454 (5th Cir. 2017).
court in Boyer stated that the determination must
not be “merely wrong, ” and that “clear
error” will not be enough to overturn a state
court's determination. Id; see also Puckett
v. Epps, 641 F.3d 657, 663 (5th Cir. 2011) (finding that
unreasonable is not the same as incorrect, and thus an
incorrect application of the law will be affirmed if it is
not also unreasonable). Even if a state court incorrectly
applies Supreme Court precedent, that mistake alone, does not
mean that a petitioner is entitled to habeas relief. See
Puckett, 641 F.3d at 663.
refer to the Supreme Court's decision in Jackson v.
Virginia when reviewing and analyzing claims challenging
the sufficiency of the evidence. Courts must determine,
“after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable
to the prosecution, [whether] any rational trier of fact
could have found that the essential elements of the crime
[were proven] beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Jackson, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979). However, this
review does not mean that courts can reweigh the evidence or
the credibility of the witnesses. Hankton, 2018 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 126899 at *14 (quoting United States v.
Young, 107 Fed.Appx. 442, 443 (5th Cir. 2004)).
Court must review Petitioner's claim under §
2254(d)(1) as his claim is one of mixed law and fact. In
other words, this Court will defer to the state court's
determination unless the petitioner shows that the result was
contrary to, or ...