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Woodruff v. Clarke

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

October 23, 2013

LESTER O'NEIL WOODRUFF, Petitioner,
v.
HAROLD W. CLARKE, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NORMAN K. MOON, District Judge.

Lester O'Neil Woodruff, a Virginia inmate, filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Woodruff argues that his right to due process was violated, his right to a fair trial was violated in two ways, and that he further suffered extrinsic fraud, unlawful detainment and arrest, a Miranda violation, and ineffective assistance counsel on both the trial and appellate levels. The Supreme Court of Virginia found that five of Woodruff's initial ineffective assistance of counsel claims failed on their merits under Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668 (1984), and that his extrinsic fraud claim was defaulted under Slayton v. Parrigan , 305 S.E.2d 680 (1974). I find that the state court's adjudication of those claims was not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, and did not result in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. Regarding his remaining claims, I find that Woodruff's unlawful detainment and arrest claim is barred by Stone v. Powell , 428 U.S. 465 (1976), and that his other claims are procedurally barred because he did not raise them in state court and he has not demonstrated grounds to excuse his default. Therefore, I will grant defendant's motion to dismiss.

I.

Woodruff was convicted in the Lynchburg City Circuit Court of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The court sentenced Woodruff on April 25, 2009, to 25 years incarceration with 10 years of that time suspended. Woodruff appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals, and that appeal was granted on April 12, 2010. However, the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction of November 9, 2010. Woodruff appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia, which on May 19, 2011 denied his appeal. Woodruff next filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia on March 29, 2012, alleging the following:

1. Claim A(1): Counsel was ineffective for failing to alert the trial court that the Commonwealth knowingly perjured testimony, and that the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney engaged in extrinsic fraud by presenting the perjured testimony.
2. Claim A(2): Counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion for discovery.
3. Claim A(3): Counsel was ineffective for failing to bring the court's attention to misconduct committed by the prosecutor during opening statements.
4. Claim A(4): Counsel was ineffective for failing to conduct proper legal research with regard to the Terry stop.
5. Claim A(5): Counsel was ineffective for failing to argue at the suppression hearing.
6. Claim B: Appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue the Fourth Amendment issues appropriately and conceded too much during oral argument.
7. Claim C: The prosecutor committed extrinsic fraud by misleading the trial court into believing certain remarks made by an Officer Smith.

The Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed his petition.[1]

Woodruff filed the instant § 2254 federal habeas petition on December 13, 2012, claiming the following:

1. Petitioner's right to due process was violated by the Commonwealth's failure to provide the Defense with a ...

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