Williams v. Director, TDCJ-CID
ORDER OF DISMISSAL ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS for 17 Report and Recommendations. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED and the case is DISMISSED with prejudice. A certificate of appealability is DENIED. All motions not previously ruled on are hereby DENIED. Signed by Judge Richard A. Schell on 9/27/2017. (daj, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
REGGIE ORLANDO WILLIAMS
CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:14cv429
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
The above-entitled and numbered civil action was referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Kimberly C. Priest Johnson, who issued a Report and Recommendation concluding that the Petition
for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 should be denied. Both parties filed
Petitioner challenges convictions for aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual assault of
a child and indecency with a child. Petitioner asserts the following grounds for review: (1) the
prosecutor improperly vouched for the credibility of Complainant; (2) there was insufficient
evidence to support the convictions; (3) Petitioner received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial;
and (4) Petitioner received ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal. After analyzing each ground
for review, the Magistrate Judge concluded each ground for review was without merit.
The objections filed by Petitioner only address the Magistrate Judge’s conclusions regarding
his first three grounds for review. In his first ground for review, Petitioner, citing two statements
made during closing arguments, asserts the prosecutor improperly vouched for the credibility of
Complainant. The Magistrate Judge concluded the prosecutor’s statements constituted permissible
summation of the evidence and suggestions as to the proper deductions to be drawn from the
evidence, rather than improper vouching.
In his objections, Petitioner makes no reference to the statements made by the prosecutor during
closing arguments. Instead, noting that Complainant made no outcry until after she was incarcerated
in the Dallas County Jail, Petitioner asserts the prosecutor and an investigator for Child Protective
Services improperly pressured Complainant into making a statement against Petitioner in return for
Petitioner did not assert this claim in his state application for writ of habeas corpus. The
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals applies its abuse of the writ doctrine regularly and strictly. Emery
v. Johnson, 139 F.3d 191, 195 (5th Cir. 1997). The doctrine can therefore be relied upon as an
adequate and independent state ground for dismissal, forming the basis for application of the
procedural default doctrine.1 Id. Accordingly, if Petitioner attempted to raise this claim in a second
state application, the Court of Criminal Appeals would dismiss such an application as an abuse of
the writ. As Petitioner has not shown cause or prejudice for failing to present this claim in his initial
state application, or that a fundamental miscarriage of justice would result if this Court did not
consider the claim, consideration of this claim is procedurally barred.2 In addition, Petitioner has
submitted no evidence that anyone improperly pressured Complainant into giving a statement
against Petitioner in return for lenient treatment. Accordingly, there is no evidence that either the
prosecutor or an investigator acted improperly.
In his second ground for review, Petitioner contends there was insufficient evidence to
support the conviction. He argues no evidence was offered to corroborate Complainant’s testimony
and states there was no evidence indicating Complainant spoke to anyone about the alleged assaults.
The Magistrate Judge, after setting forth the elements of the offenses for which Petitioner was
convicted, concluded the testimony of Complainant was sufficient to meet the standard set forth in
Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979), for sufficiency of the evidence.
In his objections, Petitioner merely restates the arguments made in his petition. Based on the
testimony described by the Magistrate Judge, the Court agrees that the testimony of Complainant,
standing alone, was sufficient to permit a rational trier of fact to find the essential elements of the
If a state court would dismiss a claim based on an independent and adequate ground for dismissal, a
federal habeas petitioner has procedurally defaulted the claim. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 829 (1991).
A procedural bar may be overcome by demonstrating cause and prejudice for the default or establishing
that a fundamental miscarriage of justice would result from the court’s refusal to consider the claim. Coleman, 501
U.S. at 749-50.
offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. See Jackson, 443 U.S. at 307.
In his third ground for review, Petitioner asserts that even though counsel was aware of
Petitioner’s “severe mental” condition, counsel failed to consider whether Petitioner could be held
responsible for his actions and whether he was competent to stand trial. Based on the lack of
evidence in the record regarding petitioner’s mental condition, the Magistrate Judge concluded
that counsel’s failure to pursue an insanity defense or attempt to have Petitioner found
incompetent to stand trial did not cause Petitioner to suffer prejudice.
In his objections, Petitioner restates the arguments made in his petition. He also submits
documentation indicating that in 2007 he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Further, in 2006,
Petitioner was treated with antidepressants. However, Petitioner’s indictment was based on events
that allegedly occurred in September, 2008. There is no evidence in the record demonstrating
Petitioner was mentally incompetent either in September, 2008, or at the time of trial. In the
absence of such evidence, the Court agrees that counsel’s failure to pursue an insanity defense, or
attempt to have Petitioner found mentally incompetent to stand trial, did not cause Petitioner to
suffer prejudice because there is not a reasonable probability either course of action would have
In her objections, Respondent complains the Magistrate Judge failed to address her
contention that the petition was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. However, in light
of her recommendation that the petition be denied on the merits, there was no need for the
Magistrate Judge to also consider the defense of limitations.
The Report of the Magistrate Judge, which contains her proposed findings of fact and
recommendations for the disposition of such action, has been presented for consideration, and
having made a de novo review of the objections raised by the parties, the Court is of the opinion
that the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are correct and the objections are
without merit. Therefore, the Court hereby adopts the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate
Judge as the findings and conclusions of the Court.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED and
the case is DISMISSED with prejudice. A certificate of appealability is DENIED. All motions not
previously ruled on are hereby DENIED.
SIGNED this the 27th day of September, 2017.
RICHARD A. SCHELL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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