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Carter v. Clarke

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

November 13, 2018

JAMES W. CARTER, Petitioner,
v.
HAROLD CLARKE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Jackson L. Kiser, Senior United States District Judge.

         James W. Carter, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, timely filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the validity of his confinement on a probation revocation by the Roanoke City Circuit Court. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss, and Carter failed to respond, making the matter ripe for disposition. After review of the record, I grant the motion to dismiss, and dismiss the petition.[1]

         I.

         In 2016, Carter's probation officer authored a major violation report alleging Carter was convicted of DUI and driving on a revoked license, and that he had failed to report to the probation office, had used alcohol, and had tested positive for marijuana and cocaine. Carter - conceded the violations, and the Roanoke City Circuit Court revoked eight years of his previously suspended sentence, re-suspended six years of the sentence, ordered three years of supervised probation, and set a judgment of $623. Carter's appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia was unsuccessful. He did not file a direct appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia. Carter later filed a state habeas petition based on the probation revocation, but the Supreme Court of Virginia denied relief.

         II.

         Carter raises the following claims:

         1. The Commonwealth called a witness at the revocation hearing that violated Carter's confrontation rights; and

         2. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the testimony of a probation officer that did not know Carter during the revocation hearing.

         The respondent acknowledges that Carter's petition is timely.

         III. Standard 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) Resulted 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) Resulted 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); see also Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 403-13 (2000). "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 fair-minded jurists could agree on the correctness of the state court's decision." Harrington v. Richter,562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011). The AEDPA standard is "highly deferential" to both factual findings and legal ...


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