Perryman v. Superintendent
OPINION AND ORDER: The 4 amended petition is DENIED, and the petitioner is DENIED a certificate of appealability. The clerk is DIRECTED to close this case. Signed by Judge William C Lee on 1/6/2017. cc: Perryman (tc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
MICAH DWAYNE PERRYMAN,
CAUSE NO. 3:15-CV-0033 WL
OPINION AND ORDER
Micah Dwayne Perryman, a pro se prisoner, filed an amended habeas corpus petition
challenging his 2006 conviction in Elkhart County for possession of cocaine with intent to
deliver and possession of marijuana. (DE 4.) For the reasons stated below, amended petition (DE
4) is DENIED and Perryman is DENIED a certificate of appealability. The clerk is DIRECTED
to close this case.
In deciding the petition, the court must presume the facts set forth by the state courts are
correct. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). It is Perryman’s burden to rebut this presumption with clear and
convincing evidence. Id. The Indiana Court of Appeals set forth the facts underlying Perryman’s
conviction as follows:
On May 4, 2003, Corporal Brian Schroth of the Elkhart Police Department
supervised a controlled drug buy from a residence at 210 W. Washington St. in
Elkhart. Corporal Schroth utilized a confidential informant (“C.I.”) who had in
the past provided him reliable information. Prior to the buy, the C.I. was searched
and given a $20.00 bill that had been photocopied.
Corporal Schroth, the C.I., and another officer arrived at the residence. The C.I.
went to the door and Michelle Weekly answered. The C.I. asked for a “twenty,”
(Tr. at 254) meaning $20.00 of crack cocaine. Weekly handed Perryman a “bag of
rocks.” (Id.) Perryman retrieved one rock of cocaine from the bag and handed the
rock to the C.I. The C.I. gave Perryman the $20.00 and left the house.
When police searched the C.I., they found only the rock of cocaine. Corporal
Schroth obtained a search warrant that was executed the next day. Lieutenant Leif
Freehafer arrived to search Perryman’s house and saw Perryman and a white
female leave the house and get into a white car. Lt. Freehafer blocked Perryman’s
car so it could not leave, and shortly thereafter the SWAT team entered the house.
Weekly was standing in the middle of the living room, and there was a partially
smoked blunt in the ashtray.
A search of the house revealed a vent in the basement that did not appear to be
connected to heating equipment. Two bags were found in the vent. One contained
35 bags of individually wrapped rocks of crack cocaine totaling 11.36 grams and
the other contained ten individually wrapped bags of marijuana totaling 14.92
A jury found Perryman guilty of possession of cocaine and marijuana. At
sentencing, the trial court found as aggravating circumstances Perryman's
criminal history, his status as a probationer at the time of this offense, and the
amount of drugs found in the residence. The trial court declined to place any
weight on the mitigating circumstances suggested by Perryman and imposed a
sentence of fifty years on the Class A felony and one year on the Class A
misdemeanor, which sentences were to run concurrently.
Perryman v. State, No. 20A03-0609-CR-408 (Ind. Ct. App. April 9, 2007), slip op. 2-3.
On direct appeal, Perryman raised the following claims: (1) the trial court erred in
admitting evidence found during a search from an illegal search warrant; and (2) the evidence
was insufficient to support the convictions. (DE 9-4.) The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his
conviction and sentence. (DE 9-6.) Perryman sought transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court
raising these same claims (DE 9-7), but his petition was denied. (DE 9-3.)
Thereafter, Perryman pursued state post-conviction relief. (DE 9-8; 9-9.) Following an
evidentiary hearing, the petition was denied. (DE 9-9.) On appeal of his post-conviction denial,
he argued that his trial counsel was ineffective and that the trial court failed to maintain a
complete audible recording of the proceedings. (DE 9-11.) The court rejected these arguments
and affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief, (DE 9-14), making the following additional
findings of fact:
Between approximately 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on May 4, 2003, Elkhart City
Police Corporal Brian Schroth supervised a controlled drug buy from a residence
at 210 W. Washington Street in Elkhart, which was a property rented by
Perryman. Corporal Schroth searched the confidential informant (“C.I.”) and gave
him twenty dollars. Corporal Schroth, Corporal Dave Baskins, and the C.I.
arrived at the residence, the C.I. entered the residence, and Perryman and
Michelle Weekly were present inside. Perryman asked the C.I. what he wanted,
and the C.I. said that he wanted “20,” which indicated that he wanted crack
cocaine worth twenty dollars. 2006 Transcript at 273. Weekly then went to the
bedroom and retrieved a bag, handed the bag to Perryman, and Perryman handed
crack cocaine to the C.I. The C.I. was in the residence for approximately one to
two minutes, exited the residence, and went straight to the vehicle containing
Corporal Schroth and handed the crack cocaine to him.
As a result of the information and items gathered, the police obtained a search
warrant. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on May 5, 2003, the police executed the
search warrant. Perryman, Brandy Bowen, and Weekly were present during the
execution of the warrant. The police discovered two bags containing individually
wrapped rocks of crack cocaine in an air duct. One of the baggies had thirty-five
individually wrapped rocks of crack cocaine. The police found approximately
sixteen grams of crack cocaine, twenty grams of marijuana, and a marijuana blunt
cigar containing approximately 1.7 grams of marijuana. On May 9, 2003, the
State charged Perryman with: Count I, possession of cocaine in excess of three
grams as a class A felony; Count II, dealing in cocaine as a class B felony; Count
III, maintaining a common nuisance as a class D felony; and Count IV, possession
of marijuana as a class A misdemeanor. On January 12, 2004, Perryman’s counsel
filed a motion to suppress all items seized by law enforcement officials and any
communications made by Perryman with law enforcement officers. Perryman’s
counsel argued that the affidavit for the search warrant was largely dependent on
the unreliable information provided by the C.I. and was not supported by probable
On February 27, 2004, the State filed a Notice of Intent to Offer I.R.E. 404(b)
Evidence which stated: “It is anticipated that as part of his defense, [Perryman]
will argue or present evidence that the cocaine was possessed, not with the intent
to deliver, but for his personal use.” Petitioner’s Exhibit 5. The State asserted that
it was permitted to offer evidence relating to the controlled buy of cocaine and the
subsequent search under Evidence Rule 404(b) to show proof of motive, intent, or
absence of mistake or accident. Perryman’s counsel objected and made an oral
motion in limine, which the court overruled.
On direct appeal, this court reversed based upon improper voir dire. Id. at 1011.
On March 21, 2006, prior to the start of his second trial and through new counsel,
Perryman filed a Motion to Suppress or in the Alternative Motion to reconsider
and argued that the information provided by Corporal Schroth did not come from
first-hand knowledge that a crime had been committed, that Corporal Schroth did
not personally observe any illegal activity inside the residence, that the
information came solely from the observations related by the C.I. to the officers,
and that the evidence obtained as a result of the illegally issued search warrant
should be suppressed and excluded from evidence at the trial. On March 23, 2006,
the trial court held a hearing on the renewed Motion to Suppress, which it
subsequently denied on March 27, 2006, the first day of Perryman’s second jury
trial. Perryman v. State, No. 20A03-0609-CR-408, slip op. at 4 (Ind. Ct. App.
April 9, 2007), trans. denied. Meanwhile, an entry dated March 23, 2006, in the
chronological case summary indicates that the State still intended to offer
information consistent with the 404(b) motion filed in the first trial. On March 28,
2006, Perryman was again found guilty of possession of cocaine in excess of
three grams with the intent to deliver and possession of marijuana. Id.
On appeal, Perryman argued that the trial court improperly denied his motion to
suppress evidence. Id. at 4. Specifically, Perryman asserted that the evidence
seized from his residence was obtained in violation of Ind. Code § 35-33-5-2(b)
and that the search warrant was based upon hearsay. Id. The court found that
Perryman did not object at trial to the admission of evidence obtained as a result
of the warrant and held that, waiver notwithstanding, Perryman’s hearsay
argument failed on its own accord. Id. at 5-6. Specifically, the court held:
We have previously held that an affidavit based on the statements
of officers engaged in the investigation and shown to be based
upon their actual knowledge, is not deficient, despite its hearsay
character. Redden [v. State, 850 N.E.2d 451, 461 (Ind. Ct. App.
2006), trans. denied]. Our review of the affidavit in this case shows
great detail as to the circumstances of the controlled drug buy
performed at Perryman’s residence, culminating the knowledge of
the C.I. and at least three police officers. Therefore, we can find no
error in the trial court’s decision to admit the evidence obtained as
a result of this affidavit.
On December 6, 2012, the court held a hearing on Perryman’s petition, The judge
for Perryman’s prior trials, Judge George W. Biddlecome, and the court reporter,
testified regarding the recording system. Perryman’s trial counsel, the prosecutor,
Perryman, and Weekly also testified. Bowen testified that she was arrested with
Perryman and Weekly on May 5, 2003, arrived at Perryman’s house that morning,
and hung out with Weekly. Bowen testified that a man she knew as Twin arrived
in the early afternoon and gave some baggies containing marijuana to Weekly and
that Weekly took the baggies into another room when Perryman was not home.
Bowen also testified that Perryman came home around 8:30-9:00 p.m., that she
was never interviewed by Perryman’s trial counsel, and that she would have
testified at the trial. On cross-examination, Bowen admitted that she had been
convicted of home invasion and that she did not know if Perryman had contacted
Twin earlier and asked him to bring drugs to his residence.
On July 19, 2013, the court entered an order denying Perryman’s petition for
post-conviction relief and indicating that an additional order would set forth
certain findings in support of the court’s decision. On August 14, 2013, the court
entered an order which states:
[Perryman] next contends that [trial counsel] was ineffective for failing to
interview Brandy Bowen (now Brandy Bowen Murphy) as a potential witness and
failing to call her to testify in the Perryman trial.
At the Post-Conviction hearing [trial counsel] stated that he had interviewed a
female witness who allegedly had exculpatory information but decided not to call
her as a witness. [Trial counsel] could not recall the name. Brandy Bowen denied
meeting with [trial counsel]. Nevertheless, Brandy Bowen did testify at the PostConviction hearing which gave this Court the opportunity to assess her as a
testifying witness. In determining whether the failure to call a particular witness
constitutes malfeasance on the part of an attorney, the Court must take into
consideration whether the witness has sufficient credibility so as to possibly
influence the outcome of the trial. Having listened to and observed the witness
Brandy Bowen Murphy, that [sic] she lacks that necessary element of credibility.
It is the opinion of this Court that failure of [trial counsel] to call Brandy Bowen
Murphy as a witness did not prevent Perryman from his right to fair trial because
of Brandy Bowen’s lack of credibility.
[Perryman] next alleges that [trial counsel] was ineffective for allowing the State
to introduce evidence in its case-in-chief which exceeds the scope of I.R.E.
404(b). Here this Court agrees with the State presented [sic] analysis of the
Indiana Supreme Court case of Goodner v. State, 685 N.E.2d 1058 (Ind. 1997) to
the effect that evidence of the prior buy was admissible to demonstrate a “plan”.
Further, it is noted that [trial counsel] testified that he made certain strategic
decisions regarding that evidence which appeared to be reasonably based. Such
decisions can be second-guessed but that does not overcome the presumption of
competence of counsel.
Finally, Perryman contends that [trial counsel] rendered ineffective assistance of
counsel by failing to challenge the affidavit which supported the search warrant
and the evidence seized pursuant to that warrant.
It is sufficient to note that the search warrant was challenged and [sic] both the
trial level and the appellate level. In both instances, the Courts found that the
evidence supporting the warrant was sufficient. [Perryman] fails to convince this
Court that additional or different approaches to challenge the search warrant
would have resulted in different rulings by the trial or appellate courts.
There is presumption [sic] that counsel rendered competent counsel and exercised
reasonable professional judgment in his representation. That presumption must be
overcome by strong and convincing evidence. This Court now finds that
[Perryman] has failed to sustain that burden.
Perryman v. State, No. 20A03-1308-PC-299 (Ind. Ct. App. July 20, 2014).
Thereafter, Perryman sought review by the Indiana Supreme Court, but the Court denied
transfer. (DE 9-7; 9-10.) Perryman then sought federal habeas relief. In his petition, he raises the
following claims: (1) his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the search warrant
and object to evidence discovered pursuant to that warrant; (2) trial and appellate counsel failed
to challenge the admission of evidence admitted in violation of Indiana Rule of Evidence 404(b)
or give a limiting jury instruction; and (3) trial counsel failed to investigate witness Bowen and
present her testimony at the trial. (DE 4 at 2-5.)
Perryman’s petition is governed by the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336 (1997).
AEDPA allows a district court to issue a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody
pursuant to a state court judgment “only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The court can grant
an application for habeas relief if it meets the stringent requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), set
forth as follows:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody
pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any
claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the
adjudication of the claim—
(1) 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; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination
of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court
Under this deferential standard, a federal habeas court must “attend closely” to the
decisions of state courts and “give them full effect when their findings and judgments are
consistent with federal law.” Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 383 (2000). A state court
decision is contrary to federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that
reached by the U.S. Supreme Court or reaches an opposite result in a case involving facts
materially indistinguishable from relevant U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S.
685, 694 (2002). A federal court may grant habeas relief under the “unreasonable application”
clause if the state court identifies the correct legal principle from U.S. Supreme Court precedent
but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the petitioner’s case. Wiggins v. Smith, 539
U.S. 510, 520 (2003). To warrant relief, a state court’s decision must be more than incorrect or
erroneous; it must be “objectively” unreasonable. Id. This is a difficult standard to meet, and “[a]
state court’s determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as
fairminded jurists could disagree on the correctness of the state court’s decision.” Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86 (2011). Instead, to obtain relief, a petitioner must show the state court’s
ruling was “so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended
in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Id. at 786-87.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Perryman raises various ineffective assistance of counsel claims. He asserts that both his
trial and appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance. “The Sixth Amendment entitles
criminal defendants to the ‘effective assistance of counsel’---that is, representation that does not
fall below an objective standard of reasonableness in light of prevailing professional norms.”
Bobby v. Van Hook, 558 U.S. 4, 16 (2009).
The governing Supreme Court case for resolving an ineffective assistance claim is
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). To establish ineffective assistance of counsel
under Strickland, the petitioner must show that counsel’s performance was deficient and that the
deficient performance prejudiced him. The court’s review of counsel’s performance is “highly
deferential,” and the petitioner “must overcome the presumption that, under the circumstances,
the challenged action might be considered sound trial strategy.” Davis v. Lambert, 388 F.3d
1052, 1059 (7th Cir. 2004). The prejudice prong requires the petitioner to show that “but for
counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.”
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694. Where it is expedient to do so, a court may resolve an ineffective
assistance claim solely on the prejudice prong; in other words, where the petitioner cannot
establish prejudice, there is no need to consider in detail whether counsel’s performance was
constitutionally deficient. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 697; Watson v. Anglin, 560 F.3d 687,
689-90 (7th Cir. 2009).
A claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel is also subject to the Strickland
analysis. Howard v. Gramley, 225 F.3d 784, 789-90 (7th Cir. 2000). On the deficiency prong, the
petitioner must show that counsel failed to present a “significant and obvious” issue on appeal.
Id. at 790. However, counsel “need not (and should not) raise every nonfrivolous claim, but
rather may select from among them in order to maximize the likelihood of success on appeal.”
Smith v. Robbins, 528 U.S. 259, 288 (2000). On the prejudice prong, the petitioner must
demonstrate that if the argument had been raised, there is “a reasonable probability that his case
would have been remanded for a new trial or that the decision of the state trial court would have
been otherwise modified on appeal.” Howard, 225 F.3d at 790.
Furthermore, the court must “evaluate [counsel’s] performance as a whole rather than
focus on a single failing or oversight, ” Ebert v. Gaetz, 610 F.3d 404, 412 (7th Cir. 2010), and
must respect its “limited role in determining whether there was manifest deficiency in light of
information then available to counsel.” Premo v. Moore, 562 U.S. 115 (2011). “[C]ounsel need
not be perfect, indeed not even very good, to be constitutionally adequate.” McAfee v. Thurmer,
589 F.3d 353, 355-56 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). Where the defendant wanted counsel to
raise an argument that itself had no merit, an ineffective assistance claim cannot succeed,
because “[f]ailure to raise a losing argument, whether at trial or on appeal, does not constitute
ineffective assistance of counsel.” Stone v. Farley, 86 F.3d 712, 717 (7th Cir. 1996).
Here, in rejecting all three of Perryman’s ineffective assistance claims, the Indiana Court
of Appeals properly identified Strickland as the governing standard. (DE 9-14 at 11.) Of course,
this Court’s review of the state court’s application of Strickland is not de novo. This review is
limited to whether the state appellate court’s determination that Perryman was not denied
effective assistance of counsel “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of”
Strickland. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 788. Accordingly, the question for this court is whether the
appellate court’s resolution of the claims was unreasonable.
The Indiana Court of Appeals was reasonable in finding that trial
counsel was not ineffective for not challenging search warrant affidavit.
Perryman first claims that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the
search warrant affidavit. On appeal, Perryman argued that the search warrant was illegal because
the affidavit in support of the warrant was partially based on hearsay from a confidential
informant who conducted a controlled buy at Perryman’s residence. (DE 9-4.) The court of
appeals found that Perryman waived this claim by not making a contemporaneous claim.
Nevertheless, the court went on to conclude that the search warrant was properly supported by
probable cause based on the police officers’ investigation and their actual knowledge, despite the
inclusion of some hearsay based on the informant. (DE 9-6 at 6.) The court stated, “Our review
of the affidavit in this case shows great detail as to the circumstances of the controlled drug buy
performed at Perryman’s residence, culminating the knowledge of the C.I. and at least three
police officers.” (Id.)
On appeal from the denial of post-conviction, Perryman argued that his attorney was
ineffective for not objecting to the evidence seized pursuant to the search warrant based on
hearsay from the C.I. contained in the probable cause affidavit, the lack of controls during the
buy, and unreliable information. (DE 9-11.) The court of appeals determined that Perryman
failed to show that the probable cause affidavit was deficient. It also found that there were
sufficient controls on the buy, that the inclusion of some hearsay did not render the affidavit
insufficient to support probable cause, and that Perryman failed to show that any evidence was
unreliable. As such, it found that trial counsel was not deficient in challenging the search warrant
on these bases. (DE 9-14 at 13-16.)
Based on the record, the state court’s resolution of this claim was reasonable. On postconviction, the only evidence Perryman offered was with respect to his claim that the controlled
buy lacked adequate controls. He provided a description of the apartment, its doors and the
photographs he claims show that the officers were unable to observe the front and back doors at
the same time. (PCR Tr. Hrg. at 73-81.) However, the controlled buy here had adequate controls.
The police officers searched the C.I. before the buy; observed the C.I. go into Perryman’s
residence for one or two minutes; and observed him come directly out of the residence with
cocaine. In fact, the court found that under Indiana law, the controlled buy was sufficient to
establish probably cause. (9-14 at 13-14.) Perryman did not present any evidence that would cast
any doubt the controlled buy. Moreover, Perryman failed to established any prejudice, since he
has not established that an objection to the search warrant would have been sustained under
Indiana law. See Stone, 86 F.3d at 717. Nor has Perryman presented any clearly federal
established law demonstrating that in this scenario, an attorney is ineffective for failing to
challenge the search warrant. Ultimately, Perryman failed to establish that had his trial counsel
objected, the evidence would have been suppressed.
In his traverse, Perryman makes clear that the crux of his federal habeas claim is that the
probable cause affidavit in support of the search warrant was signed by Officer Dennis Russell,
but it was actually Officer Brian Schroth who wrote the affidavit. (DE 4 at 2-3.) Perryman argues
that Officer Russell’s representations are confusing and misleading. Despite Perryman’s
complaints, Officer Russell signing the affidavit that recounts information obtained from other
officers and informants is not uncommon or unconstitutional. There is no requirement that the
affiant have direct knowledge of all of the facts essential to support a finding of probable cause.
Nor must the probable cause determination be based only on evidence that would be admissible
at trial. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 173 (1949); see also United States v. Ventresca,
380 U.S. 102, 107 (1965) (holding that finding of probable cause may rest upon evidence which
is not legally competent in a criminal trial). Thus, Perryman’s counsel can not be said to have
been constitutionally ineffective for not challenging the affidavit in support of the search
The Indiana Court of Appeals reasonably found that trial and
appellate counsel were not ineffective in failing to object to 404(b) evidence.
Perryman argues that counsel was ineffective in failing to object to evidence of the
controlled buy that was used to obtain the search warrant that discovered drugs in his residence
or, at the very least, issue a jury instruction about how this evidence could be considered by the
jury. However, the record reflects that counsel did not overlook this issue due to lack of
preparation or inadvertence; he was well aware of the issue but made the strategic decision not to
pursue the issue. (PCR Hrg. Tr. at 43.) The post-conviction court reasoned:
We initially observe that at the post-conviction hearing, Perryman’s trial counsel
testified that it was a strategic decision to allow the use of 404(b) evidence
because the drugs from the controlled buy and the drugs found later were not of
the same type based upon lab testing. We also observe that trial counsel filed a
Motion to Suppress or in the Alternative Motion to Reconsider challenging the
admission of the evidence of the search, which the court denied. Lastly, we
cannot say that Perryman has demonstrated a reasonable probability that an
objection to the admission of the evidence under Ind. Evidence Rule 404(b)
would have been sustained if made.
Perryman, No 20C01-0802-PC-0003, slip op. at 18 (internal citation omitted).
Counsel’s strategy was not “so far off the wall” as to constitute deficient performance.
See Lathrop, 634 F.3d at 937. The defense theory he selected appears reasonable in that the
difference in the drugs on the two separate days could well have caused the jurors to wonder
whether the drugs found on May 5, 2003, were actually Perryman’s. Although the defense
strategy ultimately proved unsuccessful, this cannot be attributed to an error by counsel, but
rather to the strength of the evidence inculpating Perryman. In addition, the trial record reflects
that counsel vigorously pursued a motion to suppress, which was denied. (DE 9-14.)
Based on the record, Perryman has not demonstrated that counsel was deficient, or that in
the absence of an error by counsel, the result of the proceeding would likely have been different.
Indeed, the court of appeals recognized that Indiana law does not exclude evidence that is
intrinsic to the charged offense. The court found that the controlled buy that supported the
warrant was intrinsic to the charged offense and thus Perryman could not show that he was
prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to object to the evidence as it was admissible. Again,
Perryman has failed to established prejudice, since he has not established that an objection to the
admission of the 404(b) evidence would have been sustained under Indiana law. See Stone, 86
F.3d at 717. The state court’s resolution of this claim was reasonable.
Regarding the limiting jury instruction, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined that it
was unnecessary to inform the jury how to consider evidence of the controlled buy and that there
was likewise no prejudice. In short, Perryman has not established that counsel failed to serve as
an advocate or that counsel’s overall performance fell below the minimum standard required by
Strickland. Based on the record, the state court’s resolution of Perryman’s ineffective assistance
of counsel claims did not constitute an unreasonable application of Strickland. Moreover,
Perryman has failed to present any clearly federal established law demonstrating that in this
scenario, an attorney is ineffective for failing to challenge the evidence allowed under Indiana
Trial Rule 404(b). Accordingly, these claims are not a basis for habeas relief.
The Indiana Court of Appeals was reasonable in determining that trial
counsel was not ineffective for not investigating or presenting Bowen’s
Perryman asserts that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to locate and question
Brandy Bowen, an eyewitness to the charged crimes. The post-conviction court heard Bowen’s
testimony and determined that she was not credible and therefore counsel was not ineffective for
failing to call her as a witness. (DE 9-14 at 23.) Relying on the post-conviction court’s
credibility determination, the Indiana Court of Appeals found that trial counsel was not
ineffective for failing calling Bowen as a witness. (Id.) It is not this court’s function on federal
habeas review to re-weigh the evidence or reassess the credibility of witnesses. Similarly, it was
not unreasonable for the court of appeals to rely on the post-conviction court’s credibility
determination. The post-conviction court had the opportunity to observe Ms. Bowen. Moreover,
the state court’s conclusion that Bowen was not credible is not unreasonable. Not only did the
court have the opportunity to observe her, but Bowen’s credibility was impeached by the fact
that she has been convicted of a felony - robbery. (PCR Hr. Tr. at 61.) Even though not a crime
of dishonesty per se, it is still probative of a witness’s truthfulness. United States v. Smith, 80
F.3d 1188, 1193 (7th Cir. 1996); United States v. Nururdin, 8 F.3d 1187, 1192 (7th Cir. 1993).
Bowen was also evasive and seemingly less than forthcoming in her answers regarding her
knowledge of and relationship with Perryman and Twin. (DE 54-71.)
Nevertheless, Bowen’s testimony, even if included in the trial, would not have provided a
basis to believe that the result of the trial would have been different. Nothing in Bowen’s
testimony would have changed the fact that a large amount of crack cocaine packaged for
individual sale was found in Perryman’s home pursuant to a search warrant. While Bowen may
have testified that Twin brought the drugs into Perryman’s house, she was unsure why Twin
brought those drugs to Perryman’s house or if Twin did so at the request of Perryman. (PCR Hrg.
Tr. at 65.) Thus, Bowen’s testimony would have done nothing to exculpate Perryman.
Ultimately, Perryman has demonstrated neither deficient performance nor prejudice of his
counsel’s actions. Nor has he shown that the Indiana Court of Appeals’ adjudication as to any of
his ineffective assistance claims was unreasonable.
Certificate of Appealability
Pursuant to RULE 11 of the RULES GOVERNING SECTION 2254 CASES, the court must
either issue or deny a certificate of appealability in all cases where it enters a final order adverse
to the petitioner. To obtain a certificate of appealability, the petitioner must make a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right by establishing “that reasonable jurists could
debate whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a
different manner or that the issues presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed
further.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). For the reasons fully explained above, Perryman’s claims are without merit under
AEDPA standards. The court finds no basis to conclude that jurists of reason could debate the
outcome of the petition or find a reason to encourage Perryman to proceed further. Accordingly,
the court declines to issue Perryman a certificate of appealability.
For the reasons set forth above, the amended petition (DE 4) is DENIED, and the
petitioner is DENIED a certificate of appealability. The clerk is DIRECTED to close this case.
ENTERED: January 6, 2017
s/William C. Lee
William C. Lee, Judge
United States District Court
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