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Jeffers v. Allen

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

March 18, 2016

Patrick Timothy Jeffers, Petitioner,
v.
C. Allen, Respondent

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Anthony J. Trenga United States District Judge

Patrick Timothy Jeffers, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the validity of his convictions entered in the Circuit Court for Middlesex County, Virginia. On September 24, 2015, respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss and Rule 5 Answer, with a supporting brief and exhibits. Dkt. Nos. 16, 17, 18. Petitioner was given the opportunity to file responsive materials, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison. 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), and he filed a response. Accordingly, the matter is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, petitioner's claims must be dismissed.

I. Background

Petitioner is in respondent's custody pursuant to a judgment of the Circuit Court for Middlesex County entered on April 6, 2012. Petitioner, pursuant to a plea agreement, entered a conditional guilty plea to nineteen (19) counts of possession of child pornography and one (1) count of reproduction of child pornography. Case Nos. CR11 -56 through 61, CR11 -78 through 89, and CR11-214. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the court sentenced petitioner to a total sentence of 210 years' incarceration, with 190 years suspended.

Petitioner appealed, and the Virginia Court of Appeals granted the appeal and affirmed in a published opinion on June 18, 2013. Jeffers v. Commonwealth. 62 Va.App. 151, 743 S.E.2d 289 (2013) [Rec. No. 0573-12-2]. Thereafter, the Supreme Court of Virginia refused petitioner's appeal on November 6, 2013. Rec. No. 131097.

The Virginia Court of Appeals' opinion dated June 18, 2014 and the record reflect the following facts:

In February 2011, investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) learned that child pornography had been posted on the internet by a computer using a particular IP address. Pursuant to a subpoena to the electronic service provider, ICAC investigators discovered that the IP address was registered to Isla Loxley at 106 Barricks Mill Road, Topping, Virginia. Deputies from the Middlesex County Sheriffs Office, an affiliate member of ICAC, went to that address to observe the layout of the property for purposes of preparing an affidavit for a search warrant. They observed a trailer and a small barn on the property. They also noticed a vehicle registered to Jeffers, a felon previously convicted of possessing child pornography. The officers then prepared a highly detailed affidavit seeking a search warrant.
A magistrate issued a search warrant directing the officers to search for evidence of child pornography on the property. . . . Officers arrived at 106 Barricks Mill Road to execute the warrant. The street address, marked by a single mailbox, identified the entire property - including both the trailer and the barn. The officers first went to the trailer and spoke with one of its residents, who told the officers that Jeffers lived in the barn.
Jeffers was detained by officers when he appeared at the door of the barn. An officer quickly performed a protective sweep of the barn to determine the existence of any threats. The officer then came out of the barn to talk to Jeffers. Jeffers said he received Internet service in the barn from "a physical wire that goes to the computer . . . from the trailer." Loxley confirmed this with another officer on the scene. Jeffers also stated that "he had a porn addiction and an attraction to adolescents." The officers thereafter searched the trailer and the barn pursuant to the warrant. The search confirmed that a computer router inside the trailer supplied Internet access to the barn and that a computer in the barn contained child pornography.

Rec. No. 0573-12-2, June 18, 2014 Opinion at 3.

On October 8, 2014, petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia, which subsequently denied it on March 24, 2015. Rec. No. 141419. On June 15, 2015, petitioner timely filed the instant federal habeas petition raising the same claims he previously raised in his state habeas petition:

I. Counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge whether probable cause existed to issue the search warrant and weather probable cause existed to search Jeffers' residence.
II. Counsel was ineffective for failing to assert "a reverse Franks claim" that the officer intentionally withheld information from the issuing magistrate, which would have negated probable cause.
III. Counsel was ineffective for failing to contest the legality of evidence obtained when petitioner was illegally seized and removed from his residence and then restrained.
IV. Counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a claim that the police officer's protective sweep of the petitioner's residence was in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and any evidence derived from that sweep should have been suppressed.
V. The trial court denied the petitioner his due process rights by failing to rule on the merits of one of his suppression claims.
VI. The Court of Appeals denied petitioner his due process rights by failing to address one his claims on appeal.
VII. Petitioner's guilty plea was "unintelligently ...

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