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Salisbury v. Butts

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

June 15, 2015

MARK SALISBURY, Petitioner,
v.
KEITH BUTTS, Respondent.

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

TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

Petitioner Mark Salisbury seeks habeas corpus relief with respect to his conviction for child molesting in the DeKalb Superior Court. Having considered the pleadings, the expanded record, and the parties’ arguments, and being duly advised, the Court finds that Salisbury has not shown his entitlement to relief and that his petition for writ of habeas corpus must be denied. In addition, the court finds that a certificate of appealability should not issue.

I. Discussion

AEDPA. 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). Salisbury filed his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 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). The AEDPA “place[s] a new constraint” on the ability of a federal court to grant habeas corpus relief to a state prisoner “with respect to claims adjudicated on the merits in state court.” Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000). The Court of Appeals has reviewed the standard to be applied here:

When a state court has ruled on the merits of a habeas claim, our review is circumscribed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 783– 84, 178 L.Ed.2d 624 (2011). Under AEDPA, we may grant relief only if the state court's decision on the merits “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States” or “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)(1) and (2). Plainly stated, these are demanding standards.

Atkins v. Zenk, 667 F.3d 939, 943-44 (7th Cir. 2012); see also Bailey v. Lemke, 735 F.3d 945, 949 (7th Cir. 2013). As the United States Supreme Court recently explained,

AEDPA's standard is intentionally difficult to meet. We have explained that clearly established Federal law for purposes of § 2254(d)(1) includes only the holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of this Court's decisions. And an unreasonable application of those holdings must be objectively unreasonable, not merely wrong; even clear error will not suffice. To satisfy this high bar, a habeas petitioner is required to show that the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.

Woods v. Donald, 135 S.Ct. 1372, 1376 (2015) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

Salisbury’s conviction rests on his plea of guilty. His habeas claim is that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel in entering that plea of guilty. The pertinent question for the present habeas review is whether the Indiana state courts “unreasonably applied a federal doctrine declared by the United States Supreme Court.” Redmond v. Kingston, 240 F.3d 590 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). “A state-court decision involves an unreasonable application of this Court's clearly established precedents if the state court applies this Court's precedents to the facts in an objectively unreasonable manner.” Brown v. Payton, 544 U.S. 131, 141 (2005) (internal citations omitted).

The first step under § 2254(d)(1) is “to identify the ‘clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States’ that governs the habeas petitioner’s claims.” Marshall v. Rodgers, 133 S.Ct. 1446, 1449 (2013) (citing Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. at 412; Knowles v. Mirzayance, 556 U.S. 111, 122 (2009)).

As noted, the claim in this action is that Salisbury was denied the effective assistance of counsel. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a criminal accused the right to assistance of counsel, and “the right to counsel is the right to the effective assistance of counsel." McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771 n.14 (1970). This guarantee exists "in order to protect the fundamental right to a fair trial." Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 684 (1984). Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), provides the clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States that governs Salisbury’s claim.

Strickland recognized that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense” entails that defendants are entitled to be represented by an attorney who meets at least a minimal standard of competence. Id., at 685–687. “Under Strickland, we first determine whether counsel’s representation ‘fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.’ Then we ask whether ‘there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.’” Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 366 (2010) (quoting Strickland, supra, at 688, 694).

Hinton v. Alabama, 134 S.Ct. 1081, 1087-88 (2014)(parallel citations omitted).

To demonstrate ineffective assistance of counsel in the context of a challenge to a guilty plea, a habeas petitioner must show both that counsel's advice fell below an objective standard of reasonableness as well as a “reasonable probability” that, but for counsel's errors, the petitioner would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial. Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 58–59 (1985) (the two-part test of Strickland applies to challenges to guilty pleas based on the ineffective assistance of counsel); Missouri v. Frye, 132 S.Ct. 1399, 1405 (2012) (reaffirming that Hill is properly applied to claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in the context of acceptance of a plea bargain). To obtain relief on this type of claim, a petitioner must convince the court that a decision to reject the plea bargain would have been rational under the circumstances. Padilla v. Kentucky, 528 U.S. 480, 486 (2010)(citing Roe v. Flores–Ortega, 528 U.S. 470, 480, 486 (2000)). This determination is an objective one which is “dependent on the likely outcome of a trial had the defendant not pleaded guilty.” Meyer v. Branker, 506 F.3d 358, 369 (4th Cir. 2007). “[W]hat matters is whether proceeding to trial would have been objectively reasonable in light of all of the facts.” United States v. Fugit, 703 ...


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