Reid v. Northern NH Correctional Facility, Warden
///ORDER granting 12 Motion for Summary Judgment. The court declines to issue a certificate of appealability. Clerk shall enter judgment and close the case. So Ordered by Judge Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr.(gla)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Civil No. 13-cv-073-JD
Opinion No. 2017 DNH 033
Warden, Northern New Hampshire
O R D E R
George Reid seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction in state court on
charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault and felonious
The Warden moves for summary judgment.
Certain procedural issues raised in Reid’s objection
were addressed previously in the court’s order issued on January
30, 2017, and those matters will not be addressed again in this
Standard of Review
Summary judgment is used in habeas corpus proceedings under
§ 2254 when the issues raised may be decided on the available
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(a)(4); Fournier v. Warden, 2010
WL 4455917, at *1 (D.N.H. Nov. 3, 2010).
Based on the court’s
review of the record submitted, there is no need to expand the
record or to hold an evidentiary hearing.
See Rules 7 and 8 of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.
Reid, who is
represented by counsel, has not moved to expand the record or
requested an evidentiary hearing.
As explained in the court’s
prior order, although Reid raised an issue about discovery, he
did not seek leave of court to conduct discovery or provide good
cause to support a request for discovery.
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.
See Rule 6 of the
Therefore, Reid’s claims
may be decided based on the available record.
Motions for summary judgment may be considered under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, however, only to the extent
that the application of Rule 56 is not inconsistent with § 2254
and the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.
Id.; Rule 12 of the
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases; Perri v. Gerry, 2014 WL
2218679, at *1 (D.N.H. May 29, 2014).
Relief under § 2254 is available only for claims for which
the petitioner has exhausted the remedies available in state
On claims that were adjudicated on the
merits by the state court, the habeas court cannot grant the
writ unless the state court’s decision “was contrary to, or
involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established
Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court” or “was based
on an unreasonable determination of the facts.”
claim was adjudicated on the merits if “there is a decision
finally resolving the parties’ claims, with res judicata effect,
that is based on the substance of the claim advanced, rather
than on a procedural, or other, ground.”
Moore v. Dickhaut, 842
F.3d 97, 100 (1st Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Factual determinations made by the state court are presumed to
Reid was convicted following a jury trial on two counts of
aggravated felonious sexual assault and two counts of felonious
He was sentenced in March of 2009 to twenty to
sixty years in prison.
Reid appealed his conviction, and the
New Hampshire Supreme Court issued its decision affirming the
conviction on March 16, 2011.
State v. Reid, 161 N.H. 569
The events that led to the charges against Reid began in
2003 when Reid was living with Lynn Benway.
granddaughter, E.B., visited them several times a week and swam
in their swimming pool and hot tub.
Reid on at least one
occasion was in the hot tub with E.B. while he was naked.
pulled down E.B.’s bathing suit “and placed his penis between
Reid, 161 N.H. at 571.
On at least one other
occasion, while E.B. slept in the bed with her grandmother and
Reid, Reid “pulled down E.B.’s pajama pants and put his penis
between her buttocks.”
When E.B.’s mother heard from someone else that Benway and
Reid walked around the house nude in E.B.’s presence, she asked
E.B. if she had seen them do that.
E.B. said that she had seen
them nude and then told her mother about the abuse.
investigators that Reid “penetrated her vagina with his penis
and his finger.”
E.B. was interviewed by an investigator,
Nancy Harris-Burovac, on May 6, 2004, and the interview was
During the interview E.B. described the incidents
Reid was first tried on sexual assault charges in 2008.
Before trial, Reid moved to dismiss the charges because E.B. had
no recollection of the incidents.
Reid argued that the
videotaped interview was inadmissible hearsay and a violation of
the Confrontation Clause.
The court ruled that the videotape
could be played at trial if E.B. testified.
ended in a mistrial for other reasons.
Reid was retried on the sexual assault charges in January
One of the prospective jurors was Carla Smith who
stated during jury selection that she could be biased because
she was a teacher and worked with children.
conversation with the judge and counsel, Smith agreed that
although she had strong feelings about children she could fairly
assess the evidence.
Smith was allowed to serve on the jury.
During the trial, the prosecutor again attempted to
introduce the videotaped interview with E.B., contending that it
was a recorded recollection.
E.B. testified that she remembered
the interview, that her memory was better at that time, that she
did not remember some of the incidents discussed in the
interview and specifically did not remember vaginal penetration.
The trial judge allowed the prosecution to play an edited
version of the interview videotape that related to the vaginal
On appeal, Reid challenged the ruling to allow the
He argued that the videotape was not
admissible as a recorded recollection under the exception to the
The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the
trial court properly exercised its discretion in allowing the
The supreme court rejected Reid’s argument that the
videotape violated Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause.
Reid also argued on appeal that the trial court should have
granted a mistrial based on the prosecutor’s introduction of
evidence that an investigator did not obtain a statement from
The investigator testified that he attempted to interview
Reid argued that the testimony was improper comment on
his silence in violation of his Fifth Amendment right to remain
The trial court denied the motion for a mistrial but
offered to give a cautionary jury instruction, which Reid’s
On appeal, the court concluded that the reference to an
attempt to interview Reid was “not a sufficiently clear
reference to the defendant’s invocation of his right to remain
silent so as to substantially prejudice him to the level
requiring a mistrial.”
Reid, 161 N.H. at 305.
In addition, the
court noted that the trial court offered a cautionary
instruction, which the defense declined.
The court also held
that the questioning which resulted in comment on the attempt to
interview Reid was not prosecutorial misconduct.
On March 12, 2012, Reid, who was represented by new
counsel, moved to set aside the verdict and for a new trial
based on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Specifically, Reid charged that his trial attorney was
ineffective in failing to have testimony from an expert witness
to counter the prosecution’s witness who testified about the
evidence of sexual abuse of E.B., in failing to have Reid’s
physicians testify about his erectile dysfunction, in failing to
show that E.B. had recanted her charges against Reid, and in
failing to inform Reid about the prosecution’s offer of a guilty
An evidentiary hearing was held on the motion in
September of 2012, and the court denied the motion in November
On appeal, Reid challenged only the ruling on the issue of
ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to investigate and
present evidence of Reid’s erectile dysfunction.
Hampshire Supreme Court declined to consider the appeal.
court denied Reid’s motion to reconsider.
Reid filed the petition for relief in this court on
February 19, 2013.
In July of 2013, Reid moved to stay the case
to allow him to pursue additional claims in state court.
court administratively closed the case, with the provision that
it could be reopened by an appropriate motion.
Reid then returned to state court and filed a habeas
petition in which he claimed that his right to due process was
violated because of juror bias and misconduct and that counsel
was ineffective for failing to challenge the juror.
were based on statements by the juror, Carla Smith.
The state court ruled that Reid’s claims of due process
violations due to juror bias and misconduct were procedurally
The state court also ruled, as to all three claims,
that the evidence showed that the juror was not biased and did
not engage in misconduct.
The court denied Reid’s motion for
reconsideration, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court declined
The habeas action in this court was reopened on March 16,
Reid filed an amended petition on April 20, 2016.
explained in the prior order, Reid did not clearly state all of
the claims he intended to bring in his amended petition.1
interpreted by the Warden and apparently intended by Reid, the
petition raises the following seven claims:
1. The trial court erred in admitting excerpts of the
videotaped interview of E.B. (the alleged victim) as
“recorded recollection” where the videotape
constituted inadmissible hearsay and its admission
violated the accused’s right to confrontation.
A. The videotaped interview constituted
inadmissible hearsay and was not within the Recorded
Recollection exception to the Hearsay Rule.
B. The admission of the videotaped interview
violated Reid’s Right to Confrontation.
2. The trial court erred by denying Reid’s motion for
a mistrial, after the prosecution produced testimony
conveying that Reid had exercised his right to remain
silent and not give a statement during the police
3. Defense counsel’s failure to investigate
defendant’s erectile dysfunction and to present the
testimony of his physicians on this issue was
ineffective assistance of counsel.
4. In light of the statements of juror Carla Smith
(hereinafter "Smith") during jury selection wherein
she clearly indicated that she did not think she could
sit and be impartial because of her conscious bias
against Petitioner, should the trial court have
excused her from service on the jury?
Reid is represented by counsel in this case.
5. Was trial counsel ineffective, in light of his
failure to object to the seating of a self-confessed
biased juror, or to contemporaneously inform and
consult with his client about the juror, or to
exercise a challenge and strike her from the jury for
her obvious bias?
6. Should the conviction be vacated for the actions
of Smith during trial and deliberations, which actions
were juror misconduct in direct violation of the trial
court's instructions and her oath as a juror?
7. Was Petitioner deprived of his rights to due
process, a fair trial by an impartial jury, and the
right to effective assistance of counsel, as
guaranteed by Part I, Articles 15 and 35 of the New
Hampshire Constitution, as well as the 5th, 6th, and
14th Amendments to the United States Constitution?
The Warden moves for summary judgment on all of the issues
raised in the amended petition.
Reid objects to summary
Videotape of the Interview with E.B.
Reid contends that the trial court erred in admitting
excerpts from the videotaped interview under the recorded
recollection exception to the hearsay rule.
He argues that the
videotaped interview did not meet the requirements of the
recorded recollection exception and that its admission into
evidence violated his right to confrontation under the Sixth
The Warden moves for summary judgment on the grounds
that the videotaped interview was properly admitted under the
recorded recollection exception and that the state court
properly concluded that no violation of the Confrontation Clause
Exception to Hearsay Rule
Relief under § 2254 requires a showing that the state
court’s decision was “contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined
by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
that reason, absent a due process violation, alleged errors in
evidentiary rulings under state law do not support relief under
See Swarthout v. Cooke, 562 U.S. 216, 219 (2011);
Jaynes v. Mitchell, 814 F.3d 187, 195-96 (1st Cir. 2016);
Almeida v. Dickhaut, 2015 WL 1206296, at *4 (D. Mass. Mar. 17,
Because Reid does not claim a due process violation,
there is no basis to consider the validity of the state court’s
Reid also challenges the admission of excerpts from the
videotaped interview on the ground that the testimony shown in
the video violated his right to confrontation under the Sixth
The New Hampshire Supreme Court held that no
Confrontation Clause violation occurred because E.B. was
available at trial for cross examination, relying on State v.
Legere, 157 N.H. 746 (2008).2
The Warden contends among other
things that the videotape excerpts did not violate Reid’s
confrontation right because E.B. testified at trial and Reid’s
counsel asked her about her lack of memory of the events
addressed in the interview.
In response, Reid states only that
the factual bases for his Confrontation Clause claim are
disputed and “should be considered by this Court.”
To the extent Reid intended to argue that the New Hampshire
Supreme Court’s decision was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts, he has not carried the burden of
showing that to be true by clear and convincing evidence.
Reid does not even identify what facts are in
Therefore, there are no factual disputes related to
the Confrontation Clause claim to be considered by the court.
Reid also has not shown that the state court’s decision was
contrary to or an unreasonable application of federal law as
decided by the Supreme Court.
Under Crawford v. Washington, 541
U.S. 36, 68-69 (2004), “[w]here testimonial statements are at
issue, the only indicium of reliability sufficient to satisfy
Neither the Warden nor Reid address the basis for the New
Hampshire Supreme Court’s decision.
constitutional demands is the one the Constitution actually
In his case, he was able to
confront E.B. because she testified.
Therefore, Reid has not
shown that a Confrontation Clause violation occurred or that the
New Hampshire Supreme Court’s decision did not meet the
requirements of § 2254(d).
In support of his petition, Reid contends that the trial
court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial after the
prosecutor elicited testimony from a police investigator that
indicated Reid had exercised his right to remain silent by not
giving a statement to the investigator.
The New Hampshire
Supreme Court held that the reference to Reid’s silence, as the
trial court found, was “not a sufficiently clear reference to
the defendant’s invocation of his right to remain silent so as
to substantially prejudice him to the level requiring a
Reid, 161 N.H. at 576.
The court also held that the
reference could have been cured with a jury instruction, which
Reid rejected, so that he was not entitled to a mistrial.
The Warden contends that the state court used the correct
legal standard for evaluating whether a mistrial was required
and properly applied the standard.3
In his objection, Reid again
states only that the factual basis for the claim is disputed and
should be considered by the court here.
As explained above, Reid does not identify what factual
dispute exists or provide clear and convincing evidence that the
New Hampshire Supreme Court’s decision was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts.
Because Reid is
represented by counsel, the court need not provide any
additional scrutiny that might be afforded to a pro se
Therefore, Reid has not carried his burden under
Juror Bias and Misconduct
Reid raises four claims arising from allegations about
juror Carla Smith.
Reid’s claim of ineffective assistance of
counsel related to Smith is addressed in Part D below.
also asserts that the trial court should have excused Smith from
serving on the jury because of her bias, that Smith engaged in
misconduct during her service on the jury, and that his due
process right to a fair trial was violated by Smith’s service on
See, e.g., Caldwell v. Mississippi, 472 U.S. 320, 338-40
(1985)(discussing standard for mistrial); United States v.
Apicelli, 839 F.3d 75, 86 (1st Cir. 2016) (providing standard
The Warden contends that the state court properly found
that Reid’s juror claims, other than the claim for ineffective
assistance of counsel, were procedurally defaulted, which bars
review by this court, and that Reid cannot overcome the
procedural default by showing cause and prejudice.
also contends that the state court properly determined on the
merits that Smith was not biased and that the evidence did not
show that Smith had engaged in misconduct.
In his objection,
Reid argues that no procedural default occurred and that any
procedural default should be excused, but he does not address
the state court’s determination of the claims on the merits.
Procedural default of a claim in state court precludes
federal court review under § 2254 unless the petitioner can show
cause for the default and prejudice due to a violation of
federal law or that a miscarriage of justice will result from a
failure to consider the defaulted claims.
Barbosa v. Mitchell,
812 F.3d 62, 67 (1st Cir. 2016); Logan v. Gelb, 790 F.3d 65, 7273 91st Cir. 2015).
If the state court explicitly denied the
claim based on a state procedural bar, the federal court must
honor that decision even if the state court also provided an
alternative decision based on the merits.
Harris v. Reed, 489
U.S. 255, 265 n.10 (1989); see also Escalante v. Watson, 488 F.
App’x 694, 698-99 (4th Cir. 2012); Alverson v. Workman, 595 F.3d
1142, 1165 (3d Cir. 2010); Garcia v. Lewis, 188 F.3d 71, 77 (2d
Cir. 1999); Butler v. O’Brien, 2010 WL 607295, at *7 (D. Mass.
Feb. 18, 2010).
In this case, the state habeas court held that Reid’s
failure to raise the claims of juror bias and misconduct on
direct appeal waived habeas review of those claims.4
considered Reid’s reasons for failing to raise the claims on
appeal and concluded that his explanations were unpersuasive.
The court held that Reid had procedurally waived the claims and
denied the claims based on procedural default.
the court considered the claims on the merits, stating that
“[e]ven if the Court were to find that Claims I and III were not
barred by the procedural default rule, the petitioner has not
met his burden of proof with respect to all three claims.”
Therefore, the state court denied the claims based on
Reid argues that his default in state court
should be excused because of procedural complications in his
Cause to support excusing procedural default
“exists where something external to the petitioner, something
that cannot fairly be attributed to him impeded his efforts to
New Hampshire consistently applies the rule that issues,
other than ineffective assistance of counsel, which are not
briefed for purposes of direct appeal are waived. See Legere v.
Reilly, 2015 WL 1037669, at *6 (D.N.H. Mar. 10, 2015); Merritt
v. Warden, 2004 WL 443363, at *3 (D.N.H. Mar. 11, 2004).
comply with the State’s procedural rule.”
Maples v. Thomas, 565
U.S. 266, 280 (2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Reid argues that his federal case has been complicated
because it was administratively closed while he brought the
state habeas action to exhaust the juror claims.
complications here, however, have no bearing on why Reid failed
to raise the juror claims on direct appeal before this case was
In addition, the state habeas court found that Reid’s
explanations for his failure to raise the juror claims on direct
appeal were unpersuasive.
Reid has provided no grounds here
that would undermine that determination.
Because Reid’s claims that Carla Smith was biased and
engaged in misconduct are procedurally defaulted, they cannot be
Therefore, the claims numbered 4, 6, and 7 in
the background section above are denied as procedurally
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Reid contends that his trial counsel provided ineffective
assistance by failing to investigate and present evidence of
Reid’s erectile dysfunction and by failing to challenge juror
Carla Smith as biased.
The Warden moves for summary judgment on
both claims, arguing that the state court correctly rejected
Evidence of Erectile Dysfunction
Reid claims that his trial counsel provided
constitutionally deficient representation by failing to
investigate Reid’s erectile dysfunction and to present the
testimony of his physicians on that issue.
Reid raised the
issue in his motion to vacate his conviction and for a new
The Warden contends that the state court properly
rejected Reid’s claim.
In response, Reid argues only that his
trial counsel should have introduced evidence of his erectile
dysfunction but does not address the state court’s decision on
Reid’s trial attorney testified at the hearing on Reid’s
motion for a new trial that Reid’s wife told the attorney that
Reid had had erectile dysfunction for ten years and provided
releases that allowed the attorney to obtain Reid’s medical
records, which confirmed erectile dysfunction in 2007 and 2008.
The records for 2003 and 2004 when the alleged assaults occurred
could not be located.
In the decision denying Reid’s motion, the court noted that
E.B. had testified “in substance that the defendant had an
erection during the sexual assaults.”
The court concluded,
based on a review of the medical records, that Reid would not be
able to show that he was prejudiced by his attorney’s failure to
introduce the medical evidence of erectile dysfunction.
court noted that the records showed that Reid had “infrequent
Evidence of infrequent erections, the court found,
would not necessarily contradict E.B.’s testimony.
In addition, the court noted that Reid’s attorney had
raised an issue about Reid’s mental competence to stand trial.5
The court found that the medical records showed that during the
time before trial, when Reid claimed to be incompetent, he was
amply able to communicate with his medical care providers.
court stated that if the medical evidence of erectile
dysfunction had been introduced the court would have found that
Reid was perpetrating a fraud on the court in pretending to be
incompetent and would have introduced that evidence to the jury
to show Reid’s consciousness of guilt.
The court concluded that
evidence of Reid’s erectile dysfunction and his attorney’s
Although Reid argues in his objection to summary judgment
that he was incompetent to stand trial and that his conviction
should be overturned on that basis, he did not raise a claim of
incompetence in his § 2254 petition. Therefore, that issue is
not considered in support of his petition. Further, Reid
provides no evidence to undermine the state court’s finding that
“[i]t would have devastated the defendant’s case if the jury
learned that he was dancing at a wedding and discussing his
frustrations over erectile dysfunction with his physicians,
while at the same time faking incompetence in court.”
failure to introduce the evidence did not undermine confidence
in the outcome of the case.
Reid provides no argument that the state court’s decision
was contrary to or an unreasonable application of federal law.
The state court analyzed Reid’s claim under the standard for
ineffective assistance of counsel provided by Strictland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), as that standard has been
applied by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
Reid also provides
no proof, much less clear and convincing proof, that the state
court’s factual determinations were unreasonable.
the warden is entitled to summary judgment on Reid’s claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel based on a failure to present
evidence of his erectile dysfunction.
Failure to Challenge Carla Smith as a Juror
Reid asserts that his trial attorney provided
constitutionally deficient representation by failing to
challenge Smith as biased.
The state habeas court found that
Reid had not proven that Smith was biased against him and
explained why Smith’s expressed concern about her feelings for
children did not show that she was biased against Reid.
court also explained that the additional information obtained by
investigations conducted after the trial confirmed that Smith
was not biased.
Based on the factual finding that Smith was not
biased, the court concluded that Reid could not show that his
trial attorney provided deficient representation in not
In his objection to summary judgment, Reid argues that
Smith was biased based on his own interpretation of the
evidence, which is contrary to the state court’s finding.
succeed, Reid must show with clear and convincing evidence that
the state court’s finding was an unreasonable determination of
He makes no such showing.
Instead, the evidence
supports the state court’s finding that Smith was not biased.
Reid has not shown that the state habeas court’s decision
was contrary to or an unreasonable application of federal law or
that the court’s factual finding was an unreasonable
determination of the facts.
Therefore, the Warden is entitled
to summary judgment on Reid’s claim of ineffective assistance of
counsel based on a failure to challenge Juror Smith.
For the foregoing reasons, the Warden’s motion for summary
judgment (document no. 12) is granted.
All claims in the
amended petition are resolved in favor of the Warden.
The court declines to issue a certificate of appealability
as the petitioner has failed to make a substantial showing of
the denial of a constitutional right.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c).
The clerk of court shall enter judgment accordingly and
close the case.
Joseph DiClerico, Jr.
United States District Judge
February 22, 2017
Sven D. Wiberg, Esq.
Elizabeth C. Woodcock, Esq.
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