United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
CARL A. COLEMAN, Petitioner,
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Simon UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Coleman filed this habeas corpus case as a pro se prisoner,
but I appointed Michael Parkinson to represent him because
Coleman “convinced me that there [were] important
issues to address, [and he was] unable to adequately present
this case even if I gave him additional time to do so.”
DE 38 at 2. The amended habeas corpus petition (DE 52)
filed by Mr. Parkinson challenges Coleman's 2010 State
court convictions in Elkhart County for Attempted Rape,
Burglary, and Confinement as an Habitual Offender. He was
sentenced to 53 years by the Elkhart County Judge. Coleman
claims that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to
have found him guilty.
Coleman's trial was a swearing contest between him and
the victim as to what happened. The jury believed the victim.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Indiana deferred to the
jury explaining, “we neither reweigh the evidence nor
assess witness credibility, and will affirm unless no
rational factfinder could have found the defendant guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt.” Coleman v. State,
941 N.E.2d 1114, *2 (Ind.Ct.App. 2011) (table).
the State courts adjudicated this claim on the merits, I can
only grant habeas corpus if that ruling was an unreasonable
determination of the facts or an unreasonable application of
the law as announced by the U.S. Supreme Court. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(d). Here, Coleman does not dispute the
application of the law. Rather he argues there was an
unreasonable determination of the facts. So here are the
facts as the Court of Appeals of Indiana explained them:
As K.B. unlocked and opened her apartment door, Coleman
wedged his bicycle tire in the doorway and forced his way
into the apartment. He then locked the door from the inside
and blocked the door with his bicycle.
K.B. asked Coleman why he was in her apartment and told him
to leave. He responded that “everything was going to be
okay. That he was going to take his time with her, ”
which she interpreted to mean that he intended to rape her.
Although K.B. told Coleman to stop, he shoved her down onto
her bed, where her son lay sleeping. Coleman removed his
shorts, climbed on top of K.B., and attempted to kiss her and
remove her shirt.
K.B.'s friend, Shane Perrin, became alarmed when she did
not respond to his attempts to contact her via cell phone.
Perrin drove to K.B.'s apartment and knocked on the door.
He entered the apartment, noted that K.B. looked terrified,
and ordered Coleman to leave. Although Coleman argued with
Perrin, he eventually left.
After five or ten minutes, Coleman returned and knocked on
K.B.'s door for an extended period of time. K.B.,
thinking that Coleman would leave if she spoke to him, exited
her apartment and stood outside her front door to talk with
Coleman as Perrin watched through the peep hole. Perrin
noticed that Coleman had backed K.B. into a corner of the
hallway, where she was cowering, at which point Perrin opened
the door and threatened to call the police. Coleman left.
Coleman v. State, 950 N.E.2d 36, *1 (Ind.Ct.App.
2011) (table) (brackets and citations omitted).
claims that the State court determination of the facts was
unreasonable because “[t]here was significant evidence
presented to the jury to show that the behavior of Coleman
and the alleged victim ‘K.B.' was inconsistent with
that of any crime during the incident in question.” DE
57 at 1 (brackets omitted). The State courts and the jury
both disagreed with him, and so do I.
true that the victim did not claim that Coleman tried to rape
her until she was interviewed for a third time by the police.
Here's what happened: After the attempted rape, the
victim didn't call the police. Instead, when Coleman
returned to the victim's apartment, she opened the door
and spoke with Coleman in the hallway. And then, when another
individual caused the police to visit the alleged victim, the
investigating officer asked her if Coleman had touched her,
and she answered “no.” The following day, the
victim's mother got involved. The mother arranged to meet
Coleman at the alleged victim's apartment. Coleman
arrived, but so did the police. The police spoke with the
victim a second time and she again failed to say anything to
indicate that any crime had been committed by Coleman. But
eventually, the victim changed her story and, for the first
time, told the police that Coleman had tried to rape her.
This is what led to Coleman being charged and his ultimate
conviction at the trial.
on the foregoing facts, Coleman argues that the victim was
incredible. Here's what he said in his brief to this
This evidence leads to the reasonable conclusion that
K.B.'s was not a victim. The record makes clear that K.B.
lived in a poor neighborhood, that she was a single mother
with an infant with no sign of a father. She did not accuse
Coleman initially because she had, at least initially,
invited him into her apartment for the purpose of having a
sexual relationship with him, and only after her mother and
other family members found out about it, did she claim
innocence and point the finger at Coleman to avoid the wrath
of her own mother and her other family members. The loss of
such an emotional and financial support group for a young,