United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
William T. Lawrence, Judge
William Taylor is serving an 80-year sentence in the Indiana
Department of Correction after being convicted in 2011 by a
Boone County jury on two counts of A-felony child
molestation. Mr. Taylor is also serving, concurrently, a
25-year sentence after pleading guilty in Hendricks County to
additional charges of child molestation, sexual misconduct
with a minor, and child seduction.
Taylor's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenges
the judgment entered in the Boone County case. For the
reasons that follow, the petition must be denied, the action
must be dismissed with prejudice, and no certificate of
appealability shall issue.
Factual and Procedural Background
court review of a habeas petition presumes all factual
findings of the state court to be correct, absent clear and
convincing evidence to the contrary. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(1); Daniels v. Knight, 476 F.3d 426,
434 (7th Cir. 2007). On direct appeal, the Indiana Court of
Appeals summarized the conduct underlying Mr. Taylor's
charges and the state's investigation into and
prosecution of that conduct. See Taylor v. State
(Taylor I), No. 06A04-1104-CR-272, 2011 WL 6591956,
at *1-3 (Ind.Ct.App. Dec. 20, 2011) (slip op.). The Court of
Appeals relied on this summary in reviewing Mr. Taylor's
petition for postconviction relief. See Taylor v.
State (Taylor II), No. 06A01-1511-PC-1876, 2016
WL 6358858, at *1-2 (Oct. 28, 2016) (slip op.).
the details of the conduct underlying Mr. Taylor's
charges are not in dispute and have little significance for
the issues asserted in Mr. Taylor's petition, the Court
provides only an overview here. Over a period of ten years,
Mr. Taylor engaged in various sexual acts with his minor
stepchild, N.H. These acts began in 1999, when N.H. was about
seven years old and lived in Boone County with Mr. Taylor and
her mother, S.H. They occurred multiple times per week. Mr.
Taylor's actions in Boone County included sexually
fondling N.H. and forcing her to give and receive oral sex.
Id. at *1.
December 2019, N.H. reported her abuse to her mother and then
to police. Detectives recorded a phone conversation between
Mr. Taylor and N.H. in which Mr. Taylor acknowledged engaging
in sexual acts with N.H. and that “it happened a
lot.” In that conversation, Mr. Taylor also apologized
to N.H. and explained that he molested her because he
“was in love with [her]” and “wanted to
teach [her] what sex was supposed to be like . . . .”
Mr. Taylor was arrested and taken to Hendricks County Jail.
Id. at *1-2.
Indiana Court of Appeals summarized in reviewing Mr.
Taylor's petition for postconviction relief, he was
charged with molesting N.H. in both Boone County and
Taylor was charged in Hendricks County with ten counts for
the most recent offenses against N.H., including two counts
of Class A felony child molesting, four counts of Class B
felony sexual misconduct with a minor, two counts of Class C
felony misconduct with a minor, Class C felony child
molesting, and Class D felony child seduction. Based on the
same investigation, in February 2010, the State charged
Taylor in Boone County with one count of Class B felony child
molesting based upon sexual deviate conduct, which had
occurred before the offenses charged in Hendricks County.
Taylor hired attorney Allen Lidy (“Lidy”) to
represent him in both cases.
Id. at *2.
September 2010, while awaiting trial, Mr. Taylor sent a
letter to Mr. Lidy asking for information about his charges
and how to approach them. In this letter, Mr. Taylor:
explained that he did not know how much longer he could
“take being locked up” because of his blood
pressure. Taylor asked [L]idy why Boone County had only
charged him with one Class B felony while Hendricks County
had charged him with ten offenses, which included Class A, B,
C, and D felonies, and whether there were discrepancies in
N.H.'s and her mother's depositions. Taylor also
asked the likelihood of “beating the charges in
Hendricks County and beating the charges in Boone
County.” Taylor further asked Lidy what the State was
offering in pleas and what he should do.
Id. (citations omitted).
postconviction hearing, Mr. Lidy explained his approach to
Mr. Taylor's defense.
Indiana Court of appeals summarized that testimony as
Although Lidy hoped for a “global plea, meaning a plea
that would encompass both cases in both counties, ”
with concurrent sentences that would not subject
sixty-two-year-old Taylor to a de facto life
sentence, the only offer from Hendricks County was for Taylor
to plead guilty to Class A felony child molesting with a cap
of forty-five years executed. Taylor, however, did not want
to admit to a Class A felony offense, and trial was scheduled
for February 14, 2011. At the time, there were no plea
negotiations with or offers from Boone County.
Id. (citations omitted).
Mr. Lidy was presented with a plea offer from the Boone
County prosecutor, but he did not communicate that offer to
Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Taylor was ultimately convicted in Boone
County on two charges of A-felony child molesting:
In January 2011, the Boone County prosecutor offered Taylor
the opportunity to plead guilty as charged to the Class B
felony offense by the January 24, 2011 plea agreement
deadline. If Taylor did not accept the offer, the State
planned to amend the information to two Class A felony child
molesting charges based upon Taylor's age. Lidy did not
communicate this plea offer to Taylor, and the plea agreement
deadline passed without resolution of the case. The trial
court subsequently granted the State's motion to amend
the information to two counts of Class A felony child
molesting. A jury convicted ...