United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
K. MOON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Keith Lester, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro
se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the validity
of his confinement on a judgment by the Danville City Circuit
Court. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss Lester's
§ 2254 petition, and Lester responded, making the matter
ripe for disposition. After review of the record, I grant the
motion to dismiss.
September 26, 2013, Lester was convicted in the Danville City
Circuit Court of rape, three counts of use of a firearm, and
two counts of forcible sodomy. The circuit court sentenced him
to an active sentence of 73 years in prison. He appealed, but
the Court of Appeals of Virginia denied his petition, and
then affirmed the denial by a three-judge panel. Lester
appealed again, but the Supreme Court of Virginia refused
18, 2017, Lester filed the present petition, alleging two
1. Lester's right to due process of law was violated when
he was convicted upon insufficient evidence; and
2. Lester's due process rights were violated when his
silence during interrogation was used against him.
petition is timely and his claims are properly exhausted.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A); Baker v.
Corcoran, 220 F.3d 276, 288 (4th Cir. 2000).
obtain federal habeas relief, 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). Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), however, the
federal habeas court may not grant a writ of habeas corpus
based on any claim that a state court decided on the merits
unless that adjudication:
(1) [R]esulted 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
(2) [R]esulted 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). “Where, as here, the state
court's application of governing federal law is
challenged, it must be shown to be not only erroneous, but
objectively unreasonable.” Yarborough v.
Gentry, 540 U.S. 1, 5 (2003). Under this standard,
“[a] state court's determination that a claim lacks
merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as
‘fairminded jurists could disagree' on the
correctness of the state court's decision.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011)
(quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664
sufficiency claims, the standard of review is “whether,
after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have
found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable
doubt.” Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319