Williams v. Hobbs
ORDER adopting as supplemented 77 Proposed Findings and Recommendations. Considering all the material circumstances in this case in light of the governing law, Williams is not entitled to habeas relief. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 5/15/2014. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
PHILLIP D. WILLIAMS,
ADC # 115975
ARTIS RAY HOBBS, Director,
Arkansas Department of Correction
The Court of Appeals remanded for this Court to determine whether
Williams's new evidence satisfied the demanding actual-innocence standard.
The Court appreciates Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe's
recommendation, NQ 77. Because Williams objected to it, NQ 78, the Court has
reviewed de novo.
R. CIV. P. 72(b)(3). Though the objections are not
typed, the Court did not have any trouble reading or understanding them. As
Williams has requested, NQ 79, the Court has given his arguments the same
weight as if made by a lawyer in a typed brief. By letter, approximately three
months ago, Williams also asked to make additional arguments, and offer
more evidence, out of time. He has not submitted anything else, though. The
Court concludes that the existing record and briefing is adequate. Opposed
recommendation adopted as supplemented.
Williams says he is actually innocent of aggravated robbery and felony
capital murder. NQ 78 at 4-5. He provides two affidavits-one from his
alleged accomplice, Kareem Holloway, and one from Antoine Williams,
another prisoner. A showing of actual innocence can serve as a gateway
through which a petitioner can obtain federal court review of an otherwise
barred claim. Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 315 (1995). But such a claim is
"rarely successful." Schlup, 513 U.S. at 324.
First, Williams must" support his allegations of constitutional error with
new reliable evidence ... that was not presented at trial." Ibid. Holloway's
affidavit is not reliable evidence. Holloway admits that he told different
stories to the police and at trial. NQ 2 at 7. This inconsistency undermines
Holloway's credibility and creates real doubt about whether he's telling the
truth now. Amrine v. Bowersox, 238 F.3d 1023, 1029 (8th Cir. 2001). Antoine
Williams's affidavit is also unreliable. NQ 2 at 10. He is trying to testify about
what Holloway said to him. This is hearsay. Moreover, Antoine Williams is
a third party with no independent knowledge of this case. Last, affidavits are
generally disfavored because they provide no opportunity for cross-2-
examination. Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390,417-18 (1993).
Second, Williams must show that "it is more likely than not that no
reasonable juror would have convicted him in light of the new evidence."
Schlup, 513 U.S. at 327. Williams says that Holloway's affidavit proves
Williams didn't know a robbery was going to take place and didn't shoot
Eldrick. N2 78 at 4-6. But even if Williams hadn't planned with Holloway to
steal money, a jury could reasonably conclude that his proximity to the
robbery and association with Holloway made him an accomplice to what
happened. Williams v. State, 351 Ark. 215,224-25,91 S.W.3d 54,59-60 (2002).
Williams also says that Holloway's allegedly perjured testimony had a great
impact on the jury. N2 78 at 4. Holloway, though, wasn't the only witness.
Williams and Eldrick' s aunt testified too. She identified Williams (by the shirt
he was wearing) as the one who repeatedly shot Eldrick as he was falling
down. Williams, 351 Ark. at 220,91 S.W.3d at 57. Williams, for his part, said
this was a drug deal gone bad and he only shot at Eldrick in self-defense.
Williams, 351 Ark. at 222, 91 S.W.3d at 58. The jury had to resolve the
inconsistencies in all this testimony. With Holloway's changed testimony, the
State's case would have been weaker; but a reasonable juror could still have
voted to convict on the robbery and capital-murder charges. Holloway and
Williams's affidavits, therefore, do not satisfy Schlup's demanding standard.
Finally, the Court must consider any unjustifiable delay in evaluating
Williams's actual-innocence claim. McQuiggin v. Perkins, 133 S. Ct. 1924, 1928
(2013). This Court previously held that Williams did not exercise reasonable
diligence and that no extraordinary circumstances prevented him from filing
a timely habeas petition. NQ 52. Williams's delay in filing, albeit short, raises
further doubt about his actual innocence. McQuiggin, 133 S. Ct. at 1936.
Considering all the material circumstances in this case in light of the
governing law, Williams is not entitled to habeas relief.
D.P. Marshall Jr. f/
United States District Judge
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