United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
GRADDY UNITED DISRTICT JUDGE
Brantley, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, challenging a conviction of robbery and related
offenses entered in the Circuit Court for the City of
Hopewell. The matter comes before the Court on a
Motion to Dismiss the petition filed by the respondent, to
which petitioner has filed a reply. For the reasons which
follow, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted, and the
petition will be dismissed, with prejudice.
29, 2013, following a jury trial, Brantley was convicted of
robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a robbery, and
wearing a mask in public. Case Nos. CR12-233-234 and -244. He
received a sentence of eight years and 12 months
incarceration. In denying Brantley's direct appeal, the
Court of Appeals described the facts underlying the
conviction as follows:
[O]n December 13, 2011, Megan Gammon was working at a
McDonald's restaurant. She explained that shortly after
the restaurant opened at 5:00 a.m., a man entered the
restaurant, grabbed the phone from her hand, and ordered her
to open the safe. The masked man took money from the cash
drawers and safe and then fled the scene. He had repeatedly
asked Gammon where the money was from the day before. Gammon
understood the man's requests as pertaining to the
restaurant's deposit which is left in the store overnight
and then deposited the next morning.
Another employee saw the man with the gun. The intruder
pointed the gun at her and ordered her to get on the floor.
Arthur Jones, another employee, also saw the man with the
gun. The man asked Jones where the night drop bag was, which
suggested to Jones that the man currently or previously
worked at a McDonald's restaurant.
George Armistead was working at the restaurant when he saw a
man standing by the door. Armistead identified the man as
appellant at trial. The man was outside and not wearing a
mask. Armistead explained the man pulled on the door, which
was not yet unlocked as the restaurant had not opened.
Armistead went into the bathroom and when he emerged he
learned the restaurant had just been robbed. Armistead
described the man he had seen outside to the other employees
who confirmed the robber wore the same distinctive clothing
Jasmine Reid testified that on the morning of the robbery,
appellant was sleeping at her house. He awoke at three or
four in the morning and stated he 'was about to go
somewhere to make a run.' Appellant returned to the
residence before 7:00 a.m., and Reid later found money
stacked in her apartment. Appellant refused to state where he
obtained the money. Reid also testified she believed
appellant had a gun and that she had previously purchased
ammunition for him. Reid recognized the jacket the robber is
seen wearing in a surveillance video as well as the pink bag
the robber had been seen carrying. She explained the jacket
belonged to appellant and that the bag belonged to her.
The evidence revealed appellant had worked at the restaurant
from 2004 to 2006. When first confronted by the police,
appellant provided a false name.
Brantley v. Commonwealth, R. No. 1497-13-2 (Va. Ct.
App. Feb. 19, 2014). Brantley sought further review by the
Supreme Court of Virginia, which refused his petition for
appeal on August 15, 2014. Brantley v. Commonwealth,
R. No. 140448 (Va. Aug. 15, 2014).
initially filed a petition for a state writ of habeas corpus
in the Supreme Court of Virginia on December 1, 2014 and
voluntarily withdrew it in January, 2015. On March 23, 2015,
he filed a second state habeas petition in which he raised
the following claims:
A. Counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file
a motion for discovery and present "exculpatory
evidence" to the jury.
B. The Commonwealth engaged in misconduct by failing to
disclose the results of a fingerprint analysis.
C. Counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing: (1) to
object to the Commonwealth's motion for nolle
prosequi; (2) to argue "exculpatory evidence;"
and (3) to move for a continuance.
D. The evidence was insufficient to prove that he committed
E. Counsel was ineffective for failing to raise appealable
issues on direct appeal.
F. Counsel was ineffective for failing to object to an
G. The Commonwealth engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by
moving for the admission of false and inadmissible evidence,
a pink handbag.
H. Counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the false
and inadmissible evidence, the pink bag.
Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed the petition on January
7, 2016. Brantley v. Clarke, R. No. 150452 (Va. Jan.
7, 2016). Brantley's subsequent motion for a rehearing of
that result was denied on March 24, 2016.
then turned to the federal forum and filed the instant
application for § 2254 relief by placing it into the
institutional mail system on June 22, 2016. Pet. at 15. In
it, he makes the following claims:
1. Counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to
object to admission of the pink handbag which was retrieved
from an unrelated crime scene and was alleged to have been