United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
A. Sanzone, Sanzone & Baker, L.L.P., Lynchburg, Virginia,
Christopher P. Schandevel, Assistant Attorney General, Office
of the Attorney General, Richmond, Virginia, for the
P. Jones, United States District Judge.
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2254, Cody Mitchell Besch, through counsel, contends that his
confinement pursuant to a 2016 judgment entered by a Virginia
state court is unconstitutional. Upon review of the record, I
conclude that the respondent’s Motion to Dismiss must
was convicted after a bench trial in the Rockbridge County
Circuit Court of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
and other charges. On November 8, 2016, the trial court
sentenced Besch to an aggregate sentence, but suspended a
portion of it, for a total active sentence of seven years in
prison. Besch moved unsuccessfully to set aside the verdict
or, in the alternative, grant a new trial. The sentence for
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is five years.
appealed that conviction to the Court of Appeals of Virginia.
He argued that the predicate felony convictions were not
lawful and were thus not admissible against him at
trial. The court of appeals denied his petition
for appeal and the Supreme Court of Virginia refused his
subsequent appeal. Besch has not filed a state habeas corpus
January of 2019, through counsel, Besch filed the Petition
for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in this court, challenging the
validity of his detention on the following grounds:
(1) The trial court erred by admitting into evidence
inadmissible prior conviction orders in violation of
Besch’s Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, his
rights at common law, and the applicable Virginia statutes;
(2) The trial court erred by convicting Besch of being a
felon in possession of a firearm without sufficient proof
that the underlying felony convictions were lawful.
3–4, ECF No. 1. The respondent has filed a Motion to
Dismiss,  which I find to be ripe for disposition.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), 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 ...