United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court upon Petitioner John
Arthur Stroud's pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. No. 1) and
Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No.
is a prisoner of the State of North Carolina, who, on April
16, 2015, was convicted by a Mecklenburg County Superior
Court jury of felonious breaking or entering, larceny after
breaking or entering, felonious possession of stolen goods,
and non-felonious possession of stolen goods. State v.
Stroud, 799 S.E.2d 279, 2017 WL 1629379, at *2 ( N.C.
Ct. App.) (unpublished table decision), appeal
dismissed, review denied, 803 S.E.2d 160 ( N.C.
2017). Stroud pleaded guilty to attaining the status of a
habitual felon. Id. The trial court arrested
judgment on the felonious possession of stolen goods charge,
consolidated the other felony convictions, and sentenced
Stroud as a habitual felon to a term of 115 to 120 months in
prison. Id. The court sentenced Stroud to a
consecutive term of 120 days on the non-felonious possession
of stolen goods charge. Id.
appealed. The North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an
unpublished opinion on May 2, 2017, finding no prejudicial
error had occurred at trial. Stroud, 799 S.E.2d 279,
2017 WL 1629379, at *4. Thereafter, Stroud filed a notice of
appeal and a petition for discretionary review in the North
Carolina Supreme Court. State v. Stroud, 803 S.E.2d
160 (2017) (Mem). On August 17, 2017, the State Supreme Court
entered an Order dismissing the notice of appeal and denying
the petition for discretionary review. Id.
filed the instant federal habeas Petition on March 7, 2018.
(§ 2254 Pet. 21, Doc. No. 1.) Stroud claims he was
deprived of his right to meaningful appellate review, the
right to the effective assistance of appellate counsel, due
process, and equal protection because his trial transcript is
deficient and incomplete (Ground One). (§ 2254 Pet. 5.)
Stroud also claims the trial court erred in instructing the
jury on flight (Ground Two). (§ 2254 Pet. 6-8.)
Stroud's remaining grounds for relief (Three and Four)
merely repeat the allegations and claims made in Grounds One
and Two. (§ 2254 Pet. 8-9. 17.)
has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 9), and
Stroud has filed three letters addressed to Respondent, which
the Court construes collectively as a response to the Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. Nos. 11-13). The response raises
claims that are not included in the § 2254 Petition -
ineffective assistance of trial counsel, lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, and prosecutorial misconduct. (Doc. No.
11.) The Court shall not consider any of these new claims.
The Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts requires that all grounds for relief be
raised in the habeas petition. See Rule 2, 28
U.S.C.A. foll. § 2254. While a petitioner may move to
amend his habeas petition to add new claims, see
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, Stroud has not done so.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate in those cases where there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact, and it appears that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2); United States v. Lee, 943
F.2d 366, 368 (4th Cir. 1991). Any permissible inferences to
be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986). Where, however, the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of
fact to find for the non-moving party, disposition by summary
judgment is appropriate. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), habeas relief may be granted to a
state prisoner only if the state court's last
adjudication of a claim on the merits “resulted in a
decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of, clearly established Federal law, as
determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, ”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), or “resulted in a decision
that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts
in light of the evidence presented in the State court
proceeding, ” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2). To obtain
relief under § 2254(d)(1), a petitioner “is
required to ‘show that the state court's ruling on
the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in
justification that there was an error well understood and
comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for
fairminded disagreement.'” Woods v.
Donald, 135 S.Ct. 1372, 1376 (2015) (per curiam)
(quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103
Incomplete Trial Transcript
claims he was denied his right to “effective”
appellate review, effective assistance of appellate counsel,
due process, and equal protection because his trial
transcript is deficient and incomplete. (§ 2254 Pet. 5,
8, 17.) Stroud raised the substance of his due process
claim on direct appeal, and the North Carolina
Court of Appeals denied it on the merits. Stroud,
799 S.E.2d 279, 2017 WL 1629379, at *2-*3.
North Carolina Court of Appeals summarized the evidence in
this case as follows:
On 31 May 2013, Joanna Petrie was returning to her
family's home in Charlotte when she saw an unfamiliar man
exit her garage, get into a white Ford Escape, and drive
away. Joanna took note of the car's license plate number
and told her mother, Julia Petrie, what she had seen. Joanna
and Julia quickly discovered that two sets of golf clubs and
two golf bags were missing from the garage. The Petries
contacted the police.
The police determined that the vehicle Joanna had seen was
registered to Kyana Renee Stele. When the police contacted
Stele, she informed them that her mother and her mother's
boyfriend, Defendant John Arthur Stroud, were the primary
users of the car. Stele further informed the police that
Stroud would be picking her mother up from a doctor's
appointment later that afternoon.
The police were waiting for Stroud at the doctor's office
when he arrived to pick up Stele's mother. Stroud arrived
in Stele's white Ford Escape with the license plate
matching the one Petrie observed in her driveway. There were
golf clubs and bags in the back seat. The police arrested
Stroud at the scene.
Later that day, Julia Petrie's husband, Christopher
Petrie, identified one set of golf clubs and one golf bag
recovered from Stroud as ones stolen from the Petrie's
garage. But half of Christopher's clubs were still
missing, and he informed the police that the other golf
equipment recovered from the car-a green golf bag and another
set of clubs-were not his.
The police soon identified a recently opened case where
another homeowner had reported that golf clubs and a green
golf bag had been stolen from his open garage. The police
contacted that victim, who identified the other bag and clubs
as those taken from his garage.
Stroud, however, maintained that the golf equipment found in
the car belonged to him. He claimed that the owner of a pawn
shop where he was formerly employed gave him the equipment as
a gift. He also claimed that he was at home, doing floor
repairs, when Joanna Petrie witnessed someone leaving her
family's garage and that, during the time of the theft,
Stroud had loaned Stele's white Ford Escape to a friend.
. . . The State tried Stroud on 13 April 2015.
At the charge conference, the State requested an instruction
on flight. Stroud objected. The trial court overruled the