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Ford v. Director, Va. Dept. of Corr.

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

September 11, 2014

JAMES DARNELL FORD, Petitioner,
v.
DIRECTOR, VA. DEPT. OF CORR., Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

ROBERT S. BALLOU, Magistrate Judge.

James Darnell Ford, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition. On September 9, 2014, the Honorable Glen E. Conrad, Chief United States District Judge of this court, referred this matter to me for a report setting forth appropriate findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommended disposition of all of Ford's claims, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). After carefully reviewing the petition, motion to dismiss, and state court record, I recommend that the court grant the motion to dismiss and dismiss the petition.

I.

Ford challenges the validity of his confinement pursuant to the 2010 judgment of the Circuit Court of Rockbridge County after a jury convicted him of three counts of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of object sexual penetration.[1] After the Circuit Court of Rockbridge County imposed the jury's sentence of 45 years' incarceration, Ford unsuccessfully appealed to the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia with new counsel. Ford then filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the Circuit Court of Rockbridge County, which denied the petition after considering its merits, and the Supreme Court of Virginia refused Ford's pro se appeal.

Ford alleges the following claims in the instant federal petition:

1. The trial court erred by denying Ford's motion for a new trial based on after-discovered evidence;

2. The trial court erred by finding there was sufficient evidence to convict Ford of the crimes charged;

3. The trial court erred by allowing evidence that Ford, as an adult, slept in the same bed with his mother;

4. Trial counsel was ineffective by not preparing for trial and not preparing to cross examine Commonwealth witness Officer Mitchell Harrison;

5. Trial counsel was ineffective by not striking Rodney Watts, with whom Ford had worked for several summers, from the venire;

6. Trial counsel was ineffective by not obtaining transcripts from Ford's previous trial in Buena Vista, Virginia, [2] to fully cross-examine witnesses;

7. The prosecution allowed Officer Miles Kelly to "tamper" with defense witness Cleveland Southers;

8. Trial counsel was ineffective by not withdrawing as counsel and testifying when Cleveland Southers recanted his affidavit;

9. The trial court erred by not admitting tapes from the Rockbridge Regional Jail to corroborate Cleveland Southers' affidavit;

10. Trial counsel was ineffective by not subpoenaing witnesses who would have presented the case "in a more favorable light";

11. Trial counsel was ineffective by not asking that the trial be continued to the next day because the trial did not end until almost midnight;

12. Trial counsel was ineffective by not obtaining Ford's work history to establish Ford worked ...


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