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Joyner v. Clarke

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

March 11, 2019

Wayne Antonio Joyner, Petitioner,
v.
Harold W. Clarke, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Anthony J. Trenga, United States District Judge.

         Wayne Antonio Joyner, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction of numerous offenses following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk. The matter comes before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss the petition filed by the respondent, to which petitioner has filed his opposition. For the reasons which follow, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted, and the petition will be dismissed, with prejudice.

         I. Background

         On January 5, 2015, Joyner was convicted of malicious wounding, armed burglary, conspiracy to commit armed burglary, two counts of robbery, two counts of abduction with intent to extort money, and six counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Nos. CR130002780-00 through -02, -04 and -05; CR13004006-00 through -03, -07 through -10. Resp. Ex. 1. He was sentenced to 104 years' imprisonment with 46 years suspended. Resp. Ex. A.

         The charges against Joyner stemmed from a home invasion robbery that occurred on June 7, 2013 at the apartment of Cheharri Eddins and Keshawn Saunders in Norfolk. In the early morning hours Saunders heard a loud noise and a masked man kicked in the bedroom door. Resp. Ex. F, Tr. 52. Saunders struggled with the masked man and shot him in the chest. Id. at 53- 57. Another masked man entered the room and shot Saunders. Id. at 165-70. Both of the intruders were armed with handguns. Id. at 164-65. The first masked man held Saunders down while the second searched the apartment and then returned to the bedroom and yelled at Saunders and Eddins, "Bitch give me all the money, where is the money, where is the drugs?" Id. at 167-68, 174. He made eye contact with Eddins, repeated his demands, and told her not to move. Id. at 168. He then searched the bedroom and took cash, marijuana and a gun. Id. at 185.

         Saunders was transported to a hospital, and Joyner arrived at the same hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest. Police collected Joyner's clothing as evidence. Id. at 405-08. Joyner told police he had been shot at a general location different from where the robbery occurred and said "somebody" had dropped him off at the hospital; the police did not believe him. Id. at 410. Saunders' DNA was recovered from the shoes Joyner was wearing on the night the crimes took place, and Joyner's DNA was recovered from the carpet at the victims' apartment. Id. at 387-88. Joyner admitted at trial that he was in the victims' apartment but claimed he had gone there to return some marijuana when a fight broke out. Id. at 439-54.

         Joyner took a direct appeal only of his convictions for the robbery of Cheharri Eddins and the related firearms offense; he did not appeal the eleven additional convictions that pertained to Keshawn Saunders. He argued on the direct appeal that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions, and the Court of Appeals determined that the claim was barred pursuant to Va. Sup. Ct. R. 5A:I8 because no motion to strike was made at the conclusion of all the evidence. Joyner v. Commonwealth, R. No. 2273-14-1 (Va. Ct. App. Sep. 8, 2015); Resp. Ex. B. The Supreme Court of Virginia refused Joyner's subsequent petition for appeal. Joyner v. Commonwealth, R. No. 151483 (Va. Apr. 22, 2016); Resp. Ex. C.

         On April 17, 2017, Joyner filed a petition for a state writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia, raising the following claims:

1. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to (a) challenge Detective Lautenbacher's testimony that he spoke to Keshawn Sanders at the crime scene; and (b) challenge Lautenbacher's testimony that he spoke to Sanders at the hospital from which he narrated an account that conflicted with the victim's testimony.
2. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to move to suppress Joyner's clothing and shoes which had been collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
3. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to prosecutorial misconduct after the prosecutor allowed Lautenbacher to present conflicting testimony regarding his encounters with Saunders and Joyner.
4. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate how the Norfolk police identified Joyner as the perpetrator of the robberies.

         Resp. Ex. D. The petition was dismissed on October 19, 2017. Joyner v. Clarke, R. No. 170570 (Va. Oct. 19, 2017); Resp. Ex. E. The Court denied rehearing on February 1, 2018. Resp. Ex. F.

         Meanwhile, Joyner filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to § 2254 on December 14, 2017, raising eleven claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Specifically, Joyner contends that counsel was ineffective for failing to:

1. Interview the victims who were witnesses for the Commonwealth.
2. Investigate how the police established probable cause for arrest on June 7, 2013.
3. Move to suppress Joyner's clothing that was seized without a warrant.
4. Investigate hospital staff to ascertain why Joyner's clothing was given to the police on June 7, 2013.
5. Challenge the detective's testimony that he spoke to the victim at the crime scene and the hospital and then narrated an account that conflicted with the victim's testimony.
6. Object to prosecutorial misconduct when the prosecutor allowed conflicting testimony by the detective to go uncorrected.
7. Object to prosecutorial misconduct when the prosecutor commented on the alleged conversation between Joyner and the ...

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