United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation to Dismiss Petitioner Allen Snyder's
Request for Habeas Corpus Relief (Rec. Doc. 13) and
Petitioner's Objections to the Report and Recommendation
(Rec. Doc. 14). Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED
that Petitioner's Objections are
OVERRULED and the Report and Recommendation
are ADOPTED as the Court's Opinion,
dismissing the captioned Section 2254 action
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Allen Snyder is a state prisoner incarcerated at the
Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.
See Rec. Doc. 13 at 1. In 1996, petitioner was
originally convicted by a twelve-member jury of first degree
murder and subsequently sentenced to death. See State v.
Snyder, 128 So.3d 370, 372 (5th Cir. 2013). However, in
2008, the United States Supreme Court reversed the judgment
and remanded the matter after finding a Batson
violation. See Snyder v. Louisiana, 552 U.S.
January 29, 2009, a grand jury indicted petitioner for
second-degree murder. See State v. Snyder, 128 So.3d
370, 372 (5th Cir. 2013). The State also filed notices of
intent to use evidence of other crimes. See id. On
May 4, 2010, a Prieur hearing was held, and on
May 27, 2010, the motion was granted. See id.
Petitioner was denied review of that ruling and trial began
in 2012. See id. At trial, the jury heard testimony
from defendant and his ex-wife as well as saw medical records
that were introduced into evidence. See Id. at
373-75. Testimony and evidence showed that petitioner and his
ex-wife had a troubled marriage in which petitioner was
jealous and controlling. See Id. at 373. According
to the evidence, the jealousy escalated to physical
abuse causing the ex-wife to eventually move
out. See id. However, in 1995, Petitioner wanted to
reconcile with his ex-wife. See Id. Nevertheless,
petitioner found his ex-wife with another man, the victim,
and eventually engaged in an altercation in which petitioner
stabbed the victim nine times and his ex-wife 19 times.
See Id. at 374-75.
February 2, 2012, the jury found petitioner guilty as
charged. Petitioner was sentenced to life imprisonment.
See Id. at 373. The Court of Appeals affirmed
petitioner's conviction and sentence. The Louisiana
Supreme Court denied his related writ application. See
Id. at 383; State v. Snyder, 138 So.3d 643 (La.
2014). Petitioner unsuccessfully sought post-conviction
relief in the state courts. See Rec. Doc. 13.
24, 2017, petitioner filed the instant federal habeas corpus
application alleging that he received ineffective assistance
of counsel at both the trial and appellate levels.
See Rec. Doc. Nos. 1, 3. On November 3, 2017,
respondents filed a response in opposition to the habeas
petition arguing that the petitioner's claims were
procedurally barred. See Rec. Doc. 11. On November
13, 2017, Petitioner filed a reply. See Rec. Doc.
12. On September 7, 2018, the Magistrate Judge reviewed the
petition and recommended it be dismissed with prejudice.
See Rec. Doc. 13. On September 18, 2018, Petitioner
filed his objections to the Report and Recommendation.
See Rec. Doc. 14.
28 U.S.C. § 2254- General Principals
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”) controls review of this 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). For 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.