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Walker v. Sevier

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 30, 2015

CHARLES A. WALKER, Petitioner,
v.
MARK A. SEVIER, Respondent.

ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.

Petitioner Charles Walker was convicted in an Indiana state court of robbery and being a habitual offender. He is currently serving a forty-year sentence for these crimes. Mr. Walker now seeks a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that he was denied effective assistance of appellate counsel during his direct appeal.

For the reasons explained in this Entry, Mr. Walker's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied and the action dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a certificate of appealability should not issue.

I.

Background

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 Daniels v. Knight, 476 F.3d 426, 434 (7th Cir. 2007). Mr. Walker does not challenge any of the facts set forth in the Indiana Court of Appeals' decisions. The Court therefore adopts the factual summary set out in each of the Indiana Court of Appeals' decisions. On direct appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals summarized the facts as follows:

On November 29, 2005, Russell Folino received a telephone call from the Franklin Bar and Grill (the bar) in LaPorte County indicating that he had won a raffle prize of $730. Folino was a regular at the bar. His girlfriend drove him there around 6:00 that evening, and he collected his winnings in open view. There were roughly thirty or forty people in the bar that Tuesday evening. Folino placed all but about $100 of the money in his wallet, which he kept in his back pocket. With the remaining money, Folio began buying drinks for himself and his friends. Folino, who was very joyous about his winnings, was warned by the bartender and a friend to be more careful with the money.
Walker arrived at the bar alone around 7:00. While inside the bar, he wore a large winter jack with a fur-rimmed hood. Walker roamed the bar but at times was in close proximity to Folino. Timothy Malott, a friend of Folino's, became nervous when Walker moved in close and "seemed to be eyeballing [Folino's] wallet." Malott nudged Folino and warned, Hey, man, be cool with that wallet open. We don't know all these people.' Folino agreed and put his wallet back in his pocket.
Around 7:30, Folino went into the empty men's restroom, followed soon by Walker. As Folino was at the urinal, a man entered and struck him in the head multiple times from behind. The heavy blows caused Folino to collapse to one knee. Folino pushed the man against the sink, and then the man fell on top of Folino. As the two struggled on the ground, the man reached "straight for [Folino's] back pocket" and took his wallet. The man then kicked Folino and ran out of the bathroom door. Folino could not identify the attacker. Folino, however, indicated that the man wore a big parka with "fur edging" around the hood, which was pulled down over his face.
Others in the bar head the commotion coming from inside the bathroom. Soon thereafter, Walker ran out of the bathroom and out of the bar, knocking down chairs along his way. He was wearing his coat with the hood up. Malott testified that he could "definitely" tell it was Walker who ran by him and out of the bar. Folino exited the bathroom disoriented and badly beaten. He exclaimed, That guy just stole my wallet.'
About two weeks later, Walker was arrested and he voluntarily gave a statement to a detective. Walker admitted being at the bar on the night in question. Walker stated that he was using the bathroom when an intoxicated Folino walked in and proceeded to accidentally urinate on Walker's shoe. Walker alleged that Folino then directed a racial slur at him. As a result, Walker admittedly struck Folino at least twice in the face, causing Folino to fall to the ground. Walker, however, denied robbing Folino and explained that when the incident was over he (Walker) simply walked out of the bathroom and exited the bar.
Following a jury trial, Walker was convicted of robbing Folino. He was also adjudicated a habitual offender. The trial court subsequently imposed a sentence of twenty years in prison for the robbery conviction, enhanced by twenty years for being a habitual offender.

Walker v. State, 872 N.E.2d 704, 2007 WL 2405067 (Ind.Ct.App. 2007) (" Walker I ").

On direct appeal, Mr. Walker challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his robbery conviction and whether a forty-year sentence was appropriate. See Walker I, 2007 WL 2405067, at *1. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Mr. Walker's conviction and sentence. See id.

Following his direct appeal, Mr. Walker pursued state post-conviction relief, raising claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel and ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. As relevant here, Mr. Walker argued before the Indiana Court of Appeals that both his trial and appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his habitual offender conviction, the trial counsel by failing to move for a directed verdict and the appellate counsel by failing to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. See Walker v. State, 988 N.E.2d 1181, 1184 (Ind.Ct.App. 2013) (" Walker II "). The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the post-conviction court's denial of all of Mr. Walker's ineffective assistance of counsel claims. See id. at 1192.

Mr. Walker filed a petition to transfer with Indiana Supreme Court on June 21, 2013. The Indiana Supreme Court ...


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