United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Antoine Lamont Stanfield, Pro Se Petitioner;
W. Stallard, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the
Attorney General, Richmond, Virginia, for Respondent.
P. JONES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2254, Antoine Lamont Stanfield, a Virginia inmate proceeding
pro se contends that his confinement pursuant to a 2011
judgment entered by a state court is unconstitutional. Upon
review of the record, I conclude that the respondent's
Motion to Dismiss must be granted.
was convicted on May 8, 2010, after a bench trial in the
Circuit Court for the City of Danville, on one count of
possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. From the
trial evidence, the Court of Appeals of Virginia found the
[O]n December 7, 2009, Officer Torres executed a search
warrant at a house owned by Alphonzo and Tonya Tate. While
the Tates owned the house, the utilities were set up under
the name of Brenda Davis. When Torres arrived at the house,
the front door was open, but the screen door was closed.
Torres looked through the screen door, announced his
presence, and entered the house. Torres encountered two men
sitting on separate sofas in the living room. [Stanfield] was
seated on Torres' left, while another male was seated on
the right on a second sofa. The sofas were approximately six
to eight feet apart and perpendicular to each other.
As Torres entered the house, he saw [Stanfield] sitting
toward the middle of the sofa. [Stanfield] stretched out his
right arm to the edge of the sofa before bringing it back to
his side and placing it in his jacket pocket. After placing
it in his pocket, [he] again extended his right arm away from
his body and rested his hand along the top edge of the sofa.
Torres saw [Stanfield's] fingers move and ordered [him]
to raise his arms and to stand up.
While another officer detained [Stanfield], Torres
immediately checked the area where [Stanfield's] right
hand had been resting. Torres found $309 in cash on top of
the sofa between the arm rest and the cushions. The cash was
folded up. On the floor beneath the arm of the sofa where
[Stanfield] had initially extended his hand Torres found
forty-six individually packaged off-white rocks in a bag. The
contents of five of the bags were subsequently tested and
determined to be cocaine.
Police recovered over one thousand dollars in cash and a cell
phone from the male seated at the other sofa. The police
found little furniture in the rest of the tiny house. There
were no beds, clothing or personal effects. The only food in
the house was beer and cheese. In the room adjacent to the
living room, the officers found a folding table with chairs.
On the table were two sets of scales, one of which bore white
residue, and a box of baggies. Twenty baggies with the
corners ripped off were recovered from a trashcan in the same
room. No. smoking or ingestion devices were found in the
[Stanfield] was arrested. At trial, Detective Whitehead
testified as an expert in the packaging and distribution of
cocaine. Whitehead testified that the individual packaging of
the cocaine found near [Stanfield's] sofa, along with the
baggie corners and scale in the adjacent room, were more
consistent with distribution than with personal use. He also
stated that the condition of the house was consistent with
use as “a drug house for [the] packaging and [the]
distribution of drugs.”
Stanfield v. Commonwealth, Record No. 0256-16-3,
slip op. at 1-2 (Va. Ct. App. July 29, 2016).
final order dated December 22, 2011, the circuit court
sentenced Stanfield to a total of 10 years imprisonment, with
seven years and two months suspended. Stanfield appealed. The
Court of Appeals of Virginia dismissed Stanfield's appeal
for failure to pay the filing fee on time, and the Supreme
Court of Virginia refused his appeal of that ruling.
Stanfield then filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus,
seeking a belated appeal. By order dated December 3, 2013,
the Supreme Court of Virginia granted Stanfield's
petition, set a timeline for him to pursue a belated appeal,
and appointed appellate counsel.
December 20, 2013, Stanfield filed a second habeas corpus
petition, this time in the Circuit Court for the City of
Danville (“the circuit court petition”). He
alleged that the trial court had violated his rights by
concluding that the evidence was sufficient to support his
conviction. The circuit court dismissed the petition on March
31, 2014, with prejudice, on procedural grounds. Stanfield
did not appeal that ruling.
order dated June 24, 2014, the Supreme Court of Virginia
vacated its order of December 3, 2013, to reset the timeline
for Stanfield to pursue a belated appeal to the Court of
Appeals of Virginia. The attorney appointed to represent
Stanfield for this appeal failed to file a notice of appeal.
In November of 2015, Stanfield moved the court again for a
belated appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel. By
order dated November 23, 2015, the Supreme Court of Virginia
vacated its order of June 24, 2014, and reset the timeline
for appeal once again. Newly appointed counsel filed a Notice
of Appeal on February 12, 2016.
belated appeal petition contended that the evidence was not
sufficient to establish that he both possessed cocaine and
had the intent to distribute it. On July 29, 2016, the Court
of Appeals of Virginia denied Stanfield's direct appeal.
That court later denied his Petition for a Rehearing, and the
Supreme Court of Virginia refused his subsequent appeal on
April 25, 2017.
August of 2017, Stanfield filed a third state habeas
petition, his second in the Supreme Court of Virginia
(“the SCV petition”), which he later amended.
This state petition as amended raised substantially the same
claims for relief that Stanfield presents in his § 2254
petition. The SCV petition was dismissed by order dated July
timely filed this § 2254 petition in September of 2018,
alleging the following claims for relief:
(a) He was unlawfully seized during the execution of a search
(b) He did not receive a warning under Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), nor did he waive such
rights under Miranda;
(c) His indictment was defective because “the foreman
who signed a true bill does not appear to be named” in
a list of jurors who served on Stanfield's grand jury;
(d) The Commonwealth failed to comply with Va. Code Ann.
§ 19.2-187 “by not filing one of the certificates
in a timely manner” before Stanfield's trial;
(e)(1) Trial counsel was ineffective when he failed to object
to the untimely filed certificate of analysis while
“knowing the Commonwealth was not in compliance with
the strict filing requirements of” Va. Code Ann. §
(e)(2) Trial counsel was ineffective when he failed to move
to suppress evidence seized during the execution of the
(e)(3) Appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise
on appeal the Commonwealth's failure to comply with Va.