147 F.3d 307 (4th Cir. 1998), 97-22, Brown v. French

Docket Nº:97-22.
Citation:147 F.3d 307
Party Name:David Junior BROWN, Petitioner-Appellant, v. James B. FRENCH, Warden, Central Prison, Raleigh, North Carolina, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:June 10, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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Page 307

147 F.3d 307 (4th Cir. 1998)

David Junior BROWN, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

James B. FRENCH, Warden, Central Prison, Raleigh, North

Carolina, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 97-22.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

June 10, 1998

Argued March 5, 1998.

Page 308

ARGUED: Bruce Tracy Cunningham, Jr., Cunningham, Dedmond, Petersen & Smith, L.L.P., Southern Pines, North Carolina; Henderson Hill, Ferguson, Stein, Wallas, Adkins, Gresham & Sumter, P.A., Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellant. Barry Steven McNeill, Special Deputy Attorney General, North Carolina Department of Justice, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Michael F. Easley, Attorney General of North Carolina, North Carolina Department of Justice, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Page 309

Before MURNAGHAN and ERVIN, Circuit Judges, and MOON, United States District Judge for the Western District of Virginia, sitting by designation.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge ERVIN wrote the opinion, in which Judge MURNAGHAN and Judge MOON joined.

ERVIN, Circuit Judge:

David Junior Brown appeals the district court's denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Brown raises three issues on appeal. First, Brown argues that the prosecutor's failure to disclose allegedly material, exculpatory information violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, as interpreted in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). Second, Brown argues that the cumulative effect of prosecutorial misconduct during his trial deprived him of his Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel. Finally, Brown argues that his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when the trial court allowed the admission, during the penalty phase, of Brown's purported confession to his cellmate when the State previously had not introduced this testimony at the guilt phase of the trial. Finding none of the claims meritorious, we affirm.

I.

David Brown worked as a chef in a hotel in Pinehurst, North Carolina. On the evening of Sunday, August 24, 1980, Brown was the disc jockey for a party at which he consumed a substantial amount of alcohol and took at least five amphetamines. Brown had a distinctive silver ring which he wore to this party, although he avers that he took it off while playing records about one-half hour after arriving at the party.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday evening, Brown and a group of people left the party and went to a nightclub. Police officers later observed Brown walking on the highway near the nightclub at approximately 2:10 a.m. (now Monday morning). Brown was walking barefoot, staggering, and carrying his shoes. The police officers gave him a ride to his workplace, the Pinehurst Hotel, and left him at the kitchen entrance at approximately 2:45 a.m. A supervisor at the hotel saw Brown making a phone call from the hotel's front office between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. and Brown left the hotel at approximately 3:00 a.m. Brown testified that he arrived back at the hotel at 6:00 a.m., although no one can independently corroborate his whereabouts until approximately 7:00 a.m. A co-worker testified that she saw Brown at work at 7:00 a.m. with two band-aids on his left thumb, and that Brown was not wearing his distinctive silver ring. Brown told his co-worker that he was in pain and that he had cut his hand. A nurse at a nearby hospital testified that she saw Brown at the hospital on Monday night at 11:00 p.m., at which time he was recovering from surgery to repair cut tendons in his left hand.

The victims in this case were Shelly Diane Chalflinch, twenty-six, and her nine-year-old daughter, Christina. They lived in the same apartment complex as Brown, the Married Quarters Apartments in Pinehurst. At trial, the evidence showed that Diane Chalflinch was last seen alive at approximately 1:00 a.m., early Monday morning, walking toward the apartment complex's laundry room. Brown developed testimony at an evidentiary hearing below that suggested Chalflinch may have been seen as late as 5:00 a.m. Chalflinch did not go to work on Monday morning and did not phone to explain her absence. Co-workers went to her apartment and knocked but heard no response. When Chalflinch did not arrive at work again on Tuesday morning, her co-workers phoned the police.

Police discovered a gruesome scene when they entered the Chalflinches' apartment on Tuesday morning. Both Diane and Christina had been repeatedly stabbed to death. Diane Chalflinch had approximately 100 stab and cut wounds. Christina's body also bore multiple stab wounds, including several in the head, and a brown electrical cord was wrapped around her neck. Blood was on the floor and the walls.

Several pieces of physical evidence connected Brown to the murders. Luminol and phenolphthalein tests, used to determine the presence of blood undetectable to the human eye, revealed prints of bare feet in the kitchen.

Page 310

Police discovered patterns of blood outside the Chalflinches' front door, on the steps leading down from their apartment, and on the concrete pad at the foot of the steps. A fingerprint expert identified a latent palm print on Diane Chalflinch's bedroom wall as that of Brown's left palm print. At the door to Brown's apartment, visible bloodstains were found on the concrete stoop. The luminol test indicated the presence of blood on Brown's doorknob and bare footprints of blood all over his kitchen floor. There was a drop of blood on Brown's toolbox, which contained several knives, and on a pillow at the head of his bed. In the Chalflinches' apartment, police found a bloody knife blade, broken at both ends, with the inscription "R. H. Forschner" printed on it. Brown's toolbox, seized by police from his apartment, contained a collection of knives bearing the inscription "R. H. Forschner." According to the evidence developed at the federal evidentiary hearing, Forschner knives are rare, imported, professional chef's knives which Brown used in his work as a cook at the hotel. Finally, the autopsy of Diane Chalflinch revealed Brown's distinctive silver ring underneath her liver.

In December 1980, Brown was tried and...

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