Moore v. Turner
Memorandum Opinion and Order Adopting Report and Recommendation 10 denying 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (2254). Judge Christopher A. Boyko on 4/4/2018. (R,D)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
SAMMY C. MOORE, JR.,
CASE NO. 3:17CV130
JUDGE CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO, J:
This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Sammy C. Moore, Jr.’s Petition
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (ECF
#1). For the following reasons, the Court accepts and adopts the Magistrate Judge’s
Report and Recommendation and denies Petitioner’s Petition.
The following is a factual synopsis of Petitioner’s claims. The Magistrate Judge’s
Report and Recommendation, adopted and incorporated, provides a more complete and
detailed discussion of the facts.
On May 5, 2015, Petitioner was charged with one count of Aggravated Robbery.
Following a bench trial, the trial court found Petitioner guilty and sentenced him to eight
years in prison. Petitioner appealed his sentence to the Court of Appeals on August 7,
2015. On June 17, 2016, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
On August 18, 2016, Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for a Delayed
Appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. On October 26, 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court
summarily denied Petitioner’s Motion and dismissed the case.
Petitioner filed the instant Petition on January 9, 2017, asserting the following
Grounds for Relief:
GROUND ONE: The Defendant-Appellant[’]s United States Constitution
Fourteenth Amendment right was violated when the Appellate Court
affirmed the Trial Court[’]s judgment of conviction and sentence.
GROUND TWO: The Defendant-Appellant[’]s United States Constitution
Fourteenth Amendment right was violated when the State failed to present
sufficient evidence to prove every clement of the crimes charged beyond a
reasonable doubt as mandated by the ruling in Jackson v Virginia, 443
U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560.
On January 23, 2017, this Court referred Petitioner’s Petition to the Magistrate
Judge for a Report and Recommendation. The Magistrate Judge issued her Report and
Recommendation on August 16, 2017. Petitioner failed to file a timely objection and on
September 7, 2017, the Court adopted the Report and Recommendation and dismissed
the case. On September 8, 2017, Petitioner filed an Objection to the Report and
Recommendation. On September 25, 2017, Petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration and the same Objections to the Report and Recommendation. On
March 26, 2018, the Court granted Petitioner’s Motion and re-opened the case. The
Court notes that Petitioner’s grounds for relief were not properly presented to the Ohio
Supreme Court and appear to be procedurally defaulted. However, Respondent has
waived this argument. Therefore, the Court will address Petitioner’s claims on the
STANDARD OF REVIEW
When a federal habeas claim has been adjudicated by the state courts, 28
U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) provides the writ shall not issue unless the state decision “was
contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law
as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States.” Further, a federal court may
grant habeas relief if the state court arrives at a decision opposite to that reached by the
Supreme Court of the United States on a question of law, or if the state court decides a
case differently than did the Supreme Court on a set of materially indistinguishable
facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-406 (2000). The appropriate measure of
whether or not a state court decision unreasonably applied clearly established federal
law is whether that state adjudication was “objectively unreasonable” and not merely
erroneous or incorrect. Williams, 529 U.S. at 409-411.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1), findings of fact made by the state court are
presumed correct, rebuttable only by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.
McAdoo v. Elo, 365 F. 3d 487, 493-494 (6th Cir. 2004). Finally, Rule 8(b)(4) of the Rules
Governing §2254 states:
A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the
court may accept, reject, or modify in whole or in part any
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate.
In Ground One, Petitioner argues that the Court of Appeals failed to follow the
mandates of the rulings handed down by the United States Supreme Court under
Jackson v Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560. In Ground Two,
Petitioner argues that his constitutional rights were violated under Jackson. In the
Report and Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge points out that the Ohio Court of
Appeals considered the Jackson standard in its ruling.
In order to obtain habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), a petitioner
must show either that the state court decision (1) resulted in a decision contrary to, or
involving an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law as determined
by the United States Supreme Court (“contrary to” clause); 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 proceedings (“unreasonable application” clause). Id.
The Court of Appeals followed the standard in Jackson when it concluded that
after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, there was
sufficient evidence presented at trial to affirm Petitioner’s conviction. The Magistrate
Judge points out that the Court of Appeals recited the Jackson standard in its ruling. It
is clear that the Court of Appeals followed the mandates of Jackson. Therefore, the
conclusion reached by the Court of Appeals is not contrary to clearly established federal
law. The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Ground One fails on the merits.
In Ground Two, Petitioner argues that the evidence presented at trial does not
establish every element of the crime. As the Magistrate Judge states in the Report and
Recommendation, when a court reviews a claim that a petitioner’s conviction was not
supported by sufficient evidence, the court asks “whether, after viewing the evidence in
the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the
essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.” Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319.
Under this standard, deference is due the fact finder’s determination. Brown v. Konteh,
567 F.3d 191, 205 (6th Cir. 2009).
The record shows that the Court of Appeals considered Petitioner’s sufficiency
arguments and correctly concluded that Petitioner committed the theft offense. The
record shows that the Court of Appeals reviewed the evidence regarding the box cutter
as a weapon and correctly concluded the state had sufficient evidence to prove it at
trial. “A state court’s determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas
review so long as ‘fair-minded jurists could disagree’ on the correctness of the state
court’s decision.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011) (citing Yarborough v.
Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)).
Here, the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that it cannot be said that the
Ohio Court of Appeals’ decision “was so lacking in justification that there was an error
well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for
fair-minded disagreement.” See Harrington, 562 U.S. at 103. Therefore, the Court
finds that Ground Two is without merit.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court ADOPTS and ACCEPTS the Magistrate
Judge’s well-reasoned Report and Recommendation, and denies Petitioner’s Petition
Under 28 U.S.C. §2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody.
The Court finds an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. 28
U.S.C. § 1915 (a)(3). Since Petitioner has not made a substantial showing of a denial
of a constitutional right directly related to his conviction or custody, the Court declines to
issue a certificate of appealability. 28 U.S.C. § 2253 (c)(2); Fed. R. App. P. 22(b).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Christopher A. Boyko
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO
United States District Judge
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