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.

Williams v. Director for The Dept. of Corrections

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

March 20, 2014

MICHAEL DERRICK WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
DIRECTOR FOR THE DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROBERT E. PAYNE, Senior District Judge.

Michael Derrick Williams, a Virginia prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition"). Respondent has moved to dismiss and provided appropriate Roseboro[1] notice. Williams has responded. The matter is ripe for disposition.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A grand jury returned an indictment charging Williams with two counts of forcible sodomy, in violation of section 18.2-67.1 of the Virginia Code, [2] and one count of rape in violation of Section 18.2-61 of the Virginia Code.[3] Indictment at 1, Commonwealth v. Williams, No. CR10000177-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. Apr. 20, 2010); Indictment at 1, Williams, No. CR10000178-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. Apr. 20, 2010); Indictment at 1, Williams, No. CR10000179-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. Apr. 20, 2010.) Due to the successful efforts of Williams's counsel, the Commonwealth agreed to amend the Indictments for forcible sodomy to the lesser offenses of aggravated sexual battery, in violation of section 18.2-67.3 of the Virginia Code, [4] agreed that a fifteen-year active term for imprisonment "[was] appropriate" in exchange of Williams's Alford plea to those counts, and agreed to nolle prosse the rape charge. Plea Agreement at 3, Williams, CR10000178-00 & CR10000179-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. entered Dec. 7, 2010); (Dec 7. 2010 Tr. 3-7, 20).

On December 7, 2010, Williams entered an Alford[5] plea of guilty pursuant to a written plea agreement to two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Plea Agreement at 1-7, Williams, CR10000178-00 & CR10000179-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. entered Dec. 7, 2010); Alford Plea to a Felony at 1-2, Williams, CR10000178-00 & CR10000179-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. entered Dec. 7, 2010). The Circuit Court sentenced Williams to a total of forty years of incarceration with twenty-five years suspended based upon the terms of the Plea Agreement. Williams, CR10000178-00 & CR10000179-00, at 2 (Va. Cir. Ct. Dec. 7, 2010).

Williams appealed. Appellate counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California , 386 U.S. 738 (1967) raising a claim of trial court error and Williams filed several pro se petitions raising three additional claims. Petition for Appeal at 3, Williams v. Commonwealth, No. 2620-10-2 (Va. Ct. App. filed Apr. 11, 2011); see Supplemental Petitions for Appeal, Williams, No. 2620-10-2 (Va. Ct. App. filed Apr. 28, May 10, 18, 2011). The Court of Appeals of Virginia denied Williams's petitions for appeal. Williams v. Commonwealth, No. 2620-10-2, at 1-3 (Va. Ct. App. Oct. 20, 2011.)

The Supreme Court of Virginia refused in part, and dismissed in part, Williams's subsequent appeal. Williams v. Commonwealth, No. 112042, at 1 (Va. June 4, 2012).

Williams filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia raising similar claims as in the instant § 2254 Petition. See Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 1, Williams v. Dir. of the Dep't of Corr., No. 121042 (Va. filed June 20, 2012.) The Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed the petition. Williams v. Dir. of the Dep't of Corr., No. 121042, at 17 (Va. Jan. 11, 2013.)

II. GROUNDS FOR RELIEF

Williams raises ninety-seven "briefs" or grounds for relief in his Writ of Habeas Corpus Petition Ground and Briefs Document ("Br. Supp. § 2254 Pet., " ECF No. 1-1). Due to the repetitive and voluminous nature of Williams's "briefs, " the Court combines certain "briefs" together into "Claims."[6] Williams first argues that counsel rendered ineffective assistance based on the following Claims:

One: Counsel failed to move for a continuance at the plea hearing and failed to demand that the Commonwealth provide complete medical records of the victim which would have impeached the victim's testimony. (Briefs (1) and (87).)

Two: Counsel failed to object to the Commonwealth's summary of the facts at the plea hearing as it conflicted with the victim's prior statements. (Briefs (2), (18), and (63).)

Three: Counsel failed to file a certificate of analysis notifying the Circuit Court and the Commonwealth that it intended to introduce evidence of the victim's medical records. (Briefs (3) and (22).)

Four: Counsel failed to file a certificate of analysis notifying the trial court and the Commonwealth that he intended to introduce Williams's and the victim's cell phone records into evidence which would have impeached the victim's testimony. (Briefs (4) and (5).)

Five: Counsel failed to compel the hospital to produce the victim's records, which the Commonwealth subpoenaed, but were not timely produced (Briefs (6), (7), (10), (13), (64), (65), (77), (78), (79), and (89)) and failed to subpoena the records himself. (Brief (75).)

Six: Counsel failed to interview and subpoena certain witnesses who would have impeached the victim. (Briefs (8), (21), (24), (25), (28), (29), and (30).)

Seven: Counsel failed to inform Williams that the hospital produced the victim's medical records. (Brief (9).)

Eight: Counsel failed to object or move to dismiss the indictments based upon the victim's inconsistent statements (Briefs (11), (20), (72), and (82)) and based on the Commonwealth's failure to produce DNA and medical records. (Briefs (39), (40), (41), (42), (44), (45), (46), and (47).)

Nine: Counsel failed to respond to Williams's request to inspect the materials in his case or visit him. (Brief (12).)

Ten: Counsel failed to compel the Commonwealth to produce the complete sexual assault examiner's report. (Brief (14).)

Eleven: Counsel failed to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. (Brief (15).)

Twelve: Counsel failed to move to withdraw Williams's Alford plea based on the Commonwealth's failure to proffer a sufficient factual basis for his plea. (Briefs (16), (18), (57), (58), (76), (81), (86), and (87).)

Thirteen: Counsel failed to argue that two "continuances should not be charged to the defense for speedy trial purposes because it was the discovery issue and not the defense issue in not getting the alleged victim's medical records...." (Br. Supp. § 2254 Pet. 7 (Brief (17).)

Fourteen: Counsel failed to investigate the criminal history of the victim or her child's father. (Brief (19).)

Fifteen: Counsel failed to object when the Commonwealth informed the Court at the plea hearing that he did not have the victim's entire medical report. (Brief (23).)

Sixteen: Counsel deficiently advised Williams to plead guilty in light of the favorable evidence in his defense. (Brief (26).)

Seventeen: Counsel failed to obtain and admit into evidence Williams's and the victim's cell phone records which would have demonstrated that he was sending text messages and was not at the victim's home at the time she claimed she was raped. (Briefs (27), (66), (67), (68).)

Eighteen: Counsel failed to provide Williams with the jury instructions for the original charges against him before advising him to plead guilty. (Brief (38).)

Nineteen: Counsel failed "to file a motion for perjury when the alleged victim's medical records were material and exculpatory in nature...." (Br. Supp. § 2254 Pet. 16 (Brief 43).)

Twenty: Williams's plea was unlawfully induced and involuntary because counsel failed to disclose or have the Commonwealth disclose the contents of the victim's medical records to Williams or the Circuit Court. (Briefs (48), (57), (60), (69), (70), (85), and (91).)

Twenty-One: Counsel failed to file an appeal after Williams instructed him to do so. (Brief (49).)

Twenty-Two: Counsel failed to move to dismiss the charges due to speedy trial violations. (Briefs (50), (51), (52), and (61).)

Twenty-Three: Counsel failed to object to the Commonwealth's proffer at the plea hearing to the results of the victim's DNA test as inadmissible without testimony from the person who conducted the test. (Brief (59).)

Twenty-Four: Counsel failed to file a motion to withdraw Williams's Alford plea based on the exculpatory nature of the victim's medical records. (Briefs (62) and (84).)

Twenty-Five: Counsel failed to conduct a reasonable pre-trial investigation of exculpatory evidence, failed to file exhibits before trial, and failed to prepare a defense forcing Williams to enter Alford plea. (Briefs (71), (74), (88), and (94).)

Twenty-Six: Counsel failed to file notice that he intended to file a Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing. (Briefs (73) and (74).)

Twenty-Seven: Counsel failed to move for summary judgment based on the Commonwealth's failure to produce the victim's medical records. (Brief (83).)

Twenty-Eight: Counsel's cumulative deficient actions prejudiced Williams. (Brief (95).)

Twenty-Nine: Counsel failed to introduce evidence supporting Williams's contention that sexual abuse could not have occurred under the circumstances. (Brief (97).)

Williams also argues the following:

Thirty: The Commonwealth failed to disclose favorable evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland , 373 U.S. 83 (1963) (Briefs 31), (35), (47), (55), (93) and (96)).

Thirty-One: The Circuit Court expressed doubt about the verdict when he stated that "he thinks' this is a reasonable deposition [sic] to accept Alford Plea." (Br. Supp. § 2254 Pet. 13 (Brief (32).)

Thirty-Two: The Circuit Court violated Williams's speedy trial rights. (Brief (33), (53), and (90).)

Thirty-Three: The Commonwealth failed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the Circuit Court accepted an Alford plea "without rooted facts." (Br. Supp. § 2254 Pet. 13 (Briefs (34) and (80).)

Thirty-Four: The grand jury indictments were unconstitutional because no factual evidence existed to support the charges. (Brief (36).)

Thirty-Five: "Conviction obtained by entering an Alford Plea agreement unintentionally." (Br. Supp. § 2254 Pet. 14 (Brief (37).) Williams misunderstood whether he waived his right to appeal the sufficiency of the evidence.

Thirty-Six: The Commonwealth engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by knowingly presenting false testimony in presenting the factual basis for the plea. (Briefs (54) and (92).)

Thirty-Seven: The Circuit Court failed to hold the hospital in contempt of court for failing to honor the subpoena of the victim's medical records. (Brief (89).)

Thirty-Eight: The Commonwealth violated Williams's due process rights when it failed to prove every element of the crimes. (Brief (56).)

III. APPLICABLE CONSTRAINTS UPON FEDERAL HABEAS REVIEW

In order to obtain federal habeas relief, at a minimum, a petitioner must demonstrate that he is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") of 1996 further circumscribed this Court's authority to grant relief by way of a writ of habeas corpus. Specifically, "[s]tate court factual determinations are presumed to be correct and may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence." Gray v. Branker , 529 F.3d 220, 228 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)). Additionally, under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), a federal court may not grant a writ of habeas corpus based on any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the adjudicated claim:

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2). The Supreme Court has emphasized that the question "is not whether a federal court believes the state court's determination was incorrect but whether that determination was unreasonable-a substantially higher threshold." Schriro v. Landrigan , 550 U.S. 465, 473 (2007) (citing Williams v. Taylor , 529 U.S. 362, 410 (2000)).[7]

IV. GUILTY PLEA PROCEEDINGS AND FACTUAL BASIS FOR PLEA

Because Williams's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel stem from deficiencies occurring before and during the plea proceedings, it is necessary to recite the facts from those proceedings. As reflected below, contrary to his current protestations, the evidence of Williams's ...


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.