United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
William T. Lawrence, United States District Court
convicted and after exhaustion or waiver of any right to
appeal, a defendant is presumed to stand “fairly and
finally convicted.” United States v. Frady,
456 U.S. 152, 164 (1982). For the reasons explained in this
Entry, the effort Darren Ridley to show otherwise fails. His
petition for a writ of habeas corpus will therefore be
denied. In addition, the Court finds that a certificate of
appealability should not issue. This disposition is compelled
by the following facts and circumstances:
Petitioner Ridley is in the closing months of serving a
federal sentence and upon its completion will be called upon
to serve a lengthy sentence imposed by the Marion Superior
Court. The current Indiana Attorney General is therefore
substituted as to the respondent as shown in the caption of
Ridley seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(a). “In § 2254 proceedings, federal
courts are foreclosed from fact-finding. We therefore defer
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.” Jones v.
Butler, 778 F.3d 575, 578 (7th Cir. 2015)(citing 28
U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1) and Harris v. Thompson, 698
F.3d 609, 613 (7th Cir. 2012)). A state court's factual
finding is unreasonable only if it “ignores the clear
and convincing weight of the evidence.” Taylor v.
Grounds, 721 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2013) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted).
Ridley has not shown the factual findings of the Indiana
state courts to be unreasonable. The Court therefore looks to
the summary of the evidence made in the course of his direct
[Ridley and his co-defendants], members of a gang, planned to
kill Stacey Reed in retaliation for Reed's interference
in the gang's drug operations. The defendants amassed a
stockpile of assault rifles, ventured to the apartment
complex where they believed they would find Reed, and,
standing shoulder to shoulder, blasted a hail of gunfire at a
wall of the complex. A teenager was killed and a child was
Ridley v. State, 690 N.E.2d 177, 179 (Ind. 1997).
Other details of the offenses are set forth in the appeal of
his co-defendants in Williams v. State, 690 N.E.2d
162 (Ind. 1997).
Ridley was convicted at trial of conspiracy to commit murder,
murder, and attempted murder. His appeal resulted in the
attempted murder conviction being vacated and the case being
remanded for resentencing. The trial court modified
Ridley's sentence to 110 years on June 29, 2000.
Ridley filed an action for post-conviction relief on January
21, 2002. The trial court's denial of that petition was
affirmed in Ridley v. State, 910 N.E.2d 862
(Ind.Ct.App. 2009). No petition to transfer was filed with
the Indiana Supreme Court.
November 15, 2013, Ridley filed a notice of appeal in the
trial court in which he purported to be appealing that
court's order of October 29, 2013. That appeal was
docketed with the Indiana Court of Appeals but was dismissed
for procedural reasons on April 24, 2014. Ridley's motion
to rescind that dismissal was denied on June 23, 2014. A
petition to transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court was filed
on September 23, 2014 and was denied on January 6, 2015.
filing of this action followed. Ridley's habeas petition
was Dated: either November 2, 2015 or December 30, 2015. It
is considered to have been “filed” on the date it
was signed and delivered to prison authorities for mailing to
"[W]hen examining a habeas corpus petition, the first
duty of a district court . . . is to examine the procedural
status of the cause of action." United States ex
rel. Simmons v. Gramley, 915 F.2d 1128, 1132 (7th Cir.
Our system affords a defendant convicted in state court
numerous opportunities to challenge the constitutionality of
his conviction. He may raise constitutional claims on direct
appeal, in postconviction proceedings available under state
law, and in a petition for a writ of habeas corpus brought
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (1994 ed. and Supp. V). See
generally 1 J. Liebman & R. Hertz, Federal Habeas Corpus
Practice and Procedure § 5.1.a (3d ed. 1998). These
vehicles for review, however, are not available indefinitely
and without limitation. Procedural barriers, such as statutes
of limitations and rules concerning procedural default and
exhaustion of remedies, operate to limit access to review on
the merits of a constitutional claim. See, e.g., United
States v. Olano,507 U.S. 725, 731, 113 S.Ct. 1770, 123
L.Ed.2d 508 (1993) (“‘No procedural principle is
more familiar to this Court than that a constitutional right
. . . may be forfeited in ...