McCauley v. Bowersox
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED the Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is DENIED. [Doc. 45 .] IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, for the reasons stated herein, any motion by Montia McCauley for a Certificate of Appealability will be DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED. [Doc. 44 .]. Signed by Magistrate Judge Nannette A. Baker on 9/30/2016. (GGB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MONTIA L. MCCAULEY,
MICHAEL S. BOWERSOX,
Case No. 4:13-CV-872 NAB
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Montia McCauley’s First Amended Petition
for Writ of Habeas Corpus. [Doc. 45.] Respondent filed a response to the Amended Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus. [Doc. 46.] McCauley filed a Reply Brief. [Doc. 58.] The parties have
consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c)(1). [Doc. 10.] For the reasons set forth below, McCauley’s petition for writ of
habeas corpus will be denied.
McCauley was charged by a felony information in Scott County with seven counts that
stemmed from an attack on March 27, 2008 on two female victims with a baseball bat. One
victim, D.S., was or had been in a continuing romantic or intimate relationship with McCauley.
D.S.’s injuries included a bilateral forearm fracture and intracerebral hemorrhaging due to
bilateral frontal and temporal lobe contusions. D.S. subsequently spent weeks in intensive care
These facts are taken directly from the Supplemental Memorandum accompanying the Missouri Court of Appeals
decision in McCauley’s post-conviction appeal motion. See Resp’t Ex. F. A state court’s determination of a factual
issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct unless rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. 28
U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
and was at one point in a coma and ventilated as a result of her injuries. The other victim K.C.,
is D.S.’s daughter, who was twelve years old at the time. K.C. was struck by McCauley with the
baseball bat on her arm.
On June 25, 2009, McCauley appeared with counsel for a plea hearing. The State
presented evidence on McCauley’s status as a prior and persistent offender, and the plea court
found McCauley to be a prior and persistent offender based on evidence of McCauley’s guilty
pleas on two prior felonies. Before Movant’s pleas were accepted, the State advised the court
and Movant of the possible ranges of punishment for each charge, and the court advised
McCauley as required under Rule 24.02(b), inquiring whether McCauley understood each charge
against him or had any questions regarding the charges. McCauley indicated he understood his
rights and the charges against him and told the court he had no questions. The State recited its
evidence that it contends established McCauley’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Three of the original counts were dismissed by the State, as negotiated in a plea
agreement. The State acknowledged that attempts at plea negotiations toward a comprehensive
plea agreement had been made, but McCauley was entering an open or blind plea instead of
taking the State’s offer to recommend twenty-three year sentences. The State reserved the “right
to argue for any range of punishment that [it] wished at the time of sentencing.”
McCauley acknowledged that the State’s evidence was true, that nothing was omitted,
misstated, or misrepresented, and that the plea agreement recited by the State was in accord with
his understanding. McCauley pleaded guilty to Counts I, III, V, and VII. Count I charged first
degree domestic assault and Count V charged felony armed criminal action, both in connection
with McCauley’s attack on D.S. Count III charged first-degree assault and Count VII charged
felony armed criminal action; both charges related to McCauley’s attack on K.C. The plea court
accepted McCauley’s pleas, ordered a sentencing assessment report, and took the matter under
advisement. McCauley was sentenced as a prior and persistent offender to concurrent thirty-year
terms of imprisonment on all four counts. (Resp’t Ex. B at 75-76.)
McCauley filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the judgment and
sentences, pursuant to Rule 24.035, which was later amended. (Resp’t Ex. B 79-89, 92-106,
An evidentiary hearing was held wherein McCauley and plea counsel testified.
(Resp’t Ex. A.) The motion court denied McCauley’s amended motion. (Resp’t Ex. B at 186200.) McCauley appealed to the Missouri Court of Appels, which denied relief. (Resp’t Ex. F.)
McCauley filed and later amended a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in this court. [Docs. 1,
Standard of Review
“The writ of habeas corpus stands as a safeguard against imprisonment of those held in
violation of the law. Judges must be vigilant and independent in reviewing petitions for the writ,
a commitment that entails substantial judicial resources.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 91
(2011). “In general, if a convicted state criminal defendant can show a federal habeas court that
his conviction rests upon a violation of the Federal Constitution, he may well obtain a writ of
habeas corpus that requires a new trial, a new sentence, or release.” Trevino v. Thaler, 133 S.Ct.
1911, 1917 (2013). The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 (AEDPA) applies to all petitions for habeas relief filed by state prisoners after this
statute’s effective date of April 24, 1996. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326-29 (1997). In
conducting habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal court is limited to deciding
whether a claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings (1) resulted in a
decision that is contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established
Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court, 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
proceeding. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). A determination of a factual issue made by a state court is
presumed to be correct unless the petitioner successfully rebuts the presumption of correctness
by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
For purposes of § 2254(d)(1), the phrase “clearly established federal law refers to the
holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of [the Supreme] Court’s decisions as of the time of the
relevant state court decision.” Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 71 (2003). “In other words,
clearly established federal law under § 2254(d)(1) is the governing legal principle or principles
set forth by the Supreme Court at the time the state court renders its decision.” Id. at 72. To
obtain habeas relief, a habeas petitioner must be able to point to the Supreme Court precedent
which he thinks the state courts acted contrary to or unreasonably applied. Buchheit v. Norris,
459 F.3d 849, 853 (8th Cir. 2006).
A state court’s decision is “contrary to” clearly established Supreme Court precedent “if
the state court either ‘applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme
Court] cases’ or ‘confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of
[the] Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [the] precedent.’”
Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792 (2001) (citing Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405–406 (2000)).
A state court decision is an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court
precedent if it correctly identifies the governing legal rule but applies it unreasonably to the facts
of a particular prisoner’s case. Id. (citing Williams, 529 U.S. at 407–408). “A federal habeas
court making the unreasonable application inquiry should ask whether the state court’s
application of clearly established federal law was objectively unreasonable.” Penry, 532 U.S. at
793. “A state court decision involves ‘an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in the state court proceedings,’ 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2), only if it is shown
that the state court’s presumptively correct factual findings do not enjoy support in the record.”
Evanstad v. Carlson, 470 F.3d 777, 782 (8th Cir. 2006). A “readiness to attribute error is
inconsistent with the presumption that state courts know and follow the law.” Woodford v.
Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002). AEDPA’s highly deferential standard demands that state court
decisions be given the benefit of the doubt. Id.
McCauley presents seven claims for review. First, he asserts five claims of ineffective
assistance of counsel. McCauley states that counsel was ineffective for the following reasons:
(1) plea counsel guaranteed McCauley that he would receive a ten year sentence in exchange for
a blind plea and threatened him with a substantial sentence if he proceeded to trial; (2) plea
counsel failed to effectively advocate for McCauley at sentencing concerning his motions to
withdraw guilty pleas; (3) plea counsel failed to object and ensure a factual basis existed for
Counts I and IV 2; (4) plea counsel failed to advocate for an aggregate ten year sentence that he
promised McCauley and failed to suggest to the sentencing court any specific sentence of
imprisonment; and (5) plea counsel failed to explain to McCauley his liability for Counts III and
VII were premised on transferred intent. McCauley also asserts that his due process rights were
violated because the plea court accepted his pleas of guilty to Counts III and VII, which did not
have a factual basis and the state failed to plead a factual basis for transferred intent in Counts III
and VII. Respondent contends that McCauley’s claims are either procedurally barred and/or lack
The Court notes that Count IV was dismissed and McCauley did not plead guilty to this count.
Procedural Default of Claims I, II, and V
“Ordinarily a federal court reviewing a state conviction in a [§ 2254] proceeding may
consider only those claims which the petitioner has presented to the state court in accordance
with state procedural rules.” Arnold v. Dormire, 675 F.3d 1082, 1086 (8th Cir. 2012). “In all
cases in which a state prisoner has defaulted his federal claims in state court pursuant to an
independent and adequate state procedural rule, federal habeas review is barred.” Coleman v.
Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991). To overcome the default, a defendant must demonstrate
either cause and actual prejudice as a result of the alleged violation of federal law, or
demonstrate that a failure to consider the claims will result in a fundamental miscarriage of
Coleman, 501 U.S. 722 at 750.
To show cause for the default, defendant must
demonstrate that some objective factor external to the defense impeded counsel’s efforts to
comply with the State’s procedural rule. Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 488 (1986). For
example, a defendant could demonstrate that the factual or legal basis for a claim was not
reasonably available to counsel or some interference by officials made compliance impracticable.
Id at 488.
In this case, the Missouri Court of Appeals denied relief on McCauley’s claims I, II, and
V for failure to comply with Missouri Supreme Court Rule 84.04(d)(1)(B), which requires the
movant’s points relied on to “state concisely the legal reasons for the appellant’s claim of
reversible error.” (Resp’t Ex. F at 5-6.) The appeals court stated that McCauley’s points relied
upon did not present anything for its review so review was denied. (Resp’t Ex. F. at 6.).
McCauley contends that his violation of Rule 84.04 is a procedural default that this Court can
excuse. McCauley does not dispute that Rule 84.04 is firmly established and regularly followed.
See Morgan v. Jaovis, 744 F.3d 535, 538 (8th Cir. 2013). McCauley does not contend that the
state-law support for its decision was otherwise inadequate. Id. Finally, McCauley’s reply brief
fails to establish any cause for the acknowledged default, demonstrate actual prejudice, or that
failure to consider the claims will result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice. See Coleman,
501 U.S. at 750. Therefore, habeas review is barred for McCauley’s claims I, II, and V, which
include the following asserted errors: plea counsel guaranteed McCauley that he would receive a
ten year sentence in exchange for blind pea and threatened him with a substantial sentence if he
proceeded to trial; plea counsel failed to effectively advocate for McCauley at sentencing
concerning his motions to withdraw guilty pleas; and plea counsel failed to explain to McCauley
his liability for Counts III and VII were premised on transferred intent. The Court will deny
relief on these claims.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Next, the Court will review the two remaining ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
“The Sixth Amendment recognizes the right to the assistance of counsel because it envisions
counsel’s playing a role that is critical to the ability of the adversarial system to produce just
results.” Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687-88 (1984). “An accused is entitled to be
assisted by an attorney, whether retained or appointed who plays the role necessary to ensure that
the trial is fair.” Id. To succeed in a claim “that counsel’s assistance was so defective as to
require reversal of a conviction,” a petitioner must establish (1) that the trial counsel’s
performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and (2) that this deficient
performance prejudiced the Petitioner’s defense. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 687-88.
The “performance” component of Strickland requires a showing that “counsel’s
representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 688.
To satisfy this prong, a petitioner must first identify the specific acts or omissions of counsel that
are alleged not to have been the result of reasonable professional judgment. Id. at 690. The
court must then examine the totality of the circumstances in order to determine whether “the
identified acts or omissions were outside the wide range of professionally competent assistance.”
Id. In making this determination, the court should recognize that trial counsel is “strongly
presumed to have rendered adequate assistance and made all significant decisions in the exercise
of reasonable professional judgment.” Id. “Miscues and omissions are inevitable in any case
and there is no such thing as a perfect trial.” Medearis v. U.S., 469 F.Supp.779, 785 (D.S.D.
To satisfy the “prejudice” component of Strickland, a petitioner “must show that there is
a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding
would have been different.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694. Such “reasonable probability is a
probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.” Id. In determining whether
prejudice exists, “a court hearing an ineffectiveness claim must consider the totality of the
evidence before the judge or jury.” Id. at 695. Further, the court “should presume, absent
challenge to the judgment on grounds of evidentiary insufficiency, that the judge and jury acted
according to [the] law.” Id. at 694.
It is important to note that “there is no reason for a court deciding an ineffective
assistance claim to approach the [two-pronged] inquiry in [a pre-determined] order or even to
address both components of the inquiry if the defendant makes an insufficient showing on one.”
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 697. It is unnecessary, therefore, to prove that counsel’s performance fell
below an objective standard of reasonableness before determining the presence or absence of
“Taken together, AEDPA and Strickland establish a ‘doubly deferential standard’ of
review.” Williams v. Roper, 695 F.3d 825, 831 (8th Cir. 2012) (citing Cullen v. Pinholster, 563
U.S. 170) (2011)). “First, under Strickland, the state court must make a predictive judgment
about the effect of the alleged deficiencies of counsel on the outcome of the trial, focusing on
whether it is reasonably likely that the result would have been different absent the errors.”
Williams, 695 F.3d at 831 (citing Strickland, 466 U.S. at 696)). “To satisfy Strickland, the
likelihood of a different result must be substantial not just conceivable.” Id. Second, under
AEDPA, the Court must give substantial deference to the state court’s predictive judgment. Id.
Therefore, “[s]o long as the state court’s decision was not “contrary to” clearly established
federal law, the remaining question under the “unreasonable application” clause of § 2254(d) is
“whether the state court's determination under the Strickland standard is unreasonable, not
merely whether it is incorrect.” Id. at 831 (citing Harrington, 562 U.S. 86 at 101). This standard
is difficult, and “even a strong case for relief does not mean the state court’s contrary conclusion
was unreasonable.” Harrington, 562 U.S. at 102.
To successfully challenge a guilty plea in a federal habeas petition with an ineffective
assistance claim, the petitioner “must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for
counsel’s errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial.”
Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 59 (1985). “While a guilty plea taken in open court is not
invulnerable to collateral attack in a post-conviction proceeding, the defendant’s representations
during the plea-taking carry a strong presumption of verity and pose a formidable barrier in any
subsequent collateral proceedings.” Nguyen v. United States, 114 F.3d 699, 703 (8th Cir. 1997).
See Bramlett v. Lockhart, 876 F.2d 644, 648 (8th Cir. 1989) (Petitioner unable to show coercion
to plead guilty and ineffective assistance of counsel where he indicated at his plea hearing he
received no promises as to what his sentence might be).
Factual Basis for Guilty Plea to First Degree Domestic Assault
McCauley asserts that plea counsel was ineffective for failure to object to the state’s
factual basis for first degree domestic assault, because the state’s recitation did not prove beyond
a reasonable doubt all of the essential elements of first degree domestic assault, specifically the
element of intent. The post-conviction motion court denied relief on this claim. (Resp’t Ex. B at
186-200.) The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the denial based on state law that intent can
be based on circumstantial evidence and inferred from other evidence. (Resp’t Ex. F at 6-7.)
Unless there is a claim of innocence, there is not a federal constitutional requirement that
a guilty plea have a factual basis. 3 See Wabasha v. Solem, 694 F.2d 155, 157 (8th Cir. 1982).
There is no claim of innocence in this case. Federal courts have addressed claims that guilty
pleas in state court lacked a factual basis when discussing the knowing and voluntary nature of
the plea. See e.g., Travis v. Lockhart, 787 F.2d 409, 410 (8th Cir. 1986). A guilty plea results in
a defendant’s waiver of his constitutional right to trial before a jury or a judge. “Waivers of
constitutional rights not only must be voluntary but must be knowing, intelligent acts done with
sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.” Brady v. U.S., 397
U.S. 742, 748 (1970). “The test for determining the validity of a guilty plea is whether the plea
represents a voluntary and intelligent choice among the alternative courses of action open to the
defendant.” Porter v. Lockhart, 925 F.2d 1107, 1110 (8th Cir. 1991) (citing North Carolina v.
Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 31 (1970)). “A state court may not accept a guilty plea unless the defendant
For example, a person entering an Alford plea makes an innocence claim. An Alford plea allows a defendant to
plead guilty acknowledging there is strong evidence of his guilt and there is a likelihood of conviction should he
proceed to trial while claiming innocence of the charged offense. North Carolina v. Alford, 40 U.S. 25, 37-38
(1970). The state must demonstrate a factual basis for the plea. Id. This case is not an Alford plea.
enters it voluntarily and with sufficient understanding of the charge and the likely consequences
of the plea.” Schone v. Purkett, 15 F.3d 785, 789 (8th Cir. 1994). “For a plea to be voluntary, a
defendant must have knowledge of the law in relation to the facts.” Bailey v. Weber, 295 F.3d
852, 855 (8th Cir. 2002). “It is sufficient if the defendant is given notice of the charge or if he in
fact knows of and understands that charge.” Easter v. Norris, 100 F.3d 523, 525 (8th Cir. 1996).
A defendant’s representations during the plea-taking “carry a strong presumption of verity and
pose a formidable barrier in any subsequent collateral proceedings.” Ingrassia v. Armontrout,
902 F.2d 1368, 1370 (8th Cir. 1990).
At the time of McCauley’s plea Missouri Revised Statute 565.072 4 stated the following:
1. A person commits the crime of domestic assault in the
first degree if he or she attempts to kill or knowingly causes
or attempts to cause serious physical injury to a family or
household member or an adult who is or has been in a
continuing social relationship of a romantic or intimate
nature with the actor, as defined in section 455.010, RSMo.
2. Domestic assault in the first degree is a class B felony
unless in the course thereof the actor inflicts serious physical
injury on the victim or has previously pleaded guilty to or
been found guilty of committing this crime, in which case it
is a class A felony.
At the plea hearing, the prosecutor made the following recitation regarding the evidence
that would be proven at trial.
At trial the State would anticipate as evidence to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that officers with the Sikeston
Department of Public Safety responded to 832 Ruth Street,
Apartment B, in Sikeston, Scott County, Missouri on March
27th of 2008. The call was in reference to an assault. And
upon arrival they made contact with a couple of witnesses to
the assault, and also found the victim, [D.S.], in one of the
rooms in the house. They discovered a large amount of
blood coming from [D.S.] And she was transported to
Missouri Delta Medical Center, and then transported to St.
The statute was later amended on August 28, 2012 and another amendment will take effect on January 1, 2017.
Francis Medical Center. And her injuries included a bilateral
forearm fracture, intracerebral hemorrhage consistent with
bilateral frontal and temporal lobe contusions. She was
admitted to the trauma services and spent a couple of weeks
in intensive care and hospital services. She was at one point
on a ventilator and also had to have a tube in her throat.
After speaking to witnesses to the assault officers discovered
that the Defendant, Mr. Montia McCauley had entered the
residence on Ruth Street and struck [D.S.] with a baseball
bat multiple times in the head, her arms, and throughout her
In the process of assaulting [D.S.] he also injured one of her
daughters, [K.C.], who was at that time 12 years old. He
struck her in the arm with a baseball bat. And [K.C.] also
had to go to the hospital and was released after being
examined by the hospital. After officers located Mr.
McCauley Detective Chris Rataj, with the Sikeston
Department of Public Safety interviewed Mr. McCauley on
three different occasions. And on the final interview done at
Mr. McCauley’s request he did admit to assaulting [D.S.] on
Ruth Street with a baseball bat. And that would be the
(Resp’t Ex. B at 40-41.) After the prosecutor’s recitation, McCauley testified that everything in
the prosecutor’s recitation was true, she did not misstate or misrepresent anything, and she did
not leave out anything that should have been included. (Resp’t Ex. B at 44.) McCauley also
testified that nothing had surprised him during the plea hearing and no one had promised him
anything or threatened him in order to get him to enter the pleas of guilty. (Resp’t Ex. B at 4445.) McCauley also stated that he understood the charges. (Resp’t Ex. B at 35-36.) McCauley
testified that he did not have any questions about the charges and pled guilty to Counts I, II, V,
and VII. (Resp’t Ex. B at 39-40.) Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that McCauley’s
contention that his plea was unknowing and involuntary due to the insufficient factual basis of
the plea is without merit. The transcript of the plea hearing along with other evidence in the
record supports a finding that McCauley’s plea was knowing and voluntary. Therefore, counsel
was not ineffective for failing to object to the factual basis of the plea. The court of appeals
finding that intent can be inferred by McCauley’s actions of deliberately striking the victim with
a baseball bat multiple times is not an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of other
evidence nor contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. The
Court will deny relief on this claim.
Failure to Advocate at Sentencing
Next, McCauley contends that his plea counsel was ineffective for failure to advocate for
him by requesting an aggregate ten year sentence and failed to suggest any specific sentence.
During McCauley’s sentencing, the prosecutor noted McCauley had been to prison twice and had
a federal offense for possession of a firearm as a felon. (Resp’t Ex. B at 64.) The prosecutor
asked the court to impose consecutive sentences. (Resp’t Ex. B at 64.) McCauley’s counsel
disputed errors in the sentencing assessment report regarding McCauley’s education,
employment history, and the identity of K.C. as the second victim. (Resp’t Ex. B at 57-58.)
McCauley’s counsel argued that the current charges were the only violent felonies on
McCauley’s record, he was a high school graduate, and was working at the time of the offense.
(Resp’t Ex. B at 62.) McCauley’s counsel asked for mercy and that the sentences be run
concurrently. (Resp’t Ex. B at 62, 64.) The sentencing judge sentenced McCauley to 30 years
on each count to run concurrently. (Resp’t Ex. B at 65.)
Based on the record before this court, McCauley has not shown that his counsel’s
performance fell below the objective standard of reasonableness.
McCauley was being
sentenced as a prior and persistent offender. His minimum sentences on Counts I and III were
ten years, therefore, his counsel advocating for ten years would have no effect as that was the
minimum sentence he would have served anyway.
The sentencing court also granted
McCauley’s counsel’s request that the sentences be run concurrently. Due to the nature of the
crime and McCauley’s criminal history, his counsel’s representation was not outside the wide
range of professionally competent assistance expected of counsel. The Court will deny relief on
Acceptance of Guilty Plea without a factual basis
McCauley next contends that he was denied due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the Constitution, because the plea court accepted his guilty plea without a
factual basis. For the reasons stated above, supra § III-C-1, the Court finds that there was no
federal constitutional violation in the plea court’s acceptance of McCauley’s guilty plea, which
the Court has previously found was knowing and voluntary. To the extent that McCauley seeks
the Court’s review of the court of appeals’ determination that that the state trial court complied
with Missouri Supreme Court Rule 24.02(e), the motion is denied. Missouri Supreme Court
Rule 24.02(e) provides that “The court shall not enter a judgment upon a plea of guilty unless it
determines that there is a factual basis for the plea.” “It is not the province of a federal habeas
court to reexamine state court determinations on state law questions.” Estelle v. McGuire, 502
U.S. 62, 67 (1991).
A mere violation of state law is not cognizable in a federal habeas
proceeding. See Lee v. Norris, 354 F.3d 846, 847 (8th Cir. 2004.) McCauley alleges that there is
no factual basis for his plea, because the record contains no facts regarding his intent. State law
defines the elements of state law crimes. Fenske v. Thalacker, 60 F.3d 478, 480 (8th Cir. 1995).
“A judgment by a state appellate court rejecting a challenge to evidentiary sufficiency is of
course entitled to deference by federal courts, as is any judgment affirming a criminal
conviction.” Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 323 (1979). Missouri courts recognize that
“direct evidence of a defendant’s intent is rarely available, thus intent is most often proved by
circumstantial evidence and permissible inferences.” State v. Mangum, 390 S.W.3d 853, 859
(Mo. Ct. App. 2013). The question of whether there is a factual basis for the elements of the first
degree domestic assault charge does not present an issue regarding any clearly established
Supreme Court precedent, but is purely a state law issue under the circumstances of this case.
Due Process Claim regarding Transferred Intent Liability
For his seventh claim, McCauley states that he was denied the right to due process in
violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments when the state failed to plead in the charging
documents a factual basis for transferred intent liability for Counts III and VII. McCauley
acknowledges that this claim was not raised in state court and that this procedural default should
be excused under Martinez. v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012) due to ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel.
In Martinez v. Ryan, the Supreme Court held:
Where under state law, claims of ineffective assistance of
trial counsel must be raised in an initial-review collateral
proceeding, a procedural default will not bar a federal habeas
court from hearing a substantial claim of ineffective
assistance at trial, if in the initial review collateral
proceeding, there was no counsel or counsel in that
proceeding was ineffective.
Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309, 1320 (2012).
The Eighth Circuit has held that
Martinez does not stand for the proposition that the failure to preserve claims on appeal from a
post-conviction proceeding can constitute cause. Arnold v. Dormire, 675 F.3d 1082, 1087 (8th
Cir. 2012) (citing Martinez, 132 S.Ct. at 1320) (holding does not concern attorney errors in other
kinds of proceedings, including appeals from initial-review collateral proceedings). Respondent
contends that McCauley’s claim is time-barred, because it was not raised in state court and it
does not relate back to claims in the original timely petition. Further, Respondent contends that
Martinez does not apply to claims that are not ineffective assistance of counsel claims. The
Court allowed McCauley to add this claim to his Amended Petition. [Doc. 43.]
First, the Court agrees that this claim is time-barred and Martinez does not apply, as the
case clearly states, “a procedural default will not bar a federal habeas court from hearing a
substantial claim of ineffective assistance at trial, if in the initial review collateral proceeding,
there was no counsel or counsel in that proceeding was ineffective.” Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct.
at 1320 (emphasis added). This claim is not an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Second,
the claim also lacks substantial merit. At sentencing, McCauley attempted to withdraw his guilty
pleas, because he stated that he did not knowingly and intelligently plead to the counts regarding
K.C., which appears to be an argument that he did not intentionally injure K.C. (Resp’t Ex. B at
52.) In response, the prosecution stated the plea should stand based on the record at the plea
hearing and that transferred intent was also a viable theory even if McCauley now stated he did
not intend to hit K.C. (Resp’t Ex. B at 52-53.) The court denied McCauley’s motion based on
McCauley’s testimony at the plea hearing. (Resp’t Ex. B at 53-54.) The Missouri Court of
Appeals affirmed the denial based on the testimony at the plea hearing.
As the court has found above, McCauley’s plea was knowing and voluntary. The U.S.
Constitution provides defendants a fundamental right to be informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation against them and this right is “implemented primarily by charging papers which
contain the elements of the offense so as to fairly inform a defendant of the charge against which
he must defend.” Goodloe v. Parratt, 605 F.2d 1041, 1045 (8th Cir. 1979). “Due process
requirements may be satisfied if a defendant receives actual notice of the charges against him,
even if the indictment or information is deficient.” Hulstine v. Morris, 819 F.2d 851, 864 (8th
Cir. 1987). The parties do not dispute that the charging document contains the elements of the
crimes as charged. The plea court and the court of appeals found McCauley’s guilty pleas as
knowing and voluntary based on McCauley’s testimony at the plea hearing. McCauley has
failed to show any federal constitutional violation based on the prosecutor’s comment (in
response to his motion to withdraw) that transferred intent could have been an alternative basis
for finding McCauley guilty of Counts III and VII. The Court will deny relief on this claim.
Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that McCauley’s request for relief pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 should be denied. The Court finds that the state court’s findings and conclusions
regarding McCauley’s claims were not contrary to, nor do they involve an unreasonable
application of clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court of the United
States, nor did they result in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the
facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceedings.
McCauley has made no showing of denial of a constitutional right, the Court will not issue a
certificate of appealability. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); Tiedeman v. Benson, 122 F.3d 518, 522
(8th Cir. 1997).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED the Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is DENIED. [Doc. 45.]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, for the reasons stated herein, any motion by Montia
McCauley for a Certificate of Appealability will be DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.
Dated this 30th day of September, 2016.
/s/ Nannette A. Baker
NANNETTE A. BAKER
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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