United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
Christopher John Horton, Petitioner, Pro se, Windsor, NC.
For State of NC, Respondent: Peter Andrew Regulski, LEAD ATTORNEY, North Carolina Attorney General, Raleigh, NC.
Frank D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 8).
A. Procedural Background
Petitioner is a prisoner of the State of North Carolina who was convicted on August 5, 2011, following a jury trial in Gaston County Superior Court on four counts of indecent liberties with a child (one count named Michael Young as the victim and three counts named Matthew Young (Michael's younger brother) as the victim), two counts of first-degree sex offense (one named Michael the victim and the other named Matthew the victim), and two counts of statutory sex offense (both counts named Matthew as the victim). The court arrested judgment on one of the first-degree sex offense charges. Defendant was sentenced to a total term of 542 to 670 months of imprisonment. Petitioner appealed, contending that trial counsel provided him with ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to prevent the jury from hearing inadmissible evidence concerning polygraph testing and that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury concerning the effect of false, contradictory, or conflicting evidence made by Petitioner. On February 19, 2013, in an unpublished opinion, the North Carolina Court of Appeals found no error and affirmed Petitioner's convictions. State v. Horton, 738 S.E.2d 453, 2013 WL 599953 ( N.C. Ct. App. 2013).
The North Carolina Court of Appeals summarized the facts from Petitioner's trial as follows:
1. State's Evidence
a. Michael Young's Testimony
Michael Young testified that he was born in 1982 and that his parents separated in 1992, shortly after the birth of his younger brother, Matthew. After their parents' divorce, Michael and Matthew lived with their mother, Susan Young, in Iron Station, North Carolina. In 1994, Michael joined the Boy Scouts and met Defendant, who was then about twenty-two years old and served as an assistant scoutmaster of the troop to which Michael belonged.
In 1995, Defendant began taking Michael to various activities and events and " tr[ied] to be a father figure for [him.]" In 1996, Defendant began living with the Young family; Michael and Matthew shared a room, while Defendant and Ms. Young had individual bedrooms. At that time, Michael was about fourteen years old, while Matthew was three or four. Defendant required the boys to address him as " Dad" and became angry if they forgot to do so. Defendant bought clothing and ...