Edwards v. Griffith
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's request for stay and abeyance is DENIED.. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 10/28/16. (LGK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
No. 4:16CV1273 RWS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on petitioner=s request for a stay and abeyance pursuant to
Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269 (2005). The request will be denied.
Petitioner was found guilty, after a jury trial in St. Louis County Court, of two counts of
first-degree child molestation, one count of statutory sodomy and three counts of statutory rape.
Petitioner was sentenced on November 10, 2011, to life imprisonment on each of the statutory rape
counts, life imprisonment on the statutory sodomy count, and 15 years’ imprisonment on each of
the two child molestation counts, with the sentences to be served concurrently.
After his conviction was affirmed on appeal, petitioner filed a pro se Rule 29.15 motion
that included a multitude of claims. Counsel was appointed for petitioner, and counsel filed an
amended motion. The amended motion wholly superseded the pro se motion. The circuit court
denied the motion, and the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed.
Petitioner=s federal habeas petition contains the entirety of the claims petitioner raised in
his direct appeal and in his Rule 29.15 motions. Nonetheless, in his application for writ of habeas
corpus at bar, petitioner states that he has filed a Rule 91 habeas petition in Washington County
state court in an attempt to argue that his counsel was ineffective for failing to advise him that his
prior guilty plea in a similar case in the City of St. Louis involving the same victim and same type
of offense could be used against him in his case in St. Louis County.
As noted in the Court’s prior Memorandum and Order addressing petitioner’s request for
stay, the Court has not found any evidence of a pending Rule 91 motion in Missouri State Court
when checking Missouri.Case.Net. Moreover, A[b]ecause granting a stay effectively excuses a
petitioner=s failure to present his claims first to the state courts, stay and abeyance is only
appropriate when the district court determines there was good cause for the petitioner=s failure to
exhaust his claims first in state court.@ Rhines, 544 U.S. at 277. Entitlement to a stay requires not
only consideration of whether petitioner had good cause for his failure to exhaust, but also whether
his unexhausted claims are Aplainly meritless,@ whether the claims are potentially meritorious, and
whether the petitioner engaged in intentionally dilatory litigation tactics. Id. at 277-78.
The Court has reviewed petitioner’s underlying state court briefs on Westlaw and found
that he has already litigated, in both his appeal of his conviction, as well as his post-conviction
appeal process, the collateral consequences of his guilty plea in the St. Louis City action. See, e.g.,
State v. Edwards, No. ED97695, 2012 WL 5510137 (Mo.Ct.App. October 31, 2012); see also,
Edwards v. State, No. ED100625, 2014 WL4389703 (Mo.Ct.App. July 16, 2014). Thus, there are
no non-futile state remedies by which petitioner can present his claims relative to the collateral
consequences of his prior plea to the state court. Smittie v. Lockhart, 843 F.2d 295, 296 (8th
As a result, all of petitioner=s claims are exhausted, and the petition is not subject to stay
and abeyance under Rhines.
Rule 29.15 is the Aexclusive procedure by which [a convicted] person may seek relief in the
sentencing court@ for claims that his conviction violated the state or federal Constitutions.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner=s request for stay and abeyance is DENIED.
Dated this 28th day of October, 2016.
RODNEY W. SIPPEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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