Middleton v. Roper
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 157 MOTION to Amend/Correct Renewed Motion for Stay of Execution filed by Petitioner John Middleton. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's motion for stay of execution 157 and his second in time petition for writ of habeas corpus [#130] are DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that petitioners request for a certificate of appealability is DENIED. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on July 16, 2014. (MCB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JOHN C. MIDDLETON,
DONALD P. ROPER,
No. 4:03CV543 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Petitioner is again before this court seeking a stay of execution. After the
United States Court of Appeals vacated the stay of execution that I entered last
night, petitioner filed a habeas corpus petition with the Missouri Supreme Court
under Missouri Rule 91. That petition argued that his planned execution would
violate his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as
recognized in Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986) and Panetti v.
Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930 (2007).
The Missouri Supreme Court denied the petition on the merits, concluding
that petitioner had not made a substantial threshold showing of insanity, and so
refused to stay the execution or grant any habeas relief. Petitioner has now filed a
renewed motion for stay of execution with this court. Because Petitioner cannot
show any likelihood of success on the merits of this federal petition for writ of
habeas corpus, I will deny the motion for a stay. I will also deny the petition for
habeas relief, as petitioner cannot show that he is entitled to such relief.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 this federal court cannot grant habeas relief on the
claim unless the state court’s adjudication of the claim 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 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.
Petitioner has not shown that the decision of the Missouri Supreme Court
was either an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law or
resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts
in light of the evidence presented. Although I concluded yesterday that he had
made a substantial Ford showing, I cannot say that the Missouri Supreme Court’s
conclusion to the contrary is unreasonable in any way. As the Missouri Supreme
Court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals noted, it is for the Missouri courts –
not this federal court – to determine in the first instance whether petitioner had
made the required showing. The Missouri Supreme Court applied the correct
Panetti standard and their analysis of the evidence was certainly a reasonable
analysis. As the Missouri courts’ ruling does not reflect an unreasonable
application of federal or an unreasonable determination of the facts, I must deny
the motion for stay of execution and the petition for habeas corpus relief.
Because reasonable federal jurists considering a §2254 petition could not
differ on Middleton’s claims, given the deferential standard that must be applied to
the decision of the Missouri Supreme Court, this Court will deny a certificate of
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner’s motion for stay of execution
 and his second in time petition for writ of habeas corpus [#130] are DENIED
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that petitioner’s request for a certificate of
appealability is DENIED.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 16th day of July, 2014.
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