United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
William McNeal was convicted of one count of felony
possession of cocaine in an Indiana state court. Mr. McNeal
now seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, raising three claims challenging the arresting
officer's probable cause to detain him. Mr. McNeal's
first claim is procedurally defaulted, and his remaining
claims are barred by Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465
(1976). Therefore, Mr. McNeal's petition for a writ of
habeas corpus is denied, and a certificate
of appealability will not issue.
habeas review requires the Court to “presume that the
state court's factual determinations are correct unless
the petitioner rebuts the presumption by clear and convincing
evidence.” Perez-Gonzalez v. Lashbrook, 904
F.3d 557, 562 (7th Cir. 2018); see 28 U.S.C. §
2254(e)(1). On direct appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court
summarized the relevant facts and procedural history as
On August 28, 2015, police encountered a man lying face down
on the sidewalk and called for medical assistance. Soon
thereafter, William McNeal approached the scene and attempted
to rouse the man to leave. Police on the scene [Officer
Helton] noted that McNeal exhibited slurred speech, unsteady
gait, and glassy eyes, and asked him to sit down. McNeal
refused and then tripped over the man on the sidewalk and
fell down. When McNeal tried to get up to leave, he fell down
again, so police placed him in handcuffs to keep him seated.
Medics arrived and determined that McNeal and the man should
be transported to the hospital. During this period, police
ran a check on McNeal's identification and discovered he
had an outstanding arrest warrant. During a search before the
medical transport, police found baggies of cocaine in
McNeal's pants pocket.
McNeal was charged with Level 5 felony possession of cocaine.
Before and during trial, McNeal sought to exclude the cocaine
evidence, contending it was obtained as a result of an
unconstitutional detention. The trial court admitted the
evidence and found McNeal guilty. McNeal appealed, and the
Court of Appeals affirmed. McNeal v. State, 62
N.E.3d 1275 (Ind.Ct.App. 2016) [(“McNeal
I”)]. Among other things, the Court of Appeals
concluded McNeal's detention was supported by reasonable
suspicion that he was publicly intoxicated, and thus the
cocaine was properly admitted.
McNeal v. State, 76 N.E.3d 136, 136 (Ind. 2017) (per
curiam) (“McNeal II”). The Indiana Court
of Appeals also held that Mr. McNeal's detention was
justified under the community caretaker doctrine. McNeal
I, 62 N.E.3d at 1282-83.
the Indiana Supreme Court, Mr. McNeal (through counsel)
argued only that the detention was not warranted under the
community caretaker doctrine. The Indiana Supreme Court
agreed and vacated that portion of the appellate court's
decision, but it left intact Mr. McNeal's conviction.
McNeal II, 76 N.E.3d at 137. Mr. McNeal filed a
pro se petition for rehearing, but the Indiana
Supreme Court denied it as untimely. See Dkt. 11-3
McNeal then filed the petition for a writ of habeas corpus
that is now pending before this Court. The petition alleges
1. Officer Helton perjured himself at Mr. McNeal's
2. the trial court erred in finding that Mr. McNeal's
pre-detention behavior created a reasonable suspicion of
public intoxication; and
3. the trial court erred in concluding that Mr. McNeal's
detention was based on a reasonable suspicion of public
intoxication because Officer Helton testified that the
detention was based on a concern for Mr. McNeal's
apparent need for medical care.
The petition also alleges ineffective assistance of appellate
counsel, but Mr. McNeal later explained that he was not
seeking habeas corpus relief on that claim. Dkt. 12 at 3-4
(“Petitioner does not argue the ineffective assistance
of appellant counsel in his writ of habeas corpus, but
provides the Court with this information showing the
proceedings that has brought petitioner to a writ of habeas
corpus to be reviewed for correctness with evidence.”).