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Miller v. Superintendent, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

January 28, 2015

SCOTT MILLER, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Respondent.

ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.

Scott Miller is a state prisoner serving the executed portion of the sentence imposed following his 2005 conviction in LaGrange County for two counts of dealing in methamphetamine. He seeks a writ of habeas corpus. Claims asserted under Indiana law have been dismissed.

Having considered Miller's petition, the respondent's return to show cause, Miller's reply and the expanded record, and being duly advised, the court finds for the reasons explained in this Entry that Miller's petition for writ of habeas corpus must be denied.

I. The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

Background

Miller's conviction was affirmed on direct appeal in Miller v. State, No. 44A03-0506-CR-259 (Ind.Ct.App. Mar. 16, 2006)( Miller I ). The trial court's denial of Miller's petition for post-conviction relief was affirmed on appeal in Miller v. State, No. 44A05-1207-PC-376 (Ind.Ct.App. Apr. 18, 2013)( Miller II ).

District court review of a habeas petition presumes all factual findings of the state court to be correct, absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Daniels v. Knight, 476 F.3d 426, 434 (7th Cir. 2007). No showing of such a nature has been made here. The court therefore adopts the factual account of the Indiana Court of Appeals:

On February 26, 2003, a confidential informant ("CI-399") working for the Indiana Multi-Agency Group Enforcement Drug Taskforce ("IMAGE") purchased 0.64 grams of methamphetamine from Miller. On March 10, 2003, a second confidential informant ("CI-387") working for IMAGE purchased more than 3.62 grams of methamphetamine from Miller. Each CI had been searched for contraband, provided with buy money, and equipped with a transmitter and a recording device before his buy. In each case, officers observed the CI enter Miller's residence, listened to the conversations that took place, and observed the CI exit Miller's residence. After each buy, the CI gave the drugs to the police and was searched for contraband. The police also retrieved the audio recordings.
On July 28, 2004, the State charged Miller with dealing in methamphetamine as a Class A felony and dealing in a schedule II controlled substance as a Class B felony. A jury convicted Miller of both charges. He was sentenced to fifty years for the Class A felony and twenty years for the Class B felony, with the sentences to run concurrently.

Miller I, at pp. 2-3.

Miller's Claims

Miller's cognizable habeas claims are that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial and in his direct appeal. Miller's efforts to raise other claims or complain as to how his claims have been characterized are without effect.

Applicable Law

A federal court may grant habeas relief only if the petitioner demonstrates that he is in custody "in violation of the Constitution or laws... of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (1996). Miller filed his habeas petition after the effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). His petition, therefore, is subject to the AEDPA. See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336 (1997). When a habeas petitioner's claim was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings, section 2254(d) provides that a federal court may grant a writ of habeas corpus only if that adjudication was: (1) "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the ...


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