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Jenkins v. Williams

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

October 30, 2018

TAMMY C. B. WILLIAMS, Respondent.


          Hon. Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge

         Paul Allen Jenkins, 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 in the Alleghany County Circuit Court. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss, and Jenkins responded, making the matter ripe for disposition. After review of the record, the court concludes that the petition must be dismissed.


         At the guilty plea hearing, the Commonwealth's Attorney summarized the evidence against Jenkins as follows:

On June the 5th, 2014 in Alleghany County, the defendant, Paul Jenkins, had planned a robbery and had his wife drop him off at the Kmart store after which she drove around to the side of the building to wait for him. The defendant entered the Kmart store wearing pantyhose over his face as a mask carrying a black BB pistol. He approached the first clerk, Marlena Gordon, showing her the gun and demanding the money out of the cash register. He asked her to put it in a bag that he was holding. Ms. Gordon was scared and told him she was going to pass out. The defendant went to the next clerk, Shawna Lavelette and showed her the gun and demanded the money from her as well. After getting no money the defendant said if he had to come back he would show them what scared was. He hurried out of the door to the waiting van. A customer, Lina Walton, followed the defendant out the door and over to the fence and actually took his picture climbing over the fence. Mr. Walton heard the defendant yell get the hell out of here the cops are coming before getting in the van. Mr. Walton showed the photo that he had taken to Corporal Deem from the Alleghany County Sheriffs Office who had shown up in response to the call. Corporal Deem was able to see the van and he pointed out the direction in which the van travelled. After the defendant left the scene in the van he peeled the ... masking tape off of the license plate that he had used to cover it and threw it in a parking lot in an apartment complex nearby. He removed his mask, hat, two shirts, and put them in a bag and also threw them out of the car. Virginia State Police and Alleghany County Sheriffs Office responded. Corporal Deem and Trooper Ratliff stopped the defendant's van and found him in the passenger seat with his wife driving. The BB pistol was located in the back, as well as a roll of masking tape. The bag of clothes was later recovered. We have that as evidence and inside the bag was the pantyhose that he had used as a mask and a hat and two shirts. Corporal Deem also found the masking tape, a ball of masking tape that [Jenkins] had thrown out at the apartment complex. After being arrested the defendant confessed in a recorded statement and indicated he had planned the robbery and had bought the gun and the hose at Walmart. . . about three days before the robbery was actually carried out. He said that he was sick and coming off methadone and needed money to buy the drugs to make him feel better.

Trial Tr. 12-14 (March 23, 2016), State Habeas R. 69-71. Jenkins did not object to the Commonwealth's proffer.

         Jenkins pleaded guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, to two counts of attempted robbery and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The Alleghany County Circuit Court convicted Jenkins and sentenced him to twenty years in prison, with eight years suspended. Jenkins did not appeal his convictions, but he did file a state habeas petition in the Supreme Court of Virginia.

         II. Current Petition

         On or around April 23, 2018, Jenkins filed a § 2254 petition, alleging the following claims:

1. the sheriffs office violated his Miranda[1] rights by disregarding his request for counsel and continuing to interrogate him;
2. Jenkins did not validly waive his Miranda rights based on the officer's coercive acts;
3. trial counsel was ineffective for (1) not advising Jenkins of the sentencing guidelines or his potential punishment and (2) not objecting to certain prejudicial issues; and
4. the Commonwealth engaged in misconduct by denying Jenkins a medical evaluation to determine his mental state. Jenkins seeks reversal of his convictions.

         Jenkins' petition is timely, and this matter is now before the court on Respondent's motion to dismiss.

         III. Exhaustion and Procedural Default

          "[A] federal court may not grant a writ of habeas corpus to a petitioner in state custody unless the petitioner has first exhausted his state remedies by presenting his claims to the highest state court." Baker v. Corcoran. 220 F.3d 276, 288 (4th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). To meet the exhaustion requirement, a petitioner "must have presented to the state court both the operative facts and the controlling legal principles." Kasi v. Angelone, 300 F.3d 487, 501-02 (4th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A state prisoner can obtain federal habeas review of a procedurally defaulted claim if he shows either (1) cause and prejudice or (2) a miscarriage of justice. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991). To show cause, a petitioner must demonstrate that there were "objective factors," external to his defense, which impeded him from raising his claim at an earlier stage. Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 488 (1986). To show prejudice, a petitioner must establish that the alleged constitutional violation worked to his actual and substantial disadvantage, infecting his entire trial with error of a constitutional magnitude. Id.

         Under Martinez v. Ryan,566 U.S. 1 (2012), a federal habeas petitioner may satisfy the "cause" requirement of an otherwise procedurally defaulted claim of ineffective assistance if: (1) the ineffective assistance claim is a "substantial" one; (2) the "cause" for default "consist[s] of there being no counsel or only ineffective counsel during the state collateral review proceeding"; (3) "the state collateral review proceeding was the initial review proceeding in respect to the ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim"; and (4) state law "requires that an ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claim be raised in an initial-review collateral proceeding." Fowler v. Joyner. 753 F.3d 446, 461 (4th Cir. 2014) ...

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