United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
KEITH S. BARRON
A. DOUGHTY MAG JUDGE.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Petitioner Keith S. Barron, an inmate in the custody of
Louisiana's Department of Corrections, filed the instant
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 on October 24, 2018. [doc. # 1]. Barron attacks
his 2016 conviction for aggravated battery and the
corresponding ten-year sentence imposed by Louisiana's
4th Judicial District Court, Ouachita Parish. This matter has
been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and
recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 636 and the standing orders of the Court.
underlying facts in this case have been set forth by the
Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal as follows:
In December 2015, Barron had an altercation with the victim,
Tonya Ard, at the apartment they shared in Monroe. Barron cut
Ard's throat and stabbed her numerous times in the
abdomen. Ard survived the attack and identified Barron as the
assailant. An arrest warrant was issued for Barron. He was
found in Shreveport and arrested pursuant to the warrant. He
was charged with attempted second degree murder. Barron
claimed that he acted in self-defense. Following a trial, the
jury convicted Barron of the responsive verdict of aggravated
battery. Motions for post verdict judgment of acquittal,
arrest of judgment, and new trial were denied. Barron was
sentenced to serve ten years at hard labor. He appealed,
claiming there was insufficient evidence upon which to base
the conviction and that the trial court gave an erroneous
jury instruction on self-defense.
State v. Barron, 51, 491 (La.App. 2 Cir. 8/9/17),
243 So.3d 1178, 1179-80.
filed a direct appeal in the Second Circuit Court of Appeal,
arguing there was insufficient evidence to support his
conviction and the trial court gave an erroneous jury
instruction on self-defense. On August 9, 2017, the Second
Circuit affirmed Barron's conviction and sentence.
Id. at 1187. On June 1, 2018, the Louisiana Supreme
Court denied Barron's subsequent application for writ of
certiorari and/or review. State v. Barron, 2017-1529
(La. 6/1/18), 243 So.3d 1063. Barron did not file a petition
for certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. [doc. # 1
September of 2018, Barron filed an application for
post-conviction relief in the state district court, claiming
(1) ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel;
(2) he was denied equal protection under the Fourteenth
Amendment because the jury was selected in a racially
discriminatory manner; (3) the trial court erred in failing
to admonish the prosecutor after he made prejudicial remarks
in the presence of the jury; and (4) he was denied due
process because the State withheld exculpatory evidence until
the day of trial and the jury failed to apply La. R.S. §
14:19 when he raised the affirmative defense of
justification. [doc. # 8-1 at 71-111]. On September 24, 2018,
the district court denied his application “on the
showing made.” (Id. at 70). Barron did not
appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. [doc. # 1 at 4-5].
October 24, 2018, Barron filed the instant federal habeas
corpus petition, raising the following grounds for relief:
(1) ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) he was denied
equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment because the
jury was selected in a racially discriminatory manner; (3)
the trial court erred in failing to admonish the prosecutor
after he made prejudicial remarks in the presence of the
jury; (4) he was denied due process because the State
withheld exculpatory evidence until the day of trial and the
jury failed to apply La. R.S. § 14:19; and (5) the
evidence introduced at trial was insufficient to sustain a
conviction. [docs. # 1; 1-2].
November 26, 2018, the undersigned determined Barron
exhausted only his insufficient evidence claim and ordered
Barron to advise the Court whether he wished to voluntarily
dismiss his unexhausted claims and proceed only with his
exhausted claim or dismiss the Petition without prejudice to
his right to re-file it after he attempts to exhaust his
claims. [doc. # 9]. Barron elected to amend his Petition,
voluntarily dismiss his unexhausted claims, and proceed only
with his exhausted claim. [doc. # 10]. Thus, before the Court
is only Barron's insufficient evidence claim.
State filed its response on January 22, 2019. [doc. # 17].
Barron filed a reply on March 6, 2019. [doc. # 22]. This
matter is ripe.
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”) of 1996, 28 U.S.C. § 2254, governs
habeas corpus relief of a state prisoner. Section 2254(a)
limits federal court review to applications alleging that a
person is in state custody “in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
After a state court has adjudicated a prisoner's claims
on the ...