United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
Anthony J. Trenga, United States District Judge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April 17, 2017, Joyner filed a petition for a state writ of
habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia, raising the
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.
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.
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
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
6. Object to prosecutorial misconduct when the prosecutor
allowed conflicting testimony by the detective to go
7. Object to prosecutorial misconduct when the prosecutor
commented on the alleged conversation between Joyner and the