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Wallace v. Landry

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

August 16, 2019

WILLIAM LEE WALLACE
v.
JEFF LANDRY ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JAGKSON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is the United States Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (Doc. 18) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Report and Recommendation addresses Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1). Petitioner challenges his conviction for second-degree murder in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court. (Doc. 18 at p. 2). The Magistrate Judge recommends that the Petition be denied. (Id. at p. 13).

         The Report and Recommendation notified the parties that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), they had fourteen days from the date they received the Report and Recommendation to file written objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations therein. (Doc. 19 at p. 1). Petitioner filed objections into the record. (Doc. 19).

         For the reasons stated herein, the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (Doc. 18) is ADOPTED as the Court's opinion herein. Accordingly, the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1) is DENIED.

         II. OBJECTIONS

         A. Failure to Call Expert Witness

         Petitioner contends that the Magistrate Judge erred in concluding that his trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance when he failed to hire an independent medical and/or forensic expert to rebut the testimony of the state's medical expert. (Doc. 19 at p. 2). Petitioner asserts that an expert would have shown at trial that Petitioner did not possess a specific intent to kill, which is an element of second-degree murder under Louisiana law. (Id.)

         This argument fails. To obtain habeas relief for ineffective assistance of counsel, a petitioner must demonstrate (1) that his counsel's performance was deficient and (2) that the deficient performance prejudiced his defense. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that Petitioner has not proven prejudice.

         The facts in Petitioner's case, as summarized in the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal, were as follows: Petitioner stabbed Robert Jenkins in the back, while Jenkins attempted to jumpstart his car on the side of U.S. Hwy. 61. (Doc. 18 at p. 3). Jenkins then turned around, at which point Petitioner stabbed Jenkins again. Jenkins began to flee and Petitioner chased him. (Id.) Eventually Petitioner abandoned the chase. (Id.) Jenkins died from his injuries. (Id.). The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge, and cannot conclude that a medical or forensic expert would have led the jury to conclude that Petitioner did not have a specific intent to kill.

         B. Failure to Object to Other Crimes Evidence

         Petitioner contends that the Magistrate Judge erred in concluding that trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance when he failed to object to other crimes evidence. (Doc. 19 at p. 3). Petitioner does not raise any arguments in support of this objection. After a thorough review of the law and facts regarding this claim, the Court finds no error in the Magistrate Judge's conclusion, so it will not be modified.

         C. Insufficiency of the Evidence

         Petitioner contends that the Magistrate Judge erred in concluding that Petitioner should not be granted habeas relief on the basis of the insufficiency of the evidence at trial. (Doc. 19 at p. 4). Petitioner again does not raise any arguments in support of this objection. After a thorough review of the law and facts regarding this claim, ...


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