549 F.2d 971 (5th Cir. 1977), 76-2146, Wright v. Estelle

Docket Nº:76-2146.
Citation:549 F.2d 971
Party Name:Archie D. WRIGHT, Petitioner-Appellant, v. W. J. ESTELLE, Jr., Director, Texas Department of Corrections, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:March 30, 1977
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 971

549 F.2d 971 (5th Cir. 1977)

Archie D. WRIGHT, Petitioner-Appellant,


W. J. ESTELLE, Jr., Director, Texas Department of

Corrections, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 76-2146.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

March 30, 1977

Page 972

John W. Jennings, Atty., Staff Counsel for Inmates, Tex. Dept. of Corr., Huntsville, Tex., for petitioner-appellant.

John L. Hill, Atty. Gen., Joe B. Dibrell, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chief, Enforcement Div., David M. Kendall, First Asst. Atty. Gen., Richel Rivers, Asst. Atty. Gen., Austin, Tex., for respondent-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Before GEWIN, GEE and FAY, Circuit Judges.

FAY, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the district court denying petitioner, Archie Wright's, application for a writ of habeas corpus. 1 The complaints presented in this application were previously presented to the state criminal court where a full evidentiary hearing was afforded petitioner and the application was denied. In this federal habeas appeal petitioner submits he had a fundamental right under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution to testify in his own behalf which could not be waived by his attorney for purposes of trial strategy.

During the trial of petitioner, a conflict arose between petitioner and one of his court-appointed attorneys as to whether petitioner should be allowed to take the stand in his own defense. This attorney testified at the state habeas hearing it was his decision and if petitioner insisted on testifying he would not represent him. He also stated that the reason he refused to allow petitioner to testify was that he was afraid petitioner would testify to a version of the facts different from the prosecution's key witness, Joe Kenneth Polk, and the defense's key witness, Robert Lee Davis, both of whom were indicted for the same crime, murder with malice, and convicted in separate proceedings. For the following reasons we affirm the judgment below.

On August 22, 1966, a robbery of the Atlantic Liquor Store, was attempted during which the owner-operator, John Brown Cooper, was shot to death. There were no eye witnesses except the perpetrators themselves. At the scene of the crime a pair of work pants belonging to Polk were found under the body of the victim. After an investigation the police...

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