Schamel v. Lawrence
MEMORANDUM re: 1 writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by John Randall Schamel. Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 7/20/15. (KKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JOHN RANDALL SCHAMEL,
No. 4:14-CV-1199 (CEJ)
This matter is before the Court on the petition of John Randall Schamel for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
At the time the petition was filed, petitioner was incarcerated at the Algoa
Correctional Center pursuant to the sentences and judgments of the Circuit Court of
Crawford County, Missouri.1 On November 25, 2008, petitioner pled guilty to the
class C felonies of driving while intoxicated, in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. §
577.010, and stealing a motor vehicle, in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 570.030.
imprisonment, but suspended execution of his sentences and placed petitioner into
Missouri’s long-term treatment program pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 217.362. On
November 13, 2009, the trial court placed petitioner under supervised probation for
a two-year term.
The trial court revoked petitioner’s first term of probation on
January 18, 2011, but retained jurisdiction to determine whether petitioner would
It appears that petitioner has been released from prison. “Parole status does not deprive [the]
federal court of jurisdiction over a habeas petition . . . because a parolee is still ‘in custody.’” Jones v.
Jerrison, 20 F.3d 849, 852 n.2 (8th Cir. 1994) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a)).
be granted a new term of probation under Mo. Rev. Stat. § 559.115. Resp’t Ex. F,
at 12-14. The trial court granted petitioner a second period of probation on April
18, 2011, placing him under supervision for a five-year term.
On October 20, 2011, petitioner’s probation officer filed a probation violation
Resp’t Ex. C.
On December 19, 2011, the prosecuting attorney filed
motions to revoke petitioner’s probation, citing the probation violation report.
Resp’t Ex. D, E. The trial court held a probation revocation hearing on the state’s
motions on May 3, 2012. Resp’t Ex. F, at 16-22. At the conclusion of the hearing,
the trial court found that petitioner had violated the conditions of his supervised
probation, revoked his probation, executed his previously imposed sentences, and
again placed him in Missouri’s long-term treatment program under Mo. Rev. Stat. §
217.362. Id. at 17, 19.
On April 4, 2013, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the
Circuit Court of Webster County, Missouri. After an evidentiary hearing, the postconviction court set aside the trial court’s May 3, 2012 order to place petitioner in
the long-term treatment program as unlawful, because his successful completion of
the program could lead to an unauthorized third term of probation. Resp’t Ex. M at
3-5; see Mo. Rev. Stat. § 559.036.
The post-conviction court declined to grant
petitioner’s request for discharge from his 2008-imposed seven-year sentences,
finding that the trial court retained authority to correct its mistake and enter a
lawful disposition on the state’s probation revocation motions.
Id. at 5-7.
Petitioner filed petitions for a writ of habeas corpus and a writ of prohibition with
the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District on June 10, 2013, which were
summarily denied the next day.
On June 19, 2013, the trial court reconsidered sentencing for petitioner’s
Resp’t Ex. R.
The trial court took judicial notice of
petitioner’s seven-year sentences imposed on November 25, 2008, petitioner’s May
3, 2012 admission to violating conditions of his probation, and the trial court’s May
3, 2012 order revoking petitioner’s probation and ordering execution of petitioner’s
previously imposed sentences.
Id. at 23-24.
The trial court noted its error in
sentencing petitioner to the long-term treatment program under Mo. Rev. Stat. §
217.362. Thus, the trial court set aside that portion of the sentence and instead
ordered execution of the 2008 sentences.
Id. at 24.
Thereafter, petitioner filed
timely petitions for writs of habeas corpus in the Circuit Court of Cole County,
Missouri, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, and the Missouri Supreme
Court. All of the petitions were denied. Resp’t Ex. Y, AA, CC. On June 18, 2014,
petitioner filed the instant petition for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Petitioner presents five claims for relief: (1) the trial court failed to hold a
new probation revocation hearing after the post-conviction court set aside the trial
court’s May 3, 2012 order as unlawful and unauthorized; (2) he did not receive
written notice of the alleged violations of probation before the May 3, 2012
revocation hearing; (3) his counsel at the May 3, 2012 hearing was ineffective
because she did not have a legal file on petitioner and agreed to an unlawful
sentence; (4) the probation revocation court failed to make independent findings
and conclusions at the May 3, 2012 hearing and simply accepted the probation
officer’s recommendation; and (5) he was not informed of his right to appointed
counsel at the January 18, 2011 probation revocation hearing.
submitted a “supplemental petition for writ of habeas corpus” and “suggestions in
support” of his petition, which reiterate the claims above. [Doc. ##10, 28].
Additional facts will be included as necessary.
When a claim has been adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings,
habeas relief is permissible under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), only if the state court’s determination:
(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 proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2).
A state court’s decision is “contrary to” clearly established law if “it applies a
rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [the Supreme Court’s] cases, or
if it confronts a set of facts that is materially indistinguishable from a decision of
[the Supreme Court] but reaches a different result.”
Brown v. Payton, 544 U.S.
133, 141 (2005). “The state court need not cite or even be aware of the governing
Supreme Court cases, ‘so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the statecourt decision contradicts them.’” Brown v. Luebbers, 371 F.3d 458, 461 (8th Cir.
2004) (citing Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002)). “In the ‘contrary to’ analysis
of the state court’s decision, [the federal court’s] focus is on the result and any
reasoning that the court may have given; the absence of reasoning is not a barrier
to a denial of relief.” Id.
A decision involves an “unreasonable application” of clearly established law if
“the state court applies [the Supreme Court’s] precedents to the facts in an
objectively unreasonable manner,” Payton, 125 S. Ct. at 1439; Williams v. Taylor,
529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000), or “if the state court either unreasonably extends a legal
principle from [Supreme Court] precedent to a new context where it should not
apply or unreasonably refuses to extend that principle to a new context where it
Id. at 406.
“Federal habeas relief is warranted only when the
refusal was ‘objectively unreasonable,’ not when it was merely erroneous or
incorrect.” Carter v. Kemna, 255 F.3d 589, 592 (8th Cir. 2001) (quoting Williams,
529 U.S. at 410-11).
Failure to Hold a New Probation Revocation
Petitioner first argues that the trial court erred by not holding a new
probation revocation hearing after the post-conviction court determined that the
trial court’s May 3, 2012 order placing petitioner in long-term treatment was
unlawful and unauthorized. In support of this claim, petitioner contends that the
post-conviction court’s grant of habeas relief set aside his prior admission to
violating the terms of his probation and restored his status as a probationer.
The post-conviction court granted petitioner habeas relief solely on the basis
of the statutorily unlawful nature of the May 3, 2012 sentence to long-term
Resp’t Ex. M at 8.
The post-conviction court considered petitioner’s
requests for discharge from his November 25, 2008 sentences and for an order
prohibiting the trial court from taking further action on his conceded violation of his
second term of probation.
Id. at 5-6.
However, the court acknowledged its
inability to either release petitioner unconditionally or prohibit the trial court from
using his prior admission of a probation violation against petitioner again. Id. First,
the post-conviction court stated that it had no authority to order a sister circuit
court to act or refrain from action as to petitioner. Id. Second, the post-conviction
court concluded that even though the May 3, 2012 order was unlawful, the trial
court was not prohibited from correcting its mistake and taking lawful action. Id. at
Thus, the post-conviction court set aside the disposition in the trial court’s
May 3, 2012 order placing petitioner in the long-term treatment program, but it did
not set aside petitioner’s admission to violating a condition of his probation, or the
trial court’s revocation of his probation.
On June 19, 2013, the trial court resumed sentencing of petitioner for
violating the conditions of his probation. Resp’t Ex. R. At the resentencing, counsel
for petitioner argued that petitioner had reverted back to the status of a
probationer, but conceded that petitioner had admitted to a violation of his
probation on the record at the May 3, 2012 hearing.
Id. at 8-9. The trial court
asked counsel if petitioner was requesting to withdraw his admission to violating a
condition of his probation and have a new probation revocation hearing. Id. at 1011. Petitioner’s counsel responded: “Well I think we do but I think what I’m saying
is that Mr. Schamel prefers to admit to the violation as it was.”
Id. at 12. The
court construed this response as a request for a new revocation hearing and asked
for the state’s position. The prosecutor suggested that petitioner was not entitled
to a new revocation hearing since the record demonstrated that he had previously
admitted to a violation and originally had received a lawfully-imposed sentence.
Petitioner’s counsel also argued that petitioner had admitted to the violation
of his probation at the May 3, 2012 hearing because he understood the state would
ask for long-term treatment.
Id. at 11.
The prosecutor responded that the
sentencing judge was not obligated to accept the parties’ suggestions or requests at
a probation revocation hearing.
Id. at 14.
Petitioner asserted his own legal
arguments at the resentencing, asking the court to reinstate his probation despite
his recognition that he could not receive a third term of probation. Id. at 15-23.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court took judicial notice of the
record of petitioner’s seven-year sentences, petitioner’s unequivocal admission to
violating a condition of his probation at the May 3, 2012 hearing, the trial court’s
order revoking petitioner’s probation, and the trial court’s order for execution of the
previously imposed sentences. Id. at 23-24. The court further noted its erroneous
sentence placing petitioner in the long-term treatment program. Instead, the trial
court ordered execution of petitioner’s original sentences and preparation of an
amended sentence and judgment by the clerk of the court.
Petitioner was entitled to a hearing prior to the revocation of his probationary
Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 488 (1972) (parole revocation);
Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778, 782 (1973) (probation revocation).
accordance with the minimum requirements of procedural due process, a
“probationer is entitled to written notice of the claimed violations of his probation;
disclosure of the evidence against him; an opportunity to be heard in person and to
present witnesses and documentary evidence; a neutral hearing body; and a
written statement by the factfinder as to the evidence relied on and the reasons for
revoking probation.” Black v. Romano, 471 U.S. 606, 612 (1985) (citing Gagnon,
411 U.S. at 786).
“The probationer is also entitled to cross-examine adverse
witnesses, unless the hearing body specifically finds good cause for not allowing
confrontation. Finally, the probationer has a right to the assistance of counsel in
some circumstances.” Id.
Petitioner had the opportunity to be heard at both the May 3, 2012 and the
June 19, 2013 revocation hearings.
He was represented by counsel at both
hearings, unequivocally admitted to violating a condition of his probation at the May
3, 2012 hearing, and did not seek to withdraw his admission at the June 19, 2013
hearing. Resp’t Ex. F at 16-20, Ex. R at 6-12. In granting habeas relief as to the
May 3, 2012 order, the post-conviction court did not find that the hearing was
procedurally inadequate, but rather solely set aside the trial court’s order
sentencing petitioner to the long-term treatment program. At both hearings, the
trial court satisfied the two requisite components of a revocation hearing in
accordance with the procedural requirements of due process; it engaged in “(1) a
retrospective factual question whether the probationer ha[d] violated a condition of
probation; and (2) a discretionary determination by the sentencing authority
whether violation of a condition warrants revocation of probation.” Black, 471 U.S.
As such, the trial court’s decision to accept petitioner’s admission to
violating a condition of his probation, revoke his probation and execute his
sentences was not contrary to clearly established federal law.
Written Notice of the Alleged Violations of
Petitioner also alleges that he did not receive written notice of the alleged
violations of his probation prior to the May 3, 2012 hearing, at which his probation
To comply with the requirements of due process, a probationer is
entitled to written notice of the claimed violations of his probation prior to the final
revocation hearing. E.g., Black, 471 U.S. at 612; United States v. Pattman, 535
F.2d 1062, 1063 (8th Cir. 1976).
According to the record, the state filed motions to revoke petitioner’s
probation on December 19, 2011, citing an October 20, 2011 violation report.
Resp’t Ex. D, E.
The motions provide notice of the forthcoming hearing on the
motions, as well as certificates of service of the motions upon petitioner. On April
23, 2012, petitioner was taken into custody pursuant to a warrant. Resp’t Ex. A, at
9. Prior to his arrest, three additional field violation reports were filed before the
trial court. Id.
At the May 3, 2012 hearing, petitioner acknowledged awareness that the
probation office had recommended revocation of his probation and informed the
sentencing judge that he had applied for a public defender prior to the hearing.
Resp’t Ex. F, at 16. The judge placed the case on recall to allow contact with the
public defender’s office to be made and for a public defender to appear on
After his attorney appeared and in response to the judge’s
questions, petitioner stated that he had had enough time to visit with his attorney
regarding the case and wanted to admit to a probation violation.
Id. at 17-18.
Thereafter, he was placed under oath and admitted to knowingly violating a
condition of his probation. Id. at 17-18.
Petitioner did not allege that he had not received a copy of the motions to
revoke his probation or the violation reports, nor claim that he was unaware of the
He also did not contest the alleged violations, but rather
admitted to a violation under oath.
Accordingly, the record demonstrates that
petitioner was aware and had notice of the alleged violations of his probation, and
waived any challenges to the allegations and revocation of his probation by
admitting to a violation on the record at the hearing.
Ground 3: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel at the May 3,
2012 Probation Revocation Hearing
Petitioner next asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at
the May 3, 2012 hearing, because the public defender appointed to represent
petitioner did not have a legal file on him and he received an unlawful sentence at
To prevail on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, petitioner
must show that his attorney’s performance fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness and that he was prejudiced thereby. Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668, 687 (1984).
With the first prong of Strickland, there exists a strong
presumption that counsel’s conduct fell within the wide range of professionally
Id. at 689.
For the second prong, 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.” Id. at 694.
Prior to the public defender’s appearance on his behalf at the May 3, 2012
recommendation for revocation of petitioner’s second probationary period with
placement in the long-term treatment program.
Resp’t Ex. F, at 16 (Defendant:
“I’m under the understanding that probation and parole recommended revocation
with long term.”). After petitioner was appointed counsel, the record demonstrates
that petitioner responded to questions from the sentencing judge, stating that he
had had a sufficient amount of time to speak with his attorney about the case and
he intended to admit to violating a condition of his probation.
Id. at 17-18.
Petitioner proceeded to knowingly admit to violating a condition of his probation.
Id. at 18-19. At the conclusion of the hearing, petitioner stated that his attorney
had done everything he asked and he had no complaints about the representation
he received. Id. at 19-20.
A defendant has “‘the ultimate authority to determine whether to plead
guilty, waive a jury, testify in his or her own behalf, or take an appeal.” Florida v.
Nixon, 543 U.S. 175, 187 (2004) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Such
decisions “cannot be made for the defendant by a surrogate.”
“[c]oncerning those decisions, an attorney must both consult with the defendant
and obtain consent to the recommended course of action.”
judge confirmed with both petitioner and his counsel that he intended to admit to a
violation of his probation and that he had had a sufficient amount of time to confer
with his counsel regarding the admission and its effects.
Resp’t Ex. F at 17-18.
Thus, the record does not overcome the strong presumption in favor of finding that
counsel’s conduct fell within the range of professionally reasonable assistance.
With respect to the unlawful disposition ordered at the May 3, 2012 hearing,
the record of the June 19, 2013 hearing refutes any argument that petitioner would
have withdrawn his admission to violating a condition of his probation if he knew he
could not lawfully be placed in the long-term treatment program again. At the June
19, 2013 hearing, petitioner’s counsel repeatedly stated that petitioner was not
seeking to withdraw his earlier admission. Resp’t Ex. R at 8 (stating that petitioner
“is willing to admit to the same violation”); id. at 9 (“But yes he has admitted that
on the record so we’ll accept that as a violation of probation is what I’m saying.”);
id. at 12 (counsel stating that “what I’m saying is that Mr. Schamel prefers to admit
to the violation”). Petitioner spoke at length on his own behalf and did not express
a desire to withdraw his earlier admission. The probation revocation court found
that based on petitioner’s unequivocal admission, it simply needed to amend the
former sentence and judgment to set aside the unlawful portion of the May 3, 2012
disposition. Id. at 10, 24. As such, there is not a reasonable probability the result
of the May 3, 2012 would have been different from the outcome reached at the
June 19, 2013 hearing even if his May 3, 2012 counsel had informed him that replacement in the long-term treatment program would be unlawful.
Ground 4: Independent Findings and Conclusions of the
Probation Revocation Court
For the fourth basis for relief, petitioner asserts that the probation revocation
court failed to make independent findings and conclusions at the May 3, 2012
hearing apart from the probation office’s recommendation.
A revocation of
probation must be preceded by a hearing at which a probationer has the
opportunity to be heard, followed by “a written statement by the factfinder as to
the evidence relied on and the reasons for revoking probation.” Black, 471 U.S. at
The factfinder does not have the obligation, however, to explain its
consideration and rejection of alternative dispositions. Id. at 610-11, 615-16.
After petitioner cited his understanding that the probation office had
recommended revocation of his probation with placement in the long-term
treatment program, counsel for both parties were heard and petitioner admitted to
violating a condition of his probation on the record, the trial court revoked
petitioner’s probation, ordered execution of his 2008 sentences, and placed
petitioner in the long-term treatment program. Resp’t Ex. F, at 16-22. As such,
the trial court afforded petitioner a full opportunity to present mitigating factors and
propose alternative dispositions.
Based on petitioner’s admissions and the field
violation reports, the trial court had sufficient evidence to support its finding that
petitioner had violated the terms of his probation.
The trial court did not fail to
exercise its own independent discretion by ordering a disposition consistent with the
probation office’s recommendation.
Ground 5: Right to Counsel at the January 18, 2011
Probation Revocation Hearing
Lastly, petitioner claims that he was not informed of his right to appointed
counsel at the January 18, 2011 probation revocation hearing. If counsel had been
appointed, petitioner argues, his original term of probation would not have been
[Doc. #1, p. 15].
In Missouri, a probation revocation can only be
challenged through a habeas corpus petition.
E.g., Romano v. Wyrick, 681 F.2d
555, 556 (8th Cir. 1982). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1), a one-year period of
limitation applies to a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody
pursuant to a state court judgment.
Thus, the time in which petitioner had to
challenge the January 18, 2011 probation revocation expired in January 2012. The
record shows that petitioner filed his first state habeas petition in the Circuit Court
of Webster County, Missouri on April 4, 2013.
As such, any challenge to the
January 18, 2011 probation revocation is untimely.2
For the reasons discussed above, the Court concludes that petitioner has
failed to establish that he is entitled to relief based on state court proceedings that
were contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law,
Additionally, in his reply brief, petitioner states that he did not intend this claim to be a ground for
relief. [Doc. #25, at 18].
or based upon an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence
presented in the state court proceedings. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Petitioner has also
failed to make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.
Therefore, the Court will not issue a certificate of appealability. See Cox v. Norris,
133 F.3d 565, 569 (8th Cir. 1997).
A judgment in accordance with this Memorandum will be entered separately.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 20th day of July, 2015.
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