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Carroll v. Director, V.D.O.C

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

August 2, 2018

JOHN J. CARROLL, Petitioner,
v.
DIRECTOR, V.D.O.C., Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NORMAN K. MOON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         John J. Carroll, 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 Warren County Circuit Court. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss Carroll's § 2254 petition, and Carroll responded, making the matter ripe for disposition. After review of the record, I dismiss the petition.

         I. Background

         On November 12, 2013, the Warren County Circuit Court entered final judgment, pursuant to a plea agreement, convicting Carroll of aggravated sexual battery and indecent liberties. The trial court imposed a five year active sentence. Carroll's direct and collateral appeals were unsuccessful.

         On November 3, 2017, Carroll timely filed the present petition, stating two claims:

1. The trial court erred in refusing to suppress the petitioner's custodial statements to police which were made without Miranda[1] warnings and without a waiver; and
2. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to (a) object or impeach the officer's inconsistent testimony during the motion to suppress and (b) allow the petitioner to testify to rebut the testimony of the officer.

         Respondent moves to dismiss Carroll's claims as without merit, and Carroll responded to the motion.

         In his response to the motion to dismiss, Carroll appears to allege additional ineffective assistance claims:

3. Counsel failed to recognize and object to the alleged victim's inadmissible statements;
4. Counsel failed to investigate the DNA evidence;
5. Counsel failed to argue that Carroll's confession was inadmissible because Carroll was on drugs at the time of the interview; and
6. Counsel failed to investigate the case more thoroughly.

         Resp. in Opp. of Mot. to Dismiss 11-16, ECF No. 21. Even though Carroll did not request permission to file an amended petition, I address his new claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). For relief, Carroll seeks vacation of his convictions and a new trial.

         II. Standards of Review

         To 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 States; or
(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 ...


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