United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
COREY L. SPURLOCK, Petitioner,
DUSHAN ZATECKY, Respondent.
ENTRY DENYING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
William T. Lawrence, Senior Judge
Corey Spurlock brings the instant petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging
his Indiana convictions for murder and robbery. For the
reasons explained below, his habeas petition is denied and a
certificate of appealability will not issue.
March 2003, a jury found Mr. Spurlock guilty of four counts
of murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, and
two counts of robbery. He received an aggregate sentence of
seventy-five years' imprisonment. The Indiana Court of
Appeal affirmed his convictions on direct appeal.
explained by the Indiana Court of Appeals, Mr. Spurlock
obtained post-conviction relief in state court and was
In March 2005, Spurlock filed a petition for post-conviction
relief, which the trial court dismissed without prejudice on
September 8, 2008, for failure to prosecute. In October 2014,
Spurlock again filed a petition for post-conviction relief,
which was later amended. Following a hearing and the filing
of proposed findings by the parties, the trial court denied
Spurlock's petition. Spurlock appealed, and, in February
2017, a panel of this Court affirmed in part and reversed in
part the decision of the post-conviction court. See
Spurlock v. State, No. 49A05-1609-PC- 1976 (Ind.Ct.App.
Feb. 17, 2017). It was determined that Spurlock's
appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a
sentencing error, specifically that the bodily injury
stemming from Spurlock's murder convictions was used also
as the basis for elevating his conspiracy convictions to
Class A felonies. See id., slip op. at 18.
Consequently, the case was remanded to the trial court for
entry of judgment of conviction on the conspiracy counts to
be reduced from Class A felonies to Class B felonies and for
On remand, the trial court resentenced Spurlock in July 2017
to a total of sixty-five years. He received forty-five years
for each of the four murders and ten years for one of the
conspiracy counts, all to be served concurrently. In
addition, the trial court sentenced him to twenty years on
the second conspiracy count, to be served consecutively to
the other counts.
Spurlock v. State, 106 N.E.3d 1046, 1049
(Ind.Ct.App. 2018) (“Spurlock III”).
Spurlock appealed his sentence. He presented the following
claim to the Indiana Court of Appeals:
The trial court erred in resentencing him because his
sentence does not conform to the dictates of Blakely v.
Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). Blakely
applies and further explains the rule previously set forth in
Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000),
prohibiting the reliance on facts not found by a jury or
admitted by the defendant to enhance a sentence above the
presumptive, with the exception of criminal history.
Spurlock III, 106 N.E.3d at 1049. The Indiana Court
of Appeals noted that Mr. Spurlock did not make a
Blakely objection at his resentencing hearing, and
thus the only way he could avoid forfeiting this claim is by
arguing that the Blakely error amounted to
Indiana Court of Appeals explained the fundamental errors
doctrine as follows: “[t]he fundamental error doctrine
is extremely narrow and applies only when the error amounts
to a blatant violation of basic principles, the harm or
potential for harm is substantial, and the resulting error
denies the defendant fundamental due process. Thus, this
doctrine is available only in egregious circumstances.”
Id. at 1050 (citations omitted). After analyzing the
Blakely claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals
concluded that there was no “fundamental error.”
Id. at 1052.
Spurlock's sole claim in his habeas petition is the
Blakely claim he raised to the Indiana Court of
Appeals in Spurlock III. The respondent moves to
dismiss Mr. Spurlock's habeas petition on the ground that
this claim is ...