Goodwin v. Roper
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Goodwins supplemental petition for writ of habeas corpus [ECF No. 101] is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court will not issue a certificate of appealability. 101 Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 12/9/14. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
PAUL T. GOODWIN,
No. 4:06CV848 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
With less than twenty-four hours remaining before he is scheduled to be executed
by the State of Missouri, Paul Goodwin petitions the Court to stay his execution on the
ground that he is incompetent under Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986), and
therefore, his execution would violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual
punishment. After careful review of the petition and Goodwin’s experts’ opinions, the
Court finds that Goodwin has failed to make a threshold showing of incompetence. The
petition is denied.
In Ford, the Court held that the “Eighth Amendment prohibits a State from
carrying out a sentence of death upon a prisoner who is insane.” Id. at 409-10. While the
majority did not provide a definition of competence to be executed, Justice Powell wrote
in a concurring opinion that “the Eighth Amendment forbids the execution only of those
who are unaware of the punishment they are about to suffer and why they are to suffer
it.” Id. at 422.
In Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930 (2007), the Court agreed with Powell’s
definition, noting that “[a] prisoner’s awareness of the State’s rationale for an execution
is not the same as a rational understanding of it.” Id. at 959. The Court found that an
inmate who meets Powell’s test is incompetent if “his awareness of the crime and
punishment has little or no relation to the understanding of those concepts shared by the
community as a whole.” Id. The Court concluded:
The underpinnings of petitioner’s claims should be explained and evaluated
in further detail on remand. The conclusions of physicians, psychiatrists,
and other experts in the field will bear upon the proper analysis. Expert
evidence may clarify the extent to which severe delusions may render a
subject’s perception of reality so distorted that he should be deemed
incompetent. Cf. Brief for American Psychological Association et al. as
Amici Curiae 17-19 (discussing the ways in which mental health experts
can inform competency determinations).
Id. at 962.
The APA’s Amicus Brief to which the Court referred states that the forensic
psychiatrist or psychologist should “reveal the subject’s mental capacities” through
interview questions, such as “‘Will you be executed?’ and ‘What preparations have you
made in anticipation of your execution?’” Brief for American Psychological Association
et al. as Amici Curiae, 2006 U.S. Briefs 6407 at 18.
Goodwin argues that he is incompetent under Ford and Panetti because he suffers
from an intellectual disability.
Respondent argues that Goodwin has failed to
demonstrate that he is incompetent.
Respondent further argues that the petition is
successive under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2).
As stated in this Court’s Opinion, Memorandum and Order dated December 5,
2014, Goodwin failed to demonstrate to the State of Missouri that he was intellectually
disabled (or “mentally retarded”), and he failed to demonstrate to this Court that his
sentence violates the Constitution of the United States. Therefore, his incompetence
claim is barred by the AEDPA’s restrictions of second or successive petitions.
Goodwin’s Ford claim is simply a restatement of his incompetence claim under Atkins v.
Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002). As a result, the instant petition is successive and must be
denied as such.
To the extent that Goodwin is attempting to bring a new claim under Ford, he fails
to make a threshold showing of incompetence. In support of his incompetence claim,
Goodwin cites to the report of Dr. Robert Hanlon, Ph.D., a board certified clinical
neuropsychologist. In the report, under the heading “Assessment of Competency to be
Executed,” Dr. Hanlon states:
Mr. Goodwin stated that he was sentenced to death following his conviction
for the murder of Joan Crotts. He defined his death sentence as follows: “I
will be killed.” He reported that he is scheduled to be executed on
December 10, 2014 at Bonne Terre Correctional Center. He stated that the
method of his execution is as follows: “They strap you to a table and hook
IVs up to you. The drugs make you go to sleep.” When asked to describe
the outcome of his scheduled execution, he responded as follows: “Death; I
will not be alive.”
Despite his intellectual developmental disorder, language disorder, learning
disorder, and neurocognitive impairment, Paul Goodwin has the mental
capacity to understand the nature and purpose of the punishment about to
be imposed upon him.
Pet’r Ex. 3 (emphasis added).
Dr. Hanlon’s findings show that Goodwin does not suffer from “severe delusions
[that] may render [his] perception of reality so distorted that he should be deemed
incompetent.” Panetti, 551 U.S. 962. Goodwin understands that he will be executed as a
result of murdering Mrs. Crotts. There is no evidence that he suffers from delusional
thinking. As a result, Goodwin has not made a threshold showing that he is entitled to
relief under Ford.
For these reasons, this Court finds that Goodwin is not entitled to habeas relief.
Moreover, this Court does not believe that Goodwin has demonstrated that jurists of
reason would find it debatable whether relief is warranted. Thus, this Court will not issue
a certificate of appealability. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Goodwin’s supplemental petition for writ of
habeas corpus [ECF No. 101] is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court will not issue a certificate of
Dated this 9th day of December, 2014.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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