United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
ROBERT J. CONRAD, Jr., District Judge.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on consideration of Respondent's motion for summary judgment on the claims presented by Petitioner in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons that follow, Respondent's motion will granted and Petitioner's Section 2254 petition will be denied and dismissed.
Petitioner is a prisoner of the State of North Carolina who was convicted following a jury trial in Buncombe County Superior Court on one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Petitioner entered a guilty plea to the aggravating factor of committing the offense while he was on pretrial release and he was sentenced to a term of 74 to 98 months' imprisonment and Petitioner appealed.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals summarized the evidence as follows:
On 17 March 2008, defendant approached his acquaintance Kenneth Dale Brown ("Brown") and requested assistance with tearing down a hot tub at defendant's residence ("the residence").
Defendant took Brown back to the residence, where three females were present. The two men began to tear down the hot tub. While they worked, the men also consumed alcohol and smoked marijuana. Defendant, Brown, and the three females all consumed alcohol until approximately 11:00 p.m., when Brown decided to leave.
As Brown attempted to leave the residence, defendant approached him and stabbed him in the chest with a knife. Someone at the residence then called 911 and paramedics were dispatched to the scene. When they arrived, they discovered that Brown had lost approximately one liter of blood. The paramedics were able to stabilize Brown and transport him to Mission Hospital. At the hospital, Brown underwent surgery to repair the damage caused by the stabbing.
On 18 March 2008, Brown's niece, Angela Revis ("Ms. Revis"), confronted defendant about the stabbing. Defendant initially denied knowing Brown. However, when Ms. Revis asked defendant if he had stabbed Brown, defendant replied that Brown "got what he deserved."
Later that day, defendant was stopped by law enforcement for driving with a revoked license, and as a result, defendant's car was impounded. Law enforcement subsequently secured a search warrant for defendant's vehicle. A search uncovered the t-shirt, jeans, and shoes that defendant was wearing at the time Brown was stabbed. The jeans had fluid consistent with blood on them.
Samples of Brown's shirt and defendant's jeans were then sent to the State Bureau of Investigation ("SBI") Crime Lab. The samples tested positive for the presence of blood. After this positive test, the samples were sent for further analysis, which confirmed that the samples contained Brown's DNA.
Defendant was indicted for one count of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Defendant was also indicted for the aggravating factor that he committed the offense while on pretrial release for another charge. Beginning 8 March 2010, defendant was tried by a jury in Buncombe County Superior Court. During the trial, Erin Ermish ("Ermish"), a forensic scientist with the SBI, testified about the test results which confirmed the presence of blood on Brown's shirt and the jeans recovered from defendant's vehicle. However, Ermish did not personally perform the tests for the presence of blood; her testimony was based upon her peer review of another SBI forensic scientist, Katie Harris ("Harris"). In addition, Sarah Johnson ("Johnson"), a forensic biologist with the SBI, testified about the tests she performed to confirm the presence of Brown's DNA on defendant's jeans.
On 10 March 2010, the jury returned a verdict of guilty to the lesser included offense of AWDWISI. Defendant pled guilty to the aggravating factor of committing the offense while on pretrial release for another charge. Consequently, the trial court sentenced defendant in the aggravated range to a minimum term of 74 months to a maximum term of 98 months in the North Carolina Department of Correction. Defendant appeals.
Petitioner raised only one argument on appeal: That the trial court erred in admitting Ermish's testimony concerning the results of tests performed by another SBI scientist Harris. As Petitioner argued, his Sixth Amendment right to confront Harris was violated with the admission of this testimony. The court of appeals agreed but rejected his claim for relief after finding that Petitioner had not raised such an objection in the trial court and that the testimony did not rise to the level of plain error. On May 17, 2011, the court of appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence. State v. Maynor , 713 S.E.2d 250 (Table) ( N.C. Ct. App. 2011). The Supreme Court of North Carolina dismissed his appeal and denied his petition for discretionary review. State v. Maynor , 732 S.E.2d 155 ( N.C. 2011).
On December 11, 2011, Petitioner filed a motion for appropriate relief (MAR) in the Buncombe County Superior Court and raised five claims for relief. (Doc. No. 1-3). The superior court denied relief and the court of appeals denied Petitioner's petition for a writ of certiorari. This federal ...