United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
Lee Grinnell, 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 constitutionality of his
conviction of three counts of breaking and entering with
intent to commit larceny entered on a plea of guilty in the
Circuit Court for Mathews County. On March 22, 2017,
respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss and Rule 5 Answer, along
with a supporting brief and exhibits. (Dkt. No. 13-16)
Petitioner was given the opportunity to file responsive
materials, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison. 528
F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) and Local Rule 7K, and he filed a
reply on April 10, 2017. (Dkt. No. 18) Accordingly, this
matter is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow,
respondent's Motion to Dismiss will be granted, and the
petition will be dismissed, with prejudice.
hearing on January 28, 2015, Grinnell entered a negotiated
plea of guilty to three counts of breaking and entering with
the intent to commit larceny. Case Nos. CR14000074,
CR14000078, CR14000085. In exchange, the Commonwealth
nolle prosequied six additional charges of grand
larceny, petit larceny, commission of larceny with the intent
to sell, and possession of heroin. Resp. Ex. 2. On May 27,
2015, Grinnell received an aggregate sentence of sixty years
in prison with fifty years suspended. Resp. Ex. 1.
4, 2016, Grinnell filed a petition for a state writ of habeas
corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia, asserting the
1. He received ineffective assistance when counsel advised
him not to ask the prosecutor to remove himself from the
2. He received ineffective assistance when counsel failed to
show him a letter from the Virginia Bar which demonstrated
that the prosecutor had a conflict of interest.
3. Counsel provided ineffective assistance by misinforming
him about penalty offers in plea agreements.
4. Counsel provided ineffective assistance by misinforming
him of the amount of time he would serve pursuant to the
5. He received ineffective assistance when counsel failed to
present the valid defense of "irresistible impulse"
because he was on drugs when he committed the crimes.
6. The trial court committed plain error by failing to
investigate and consider the effect of petitioner's drug
use on his mental competency when he committed the crimes.
7. The trial court committed plain error when it allowed
petitioner's probation officer to testify at sentencing.
8. The trial court committed plain error by allowing a
prosecutor who was related to two of the victims to handle
Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed the petition.
Grinnell v. Hester. R. No.1115653 (Va. Oct. 20,
2016); Resp. Ex. 5. Specifically, it rejected claims 1, 3, 4
and 5 because Grinnell had failed to offer a valid reason why
he should not be bound by his representation at the plea
colloquy that he was satisfied with the services of his
attorney. It found that claim 2 was without merit, and it
determined that claims 6, 7 and 8 were barred by the rule
enunciated in Slavton v. Parrigan. 215 Va. 27, 29,
205 S.E.2d 680, 682 (1974) (holding that a claim is
procedurally defaulted if the petitioner could have raised it
on direct appeal but did not).
then turned to the federal forum and timely filed this
application for §2254 relief on November 3, 2016. He
makes the following claims:
1. The trial court made statements that revealed it was
prejudiced, and that prejudice violated his right to a fair
trial and resulted in an unfair sentencing hearing.
2. The trial court allowed the admission of unfair evidence.
3. The prosecutor had a conflict of interest in two of the
4. He received ineffective assistance of counsel because his