Goodson v. Davenport et al (INMATE 3)
ORDER that the court finds the Petitioner's 27 Objection to be without merit, and it is hereby OVERRULED; ORDER adopting 23 Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, and it is hereby ORDERED that this petition for habeas corpus relief is DENIED, and this case is DISMISSED with prejudice under 28 USC § 2244(d). Signed by Honorable Judge W. Harold Albritton, III on 10/16/2014. (wcl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FORTHE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
RONALD ANDRE GOODSON, #149540,
CARTER F. DAVENPORT, et al.,
CASE NO. 1:12-cv-193-WHA
This case is before the court on the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Doc. #23),
entered on August 4, 2014, and the Petitioner’s Objection thereto (Doc. #27), filed on September
9, 2014. The court has conducted an independent evaluation and de novo review of the file, and
finds as follows:
In his objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation, Goodson first
reargues an ineffective assistance of counsel claim presented in his § 2254 petition.
However, because the Magistrate Judge found his petition to be time-barred under the
federal limitation period, the Recommendation does not address the merits of his
ineffective assistance claim.
Goodson then reargues his actual-innocence claim, which was based on alleged
alibi testimony. The actual-innocence claim was fully addressed in the Magistrate
Judge’s Recommendation. After discussing the facts surrounding the actual innocence
claim, the Recommendation states:
The record reflects that Goodson was aware at the time of trial of the alibi witness
he offers as evidence of his actual innocence. Therefore, the evidence is not
new.1 Nor does it appear that such evidence is highly reliable. Goodson’s trial
counsel testified that a principal reason for his decision not to call this witness at
Goodson’s trial was his concern that the jury would not find her credible.
Although she was a friend of Goodson’s, the witness had also evidenced an
unwillingness to testify, a consideration Goodson’s counsel weighed in assessing
the value of presenting testimony from the witness. Thus, Goodson presents
neither new nor reliable evidence to establish his innocence. See Schlup, 513 U.S.
Even had the alibi witness testified at trial to the matters alleged by Goodson,
the jury could weigh and assess the credibility of such testimony against
the substantial evidence of Goodson’s guilt presented by the State. In its
memorandum opinion affirming Goodson’s conviction on direct appeal, the
Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals summarized the evidence2:
The Eleventh Circuit has not directly decided whether evidence available at trial but simply not
presented should be considered “new” under Schlup. See Rozzelle v. Secretary, Florida Dept. of
Corrections, 672 F.3d 1000, 1018 n.21 (11th Cir. 2012) (declining to reach issue but discussing
decisions from other circuits, some holding that evidence is not “new” under Schlup if it was
available at trial but petitioner chose not to present it to the jury, others holding that evidence is
“new” under Schlup so long as it was not presented at trial). In any case, even if Goodson’s
known-but-not-presented alibi evidence is considered “new” evidence under Schlup, that
evidence, as discussed in this Recommendation, was neither highly reliable nor of the sort that
would enable Goodson to carry his burden of demonstrating that it is more likely than not that no
reasonable juror would have convicted him in light of the alleged new evidence. See Schlup, 513
U.S. at 327.
Goodson was convicted of the July 20, 2005, robbery of the Shell station. The State introduced
evidence of two other robberies that occurred in the same vicinity in the same week as tending to
prove Goodson’s identity as the Shell station robber and to show his common plan or scheme.
The State’s evidence established that on July 20, 2005, Cassie
Phillips was working in her position as cashier at the Shell station
when a black male entered the business wearing a torn nylon
stocking over his head. He was holding a rusty silver revolver in
one and used his other hand to hold up his pants. He demanded
that Phillips give him all of the money from the register and she
On July 23, 2005, Carol Walters was working in her position as a
cashier at the Citgo station across the street from the Shell station
when a black male wearing a torn nylon stocking entered the
business brandishing a gun. He demanded that Walters give him
all of the money in the register and Walters complied.
On July 27, 2005, a CenturyTel phone mart was robbed. When the
cashier screamed that she had just been robbed, store manager
Valerie Thompson chased the robber in her car and obtained the
license plate number from his vehicle. She subsequently gave the
license plate number and a description of the automobile to police.
Upon further investigation, law enforcement officers determined
that the license plate number given to them by Thompson did not
match the vehicle described by Thompson. The database indicated
that the license plate in question was registered to a vehicle owned
by Goodson. A photographic lineup was prepared and shown to
Cassie Phillips. Phillips immediately identified Goodson as the
man who robbed her. At trial, both Phillips and Carol Walters
identified Goodson as the man who robbed them.
Doc. No. 12-4 at 1-2.
Here, the evidence presented by the State included eyewitness testimony
identifying Goodson as the Shell station robber as well as eyewitness testimony
linking Goodson and his car to similar robberies that occurred in the same vicinity
in the same week. Goodson’s trial counsel’s assessment of the questionable
credibility and limited worth of testimony from the alibi witness suggests that the
jury as well was unlikely to find her credible. Perhaps a jury would credit
Goodson’s alibi witnesses, or perhaps it would not. In either event, the alibi
testimony is not so ironclad in its reliability that it satisfies the criteria for actual
innocence. Goodson has not carried his burden of demonstrating “that it is more
likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted [him] in light of the
[alleged] new evidence.” Schlup, 513 U.S. at 327. Accordingly, the court
concludes that Goodson is not entitled to the actual innocence exception to the
habeas statute’s time-bar as articulated in Schlup.
Recommendation, Doc. No.23 at pp. 4-6.
The court finds that the Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation correctly addresses
Goodson’s actual-innocence claim and finds that it is not sufficient to provide an
exception to the habeas statute’s time-bar because it does not meet the strenuous standard
For the reasons stated above, the court finds the Petitioner’s objection to be
without merit, and it is hereby OVERRULED. The court ADOPTS the Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, and it is hereby
ORDERED that this petition for habeas corpus relief is DENIED, and this case is
DISMISSED with prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).
DONE this 16th day of October, 2014.
/s/ W. Harold Albritton
W. HAROLD ALBRITTON
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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