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Thompson v. Hooks

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

March 29, 2018

RASHEED THOMPSON, Petitioner,
v.
ERIK A. HOOKS, Respondent.[1]

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner petitions this court for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This matter is before the court on respondent's motion for summary judgment (DE 8). The issues raised have been fully briefed and are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the court grants respondent's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner, a state inmate incarcerated at Sampson Correctional Institution, pleaded guilty in the New Hanover County Superior Court to second-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to 125-162 months imprisonment. (Resp't's App. (DE 10) Exs. 1, 2). Petitioner did not appeal his conviction.

         On March 30, 2016, petitioner filed a pro se motion for appropriate relief (MAR) to the New Hanover County Superior Court, alleging that his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel and coerced him to accept a plea bargain. (Id. Ex. 4; Resp't's Mem. (DE 11) at 1). The New Hanover County Superior Court dismissed the MAR as frivolous on April 21, 2016. (Resp't's App. (DE 10) Ex. 4 at 3-4). Petitioner filed two pro se certiorari petitions seeking to appeal the denial of his MAR. (Id. Exs. 5 & 6). On August 19, 2016, the North Carolina Court of Appeals summarily denied both petitions. (Id. Exs. 8 & 9).

         On January 12, 2017, petitioner filed a pro se ex parte motion for an investigator with this court. The court reviewed the filing and determined petitioner was challenging his state court conviction or sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and entered an order directing petitioner to re-file the petition on the appropriate form. Petitioner filed the instant habeas petition on January 30, 2017, alleging that he “plead[ed] guilty through duress . . . actual force and threats.” (Pet. (DE 4) at 5). As support for his claim, petitioner states that he received “misadvice [sic] from counsel, an [sic] misrepresentation.” (Id.) Petitioner also states that counsel “did not do what I have ask [sic] him to do, by not give [sic] me the preliminary hearing an [sic] I had ask [sic] for an [sic] ex parte motion for an investigator.” (Id.)

         On June 29, 2017, respondent filed the instant motion for summary judgment arguing that petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief. Petitioner responded to the motion by filing a document titled “affidavit of rescission of contract/plea agreement.”

         DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there exists no genuine issue of material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of initially coming forward and demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party then must affirmatively demonstrate that there exists a genuine issue of material fact requiring trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). There is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

         The standard of review for habeas petitions brought by state inmates, where the claims have been adjudicated on the merits in the state court, is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). That statute states that habeas relief cannot be granted in cases where a state court considered a claim on its merits unless the decision was contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court, or the state court decision was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) and (2). A state court decision is “contrary to” Supreme Court precedent if it either arrives at “a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court on a question of law” or “confronts facts that are materially indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court precedent and arrives at a result opposite” to that of the Supreme Court. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 406 (2000). A state court decision “involves an unreasonable application” of Supreme Court law “if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme] Court's cases but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the state prisoner's case.” Id. at 407. A state court decision also may apply Supreme Court law unreasonably if it extends existing Supreme Court precedent to a new context where it does not apply, or unreasonably refuses to extend existing precedent to a new context where it should apply. Id. The applicable statute

does not require that a state court cite to federal law in order for a federal court to determine whether the state court's decision is an objectively reasonable one, nor does it require a federal habeas court to offer an independent opinion as to whether it believes, based upon its own reading of the controlling Supreme Court precedents, that the [petitioner's] constitutional rights were violated during the state court proceedings.

Bell v. Jarvis, 236 F.3d 149, 160 (4th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 830 (2001). Moreover, a determination of a factual issue made by a state court is presumed correct, unless rebutted by clear and convincing ...


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