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Bugg v. Clarke

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

November 10, 2016

KEITH DEMERICK BUGG, Petitioner,
v.
HAROLD W. CLARKE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Roderick C. Young United States Magistrate Judge.

         Keith Demerick Bugg, a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition, " ECF No. 1) challenging his convictions in the Circuit Court for the County of Mecklenburg, Virginia ("Circuit Court"). Bugg demands relief upon the following grounds:[1]

Claim One Counsel "failed to file a proper motion notifying the trial court of an alibi defense or seek a continuance to cure the defect, thus denying the petitioner his right to present this defense." (§ 2254 Pet. 5.)
Claim Two Counsel "failed to investigate and subpoena witnesses provided by petitioner (Patrick Seward and Jami Snead) to impeach alleged victim complaint." (Id. at 7.)
Claim Three "Counsel failed to investigate evidence provided by petitioner proving that he could not have committed the alleged crimes." (Id. at 8.)

         Respondent has moved to dismiss. As Bugg's claims are utterly lacking in merit, the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 22) will be GRANTED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Following a bench trial, the Circuit Court convicted Bugg of four counts of carnal knowledge of a child thirteen years or older, but younger than fifteen years of age and one count of forcible sodomy. (June 12, 2012 Tr. 7-12, 98.) The Circuit Court sentenced Bugg to an active twenty-year term of imprisonment. (Sept. 12, 2012 Tr. 16.) Bugg unsuccessfully appealed. The Court of Appeals of Virginia aptly summarized the evidence of Bugg's guilt as follows:

[T]he evidence proved that in March 2010 when the victim was thirteen years old, she met appellant. Later that day, appellant came to the victim's residence and the two engaged in consensual sexual intercourse. The victim further testified that she had intercourse with appellant on another occasion in March and twice in May 2010.
The victim testified that on the first occasion, she and appellant "had sex." She explained by '"sex"' she meant "vaginal intercourse" and confirmed appellant's penis penetrated her vagina. In describing the three subsequent incidents, the victim testified again that she and appellant "had sex" and confirmed she meant "vaginal intercourse."
On April 8, 2011, appellant picked up the victim and drove to his residence. The victim explained the two remained in the car. She testified appellant "wanted [her] to have oral sex with him." When she refused, appellant grabbed her by the hair and pulled her down to his exposed penis. The victim resisted, but appellant "told [her] ... that [she] was going to do it anyway." While appellant pushed her head down, she "just did it." She confirmed she "perform[ed] oral sex on him" until he ejaculated.

Bugg v. Commonwealth, No. 1844-12-2, at 3 (Va. Ct. App. Sept. 6, 2013).

         On September 16, 2015, Bugg filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court of Virginia wherein he raised a more fulsome version of Claims One through Three. (ECF No. 14-1, at 17-18.) On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed the state petition for a writ of habeas corpus. (ECF No. 28-1, at 1-3.)

         II. THE APPLICABLE CONSTRAINTS UPON FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS 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. Blanker, 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 ...

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