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Long v. Brown

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

July 1, 2015

JONAH LONG, Petitioner,
v.
RICHARD BROWN, Respondent.

ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.

Jonah Long, a state prisoner, challenges the validity of his conviction for dealing in methamphetamine through his petition for writ of habeas corpus. For the reasons explained in this Entry, Long's petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied and the action dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the court finds that a certificate of appealability should not be issued.

I. 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). Long's petition is governed by provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). The AEDPA

amended 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) to narrow the power of federal courts to grant habeas corpus relief to state prisoners. Under that Act, the critical question on the merits of most habeas corpus petitions shifted from whether the petitioner was in custody in violation of the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States to a much narrower question: whether the decision of the state court keeping the petitioner in custody 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...." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

Avila v. Richardson, 751 F.3d 534, 535 (7th Cir. 2014).

A decision is contrary to clearly established federal law if the state court applies a rule that conflicts with a rule identified by the Supreme Court, or if the state court reaches a different conclusion than the Supreme Court in a case with materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000). A decision involves an unreasonable application of clearly established law if the state court "identifies the correct governing legal principle... but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case." Id. at 413, 120 S.Ct. 1495. Under both tests, mere error is not sufficient; a state court's decision must be "objectively unreasonable." Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 76, 123 S.Ct. 1166, 155 L.Ed.2d 144 (2003).

Simonson v. Hepp, 549 F.3d 1101, 1105-06 (7th Cir. 2008).

As explained by the Supreme Court, the AEDPA "places a new constraint on the power of a federal habeas court to grant a state prisoner's application for a writ of habeas corpus with respect to claims adjudicated on the merits in state court." Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000); see also Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 337 (2003) ("Statutes such as AEDPA have placed more, rather than fewer, restrictions on the power of federal courts to grant writs of habeas corpus to state prisoners."). "The petitioner carries the burden of proof." Cullen v. Pinholster, 131 S.Ct. 1388, 1398 (2011).

II. Background

It is noted in Jones v. Butler, 778 F.3d 575, 578 (7th Cir. 2015), that "[i]n § 2254 proceedings, federal courts are foreclosed from fact-finding. [The Court] therefore defer[s] to the findings of the [state] court, which have not been challenged and are presumed to be correct unless rebutted by clear and convincing evidence." (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1) and Harris v. Thompson, 698 F.3d 609, 613 (7th Cir. 2012)). The facts and procedural history as set forth by the Indiana Court of Appeals on direct appeal are as follows:

On September 7, 2012, Indiana State Police Trooper Jeffrey Sego and several other officers conducted a narcotics investigation at a hotel in Indianapolis. Sego went to a room and knocked on the door. He knew that Long was registered as an occupant of the room. Kami Clemens opened the door. Clemens allowed Sego into the room, where he saw digital scales and glass pipes.
After speaking with Clemens, Sego advised the other officers to be on the lookout for Long, who was driving a silver Chrysler 300. Police officer Adam Buchta was stationed near the hotel in an unmarked car. He ran a license check on Long and learned that Long's license was suspended. Buchta also found a picture of Long, which he shared with Indiana State Trooper Dean Wildauer. Wildauer was also stationed in an unmarked car, farther from the hotel than Buchta.
Later, Wildauer saw Long driving a silver Chrysler 300 toward the hotel. Long turned onto the street that accessed the hotel's parking lot, but he failed to use his turn signal. Wildauer informed Buchta of Long's failure to use his turn signal.
Buchta saw Long approach the hotel. He activated his car's lights to signal Long to stop. Long entered the hotel's parking lot, "slammed [the car] into park, " and got out. Tr. p. 125. Long ran away, disregarding Buchta's commands to stop. He ran across a street and up a ramp to a nearby interstate highway. Buchta followed and watched Long run ...

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