Adams v. Graham et al

Filing 16

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 8/14/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)(c/m 8/14/17)

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FILED ~':l~T cr'J~T IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT C0ltlrn::!Ci C;: i ;:.;:YLA::) LJ FOR THE I>ISTlUCT OF MARYLAND Sowltertl Dh.i.~ioJl MICHAEL AI>AMS, ~r:.. ,r.:E; _~; .... • t. '(,_ Civil Action No. G,/H-16-193.t • R~srond~nts. • ,__ • RICHARD GRAHAM, e! (/1., • ~'~T!::c.: CLEr.::'S • • 1011 AUG 11.1 P 2: 111 * P~tition~r, s. r~s • • • • • • • • • • • MEMORANDUM OPINION Michael Adams ("Adams" or "P~titioner") who is sell~represented. petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.c. ~ 2254. attacking the Circuit Court li)r Montgomery County. Maryland handgun. ECI' No. I. Respondents. Petitioner is con lined and the Attorney No. 11. to which Petitioner However. General of the State of Maryland. has replied. ECF No. 14.1 Having reviewed Institution libl an Ans\\er. the parties' lOCI' submissions. hearing. Sre Rule 8(a). R/llrs (j()\'I!I'ning Sec/ion ]]5-1 (petitioner not entitled to a hearing under 28LJ.S.C. li)r the li)l1owing re~sons. the Court shall require supplemental brieling by the Respondents. I Petitiollcr believed his Reply. captioned as a "Traverse:' had !lot been received. which is docketed as Eel-" No. 15. The t\\'o documc.:llts arc identical. in where Dis/riel CO/lrts and Loe. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2(16); sre also Fishrr \', Lee. 215 F. 3d .t38. 455 (.tth Cir. 2(00) ~2254(e)(2». his 2009 convictions munler and use of a the Warden of Western Correctional the court finds no need lill' an evidentiary Casr,l' in /he Uni/edS/a/r,l' for first-degree filed this timely and resubmitted the document. I. HACKGIWlIND A .• Jury Trial In Novcmber of 2008. Petitioncr was tricd by a jury sitting in thc Circuit Court I(lr Montgomery County. See ECF No. 11-1 at 32-38. As outlincd by thc Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. ECF No. 11-5 at 2-12. thc relevant filets werc prescnted at trial: [A]t appro;.;imately 10:00 p.m .. on Fcbruary 8. 2008. one man shot another ncar the 300 block of King Farm Boulevard in Montgomery County. Witnesses rcportcd thc I(lliowing sequencc in or of events. Barry and Barbara Gordon. rcsidents of a townhouse across the street Ihllll [Adams' 1 home at 232 King Farm Boulevard. testilicd that at about 10:00 p.m .. on Fcbruary 8. 2008. they heard a loud crash outside their housc and "\"lliecs that werc vcry loud yclling at each other:' The Gordons heard onc person. ,dlO sounded likc he was pleading. saying with a trcmor in his voice. "You don't hU\'C to do this. man:' Aner hearing those words. they heard two sounds that sounded like gunshots. Upon looking out his window. Barry Gordon saw one person huddled on the ground. with a man in swcat e10thes "hovering ovcr" that person. Then. the man in swcat e10thes turncd and walked back down thc sidewalk "in a vcry casual manner:' The man turned. looked back. hesitatcd I(lr a momcnt. and then wcnt into the unit at 232 King Farm Boulevard-Adams's residenee-wherc Mr. Gordon saw him pacing inside .... Montgomery County Police Officer Antonio Copeland and two othcr ofliecrs were dispatched to the shooting. When they arrived at the scene. Copeland observed a man lying on his sidc with blood coming out of his 1110uth. Copeland rolled the victim over to look for elllranee/e;.;it wounds and 1l11ll1dan entranec wound on the man's lower back. What appeared to be a small caliber bullet fell out li'OIll the area of the entrance wound. Copeland attempted to perl(lfIll CPR on the victim but was unsuccessful. [Tlhe victim. identilied as Jason IIadeed ... was pronounced Grovc Ilospitaijust aner II :00 p.m. on February 8. 2008 .... dead at Shady Montgomery County Police Department Forcnsie Specialist Gary Arter respondcd to the erimc scene later that night to collect evidence. When he arri"ed at 232 King Farm Boulcvard. hc observed that thc front door was locked and showed no signs of I()feed entry or kick marks. Upon entering the home. he saw nothing in disarray ... In the mastcr bcdroom. ammunition on the night stand. Artcr IlHmd a handgun casc and livc Artcr collected the projcctilc of thc tircd bullct Ofliccr Copeland had IlHmd on Jason's body as wcll as a live round ofammunitionflHmd on thc stcps ofAdams's rcsidencc .... Forensic Specialist Chcrc Halma also locatcd a sccond livc round of ammunition on a Catl1ct runner insidc thc homc ... . .. On thc evcning of the shooting. Adams's mothcr. Dody Picrcc. and hcr livcin "good lfiend:' Edward Heidecker. werc in their Vicnna. Virginia homc. At approximatcly II :00 p.m .. Ilcidecker wcnt downstairs to lind Adams and his mothcr talking in thc dining room. Adams told Picrcc and Ilcidcckcr that somconc namcd Jason Hadced had bargcd into his condo. uscd languagc so vile it could not bc rcpeatcd in Iront of his mothcr. and hit him. Adams also said that Jason had attcmpted to takc his laptop computer and other of his "stuff:' Adams was physically unharmcd but was in an apparcnt stalC of tcrror. Ilc statcd that hc had shot Jason. and thc gun hc had uscd was in his car. Hct\\ccn roughly 11 :30 and I I :45 p.m .. Ilcidccker and Picrce callcd thc pol icc to advisc that Adams had becn involvcd in a shooting. Whcn thc police arrivcd. Adams turncd himself in and was takcn into custody without incident. ... Stevcn Iladccd. Jason Iladccd's unclc and li'icnd. stat cd that his ncphcw. a pcrsonal traincr \\"ho conditioncd athlctcs Illl' sports. had introduccd him to Adams. a Illl"Incr golfcr. Ilc and his ncphcw had invcstcd in Adams's company. Adams Edge Consulting. which involvcd sports handicapping and gambling. For thc first few months. Stcvcn Iladecd rcccivcd rcgular invcstmcnt statcmcnts from thc company but cvcntually thc statcmcnts ccascd .... Whcn Jason bccamc :I\\"arc that Adams had no moncy to rcturn to his invcstors. Jason told [Adams] that a group ofinvcstors planncd to go to thc policc .... Allcr thc State rcstcd its casc. Adams moved for judgment of acquittal on thc count of lirst dcgrce murdcr. as no evidcncc of prcmcditation had bccn shO\\I1. and on the use of a handgun in a crimc of violcnce count. arguing that thcrc was no cvidcnce that Adams. spccifically. had committed any crimc of violcncc. Thc court dcnicd thc motion. In his casc in chic!: Adams did not dispute that it was hc who had shot Jason. lie procceded on a thcory of sclf~defensc. Dody Picrcc tcstificd that in 2007. awarc that hcr son's busincss was lililing .... [shclloancd him $30.000. as shc kncw that his elicnts wcrc pressing Adams for thc rcturn of thcir lost moncy. In Dcccmbcr 2007. shc met with Jason. at his rcquest. whcrcupon Jason advised hcr that hcr son owcd him money. that hc wantcd thc rcturn of his moncy. that her son ncedcd to gct a job to pay his invcstors back. and that "[Jason] kncw pcoplc that could hurl pcople:' , .' Alicr that mccting. Adams spcnt morc timc at PictTc's housc in Virginia bccausc hc said hc was afraid. On January 10.2008. Adams's ccll phonc rang all day long: hc said it was Jason calling. With Adams gctting incrcasingly upsct about thc calls and with his mcntal condition dctcriorating. Picrcc accompanicd Adams to thc Woodburn Ccntcr. a mcntal hcalth ccntcr that handles "pcople with dcprcssions and addictions:' ... Adams madc periodic cfttms to rcpay Jason. but hc askcd Jason not to tcll his othcr invcstors of his financial problems .... Evcntually. \\ hcn appcllant was no longer able to repay evcn Jason. hc decided to alcrt his othcr investors of thc problems with his busincss. a dccision that displcascd Jason. Adams said that oncc Jason was no longcr receiving moncy from him. Jason \muld "cuss and ycll" at him. and hc told Adams hc would takc appcllant's TV in licu of S 1.000 owed. Jason became incrcasingly upset and demanded more of Adams's pcrsonal propcrty .... On thc morning of Fcbruary 8. 2008. Adams tcstificd that Jason knockcd on his door. but when he did not answcr. Jason leli a voice mail messagc and a tcxt mcssagc. in rapid succcssion. that indicatcd his angcr. At around 10:00 p.m .. Adams hcard anothcr knock on his door. and. thinking it was his upstairs ncighbor .... answcrcd thc door. Instcad. it was Jason. who I()rccd his way in and told Adams hc was a "slimc bucket" and thc "scum of thc carth" and uscd "a lot of cuss words:' Then. Jason hit Adams twicc in thc stomach and thrcatcncd to "bcat thc shit out of[ him and kill him. r While Adams was rccovcring his brcath. hc saw Jason wrapping thc cord around his laptop as if to take it. Adams dcmanded the rcturn of his laptop whcrcupon Jason e1bowcd him in thc stomach. Adams wantcd Jason out of his housc. so while Jason was rummaging through his things. Adams rctricvcd a "small pistol" Irom a kitchen drawcr. Ilc turncd to Jason and said. "Gct thc fuck out of my housc:' \\'hile holding thc gun in his hand. Noticing the gun. Jason "camc at" Adams and Adams "rcactcd" by liring thc gun. Bccausc Jason was still moving around. Adams did not think hc had bcen hit. "Somehow:' the two exited Adams's housc. and while on thc Iront porch. Jason camc at Adams again. and Adams reactcd again. firing thc gun two morc timcs. Jason then startcd moving down the strcct but soon tell .... . . . Adams wcnt to Jason but thcn rcturncd 10 his apartmcnt. Ilc lookcd out his window and saw that somcone was hclping Jason. Not knowing Jason's condition or what to do.IAdamsl dccidcd to go to his mothcr's housc .... On cross-cxamination. Adams admittcd that alier thc gun went otT insidc his apartmcnt. hc and Jason wenl outside tOQether. but that Jason cxitcd thc housc 4 first. ... Adams conceded that he could have closed the front door. ealled 911. gone upstairs to hide. or gone into the garage and driven away. Instead. he lired the gun at Jason again. evcn after it had jammed. Adams admitted that he I[tiled to call 91 I or to render any medical assistance to Jason. lie characterized the shooting episode as him heing scared of IJasonl and defending himselfl.1 and that he just wanted Jason to leave his home. Atier the defense rested. Adams renewed his motion leJr judgment of acquittal on the ground that the State had shown no premeditation. The court again denied the motion .... ECF No. 11-5 at 2-12. Based on the evidence adduced at trial. the jury convicted Adams of lirst of a handgun. See ECF No. 11-1 at 38: ECF No. 1-4 at 2. On degree murder and unlawletluse January 30. 2009. Adams was sentenced by the court to life imprisonment plus a consecuti\'c ten years. See ECF No. 11-1 at 40: ECF No. I at I. B. Direct Appeal On appeal to the Maryland challenged his conviction Jason Hadeed's reputation claiming convictions. opinion and (2) by not permitting testimony Adams to estahlish that was consistent the delcnse theory of the case. lOCI' No. 11-5 at 2. In an filed on January 6.2011. /<1.Adams suhsequently Court of Appeals of Maryland Adams. through counsel. the trial court erred: (1) hy not permitting fe)r violence. with and would have holstered unreported Court of Special Appeals. the Court of Special Appeals affirmed Adams' filed a petition fe)r a ".,.il ot'cerlio/'{/ri requesting that the further review his case. ECF NO.1 1-6 at 2-17. The writ was denied on May 23. 2011.2 !d at J 8. 1 Petitioner did nol seek further revicw in the Supreme Court. Accordingly. his judgment of conviction hecame linal for direct appeal purposes on August 21. 10 I I. \vhen the time for sl,.'c"ing review in the Supreme Coun c.\pircd .. "'1.'1.' Sup. Ct. Rule 13.1 (requiring petition for a writ of certiorari to be tiled within C)O Jays which review is sought). 5 or datc ofjudgmcnt from C. Petitiun fur I'ost-Cunvietiun On February 29. 2012. Petitioner fur Leave to Appeal Ii led a petition for post-conyiction relicf in thc Circuit County. ECF NO.1 at 3: ECF No. 11-1 at 44. This pctition was Court I(Jr Montgomcry withdrawn Relief and Application on January 29. 2014. ECF No. 11-1 at 47. A subscquent 2014./d. As supplemented. litigated. and construed petition was filed on April 3. by the court without objection. alleged. inler olio.' that the trial court erred by allowing the jury on sewral course of the trial. but particularly during the hours-long the hallway outside the courtroom where mcmbers discussion occasions of instructions. of the decedent Jason Iladecd's the petition during thc to remain in nunily and friends were located. thus denying Adams his right to due process. ECF No. 1-4 at 103 At the post-cOlwiction of inelTectiye assistance hearing. Adams also asscrted. of trial and appellate the jury to remain in the hallway with Iladeed's for the iirst timc. additional claims counscl related to thc trial court crror in allowing family. ECF No. 1-4 at 12. By opinion and ordcr Illed on August 25. 2015. the court granted Adams the right to lile a belated motion liJr reconsideration. but otherwise denied post-conviction relief: ECF No. 1-4 at 2. Adams then sought Ieaye to appeal that adverse deeision raising only the claim that the trial court erred in permitting to the Court of Special Appeals. the jurors to remain in the hallway. thus denying Adams his right to due process and an impartial jury. ECF No. 11-7 at 6. In an unreported. deelined per curiam opinion liled on March 18.2016. the intermediate appellate court to review the casco EeF No. 1-5 at 2. D. Federal Habeas Petition In Petitioner's incffective .1 instant ~ 2254 petition. he elaims that trial and appellate !(Jr failing to arguc that the trial court abused its discretion Trial counsel brought 10 counsel "'erc by I~liling to mir dire thc the trial court's attention that "[alpparcntly. during the brenk. in the presence urthe jury. the Hadecd nUllilv is out there. talking about how the Court has now made in their own hOI1l~'" 5;1!(' ECF No. I-.tal 10. 6 it okav for somcbod\' to shoot sOlllchod\' ~ ~ jury to determine what they heard, and whether they could remain impartial alier spending in the courthouse hallway with Hadeed's II. tiunily. ECl' NO.1 at 5. STANDARD OF' RF:VIEW An application Constitution U.S,c. til[ writ of habeas corpus may be granted only for violations or laws of the United States. 28 U.S.c. ~ 2254 sets til[th a "highly dcfcrcntial \'. ,1/1//1)lIy, 521 U.S, 320, 333 n.7 (1997): standard doubt. hours is "diftieult CIIIII'II omitted): Sl'l' thc bcnelit ofthc marks and citations (2011) (state prisoner must show state court ruling on claim prcscntcd in existing that thcrc was an crror wellundcrstood law beyond any possibility 1) rcsulted in a decision presentcd opposite and arrives at a result opposite dctcrmination 28 U.s.c. application of the lilcts in light of ~ 2254 (d). A statc adjudication is under ~ 2254(d)( 1) where the statc eourt 1) "arrivcs at to that rcached by [thc Supreme] lilets that are materially on by the Supreme Court of thc Unitcd States: or in the state court procccding. tederallaw and corpus unlcss the statc's adjudication that was based on an unreasonable contrary to clearly cstablished in til[ fair minded disagrccment")). that was contrary to. or involved an unrcasonahle federal law. as dctermincd 2) resulted in a decision "eonti'onts dccisions a/so lVIIi/I' \' Woodall, 134 S. Ct 1697. 1702 (2014) (quoting !!arrillg/oll \'. Ricll/a. oJ: clearly establishcd a conclusion UIIl/1l rulings'" a/so 1M/ \'. ('0111',543 U.S. 447 (2005). Thc A Icdcral court may not grant a writ ofhabcas the evidcnee statc-court 563 U.S. 170. 181 (2011) (intcrnal quotation tederal court was "so lacking in justitication the merits: tilr cvaluating to mect." and requircs courts to give state-court \', I'ill/III/S/l'!", 562 U.S. 86,103 comprehcndcd ~ 2254(a). The federal habeas statute at 28 standard Sl'l' of the indistinguishable to Ithc Suprcme Court on a qucstion of law'" or 2) Ii'om a relevant Suprcme Coul1 prcecdcnt Court]."' Wi/lial/ls \'. "iily/or, 529 U.S. 3(i2, 405 (2000). 7 III. DISCUSSION Rett)rc applying cognizable presented couched this standard. thc Court must lirst detcrmine for federal revicw and. iI'deemed cognizable. for adjudication the sccond threshold whether the claim has been fully in the state courts. The ineffective as a denial of due process and arguably as to his ineffective dcfaultcd. Nonetheless. that has been fully presented court error emanating ineluding thc victim's howe\'Cr. fails to meet and mlS prcjudiced by trial County practicc of allowing jurors to remain in the where jurors could be exposed to comments made by the public. fiunily and Ii'iends. A criminal defendant's right to have an impartial jury trial is one of the most fundamental rights under the Unitcd States Constitution. See Strick/and (1984 ).~ In criminal Supreme Court authority "cxtcrnal is that portion of the due process claim namely. whether Petitioner Ii'om the Montgomery hallway outside the courtroom. Petitioner. relie!: the e1aim is unexhausted this court \\'ill examine li)r litigation. claim as prescnted of counsel claim. Because hc did not raise it when sceking leave to appeal the denial of post-conviction procedurally assistance is cognizable. assistancc whether each claim is trials. wcll-entrenched causcs tending to disturb the [jury'sl at \cast until their harmlessness \'. lVl/.\hingtll/l. cxcrcisc ofdcliberate is made to appcar." ,\folio.\' 1'. 466 U.S. 668. 685 "absolutely" li)[bids and unbiasedjudgmcnt ... United States. 146 U.S. 140. 149- 50 (1892) (citcd in Near \'. ('zlIIning//11I11. 313 F.2d 929. 933 (4th Cir. 1963 )). Established contact. or tampering Icdcrallaw further provides that any unauthorized directly or indirectly. "private communication. with a juror during a trial about the matter pending beltlre the jury is. li)r obvious reasons. deemed presumptively prcjudicial:' Rellllller 1'. United ~ This right is also well defined under Maryland law. "The potency ofthc Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial relics on the promise that a defendant's rate will be determined by an impartial fact limier who depends solely on tht..' evidence and argument introduced in open court:' Wright \', 5i11l11!. 131 Md./\pp. 243. 253 (2000) (quoting AI/ell ", Sla/e. 89 Md. App. 25. 42 (1991)). Sla/es, 347 U.S. 227. 229 (1954). and also compels a criminal trial court to considcr thc prejudicial effect of an)' external contact that has a ..tendency" the verdict. of whcthcr it is about the matter pending bclelrc thc jury. Mallox. 146 U.S. at 150- irrespective 51. Morcovcr. such contact nced not amount to a "communication" inquiry into possiblc prejudice arising Irom a juror's job application trying the case); Mallox, 146 U.S. at 150 (recognizing rcading newspapers). where members The potential ofajury ovcrheard le)r extraneous inquiry the baililTmake transcript where the qucstion in thc officc of thc the prejudicial potential of influence also has been identified disparaging Parker \'. Clladden. 385 U.S. 363.365 (1966), Ilowever. post-conviction to trigger judicial See SlIIi/h \'. Phillips. 455 U.S. 209. 212-15 (1982) (requiring judicial into possiblc prcjudice. prosecutor to inlluence comments Respondents in cases about the defendant. have not provided the of error was argucd. nor have thcy brieled thc issuc on its merits. IV, CONCLUSION I'or these reasons. within 30 days. Respondcnts includc a post-conviction hearing transcript shall supplcmcnt thcir Answcr and and any othcr relcvant exhibits. A separate Ordcr follows. Date: Id l.\) v.,h 1. &// 2017 GEORGE t - IIAZEL United Statcs District Judge 9

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