Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rich v. Warden

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

June 26, 2018

SEAN P. RICH, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, [1] Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court Southern District of Indiana

         Petitioner Sean P. Rich is serving a 93-year sentence for his 1999 Marion County, Indiana, convictions for class A felony burglary, two counts of class B felony criminal confinement, and class D felony theft. He brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons that follow, Mr. Rich'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. Factual and Procedural Background

         On March 3, 1999, after an eight day trial, a jury found Mr. Rich guilty of the burglary and criminal confinement charges, but returned a hung verdict as to the battery, murder, and arson charges. See Dkt. 15-1 at 15. The trial court sentenced Mr. Rich to an aggregate 93 years term of incarceration.

         Mr. Rich then appealed his conviction and sentence to the Indiana Court of Appeals, but sought time to return to the trial court to file post-judgement motions, which was granted. Following the denial of his motions in the trial court, Mr. Rich returned to the Indiana Court of Appeals to pursue his direct appeal and raised issues of newly discovered evidence, jury instructions, and double jeopardy. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions, but remanded for resentencing on one count of criminal confinement as a class C felony after finding that the conviction as enhanced violated double jeopardy principles. See Dkt. 15-7. Mr. Rich sought transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court challenging the Indiana Court of Appeal's holding that he was not entitled to a new hearing based on newly discovered evidence. See Dkt. 15-8. The Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer on May 29, 2003.

         On July 29, 2005, Mr. Rich was resentenced to a four-year sentence for his class C felony criminal confinement, which resulted in a sixteen-year reduction in his aggregate sentence. See Dkt. 15-1 at 22. Mr. Rich appealed his sentence and challenged whether his other sentences, and not the one that was reduced, violated the Sixth Amendment pursuant to Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), and Smylie v. State, 823 N.E.2d 679 (Ind. 2005). The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his sentence on June 14, 2006. Dkt. 15-13. The Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer on August 24, 2006.

         On March 2, 2007, Mr. Rich filed a petition for post-conviction relief challenging the effectiveness of both trial and appellate counsel, which the post-conviction trial court denied. Mr. Rich appealed, claiming ineffective assistance of appellate counsel for not challenging the sufficiency of the evidence and claiming ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Mr. Rich also asserted that his trial counsel failed to object to the admission of his confirmation class photograph and the admission of evidence that he was in possession of stolen checks from the church; failed to introduce exculpatory evidence; and failed to object to his sentence as being manifestly unreasonable. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief on August 2, 2010. See Dkt. 15-18. Mr. Rich sought transfer challenging trial counsel's failure to object to a prejudicial identification; request a mistrial after the improper admission of evidence; and present exculpatory evidence. Dkt. 15-19. The Indiana Supreme Court denied his petition to transfer on September 28, 2010.

         On February 9, 2017, Mr. Rich filed a Motion to Correct Erroneous Sentence that was denied by the trial court on February 20, 2017.

         On June 12, 2017, Mr. Rich filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         II. 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). Mr. Rich's petition is governed by the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336 (1997).

         The Supreme Court has described AEDPA as “a formidable barrier to federal habeas relief for prisoners whose claims have been adjudicated in state court” and has emphasized that courts must not “lightly conclude that a State's criminal justice system has experienced the ‘extreme malfunction' for which federal habeas relief is the remedy.” Burt v. Titlow, 134 S.Ct. 10, 16 (2013) (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86 (2011)); see also Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (“AEDPA . . . imposes a highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, and demands that state court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.”) (internal quotation marks, citations, and footnote omitted).

         III. Discussion

         In support of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Mr. Rich raise two claims: (1) his sentence violates the Eighth Amendment because the trial court did not properly consider his age or attributes of youth; and 2) the trial court improperly unconstitutionally sentenced him in violation of the Sixth Amendment. The respondent contends that Mr. Rich's petition is barred by AEDPA's one-year statute of limitations, but if his petition is timely, his claims are procedurally ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.