641 F.3d 96 (5th Cir. 2011), 09-30807, Wilson v. Cain

Docket Nº:09-30807.
Citation:641 F.3d 96
Opinion Judge:GARWOOD, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:Craig WILSON, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Burl CAIN, Warden, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Respondent-Appellee.
Attorney:Craig Wilson, Angola, LA, pro se. Kathryn W. Landry, Ieyoub & Landry, L.L.C., Baton Rouge, LA, for Respondent-Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before GARWOOD, ELROD and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 11, 2011
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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641 F.3d 96 (5th Cir. 2011)

Craig WILSON, Petitioner-Appellant,


Burl CAIN, Warden, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 09-30807.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

May 11, 2011

Page 97

Craig Wilson, Angola, LA, pro se.

Kathryn W. Landry, Ieyoub & Landry, L.L.C., Baton Rouge, LA, for Respondent-Appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before GARWOOD, ELROD and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges.

GARWOOD, Circuit Judge:

Craig Wilson, a Louisiana state prisoner incarcerated at that state's Washington Correctional Institution (WCI), was convicted by a jury in Louisiana state court in

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December 1998 of the offense of attempted manslaughter for an attack on another inmate there, Ronald Edwards, and was sentenced to a forty-year term of imprisonment. Wilson applied for state habeas relief on various theories, including violation of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966), but his writ was denied by the Louisiana courts. Wilson then filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), before the district court. The district court accepted the magistrate judge's recommendation to dismiss the section 2254 petition. Wilson appeals. The question presented by this case is whether the state court unreasonably applied clearly established federal law, as determined by the United States Supreme Court, in denying relief on Wilson's Miranda claim.


On April 4, 1997, the defendant, Craig Wilson, was involved in an altercation at the WCI with two other inmates there, Jason Lanier and Ronald Edwards. Two WCI Correctional Officers, Shannon Stewart and Dealis Williams, testified that they responded to a request for assistance, and upon arrival, saw that Sergeant Polkey, another correctional officer, was restraining Wilson and Lanier. Sergeant Polkey indicated to Stewart that the two inmates had been fighting.

Wilson and Lanier were each then handcuffed and taken to separate rooms where a separate " post-fight interview" of each inmate was conducted. According to Officer Stewart, this procedure was for administrative purposes, to secure the area, and to ensure the safe and orderly operation of the institution. Officer Stewart testified that Wilson was not under arrest during the interview, but rather " was just restrained for safety purposes," and stated that it was not common practice to arrest inmates for fights because they happen every day. On cross-examination, Stewart testified that Wilson was not free to go while he was being questioned about the incident during this " post-fight" interview.

Officer Stewart testified that Wilson stated during the " post-fight interview" that Lanier had " disrespected him" by masturbating another inmate near Wilson's bed, and that " [I] knocked the dude, and then stomped on him." Officer Stewart asked Wilson to clarify whom he had " stomped on," and Wilson responded: " I stomped on the other one." According to Officer Stewart, Wilson then demonstrated what he had done by jumping up and down three times, with both feet coming off the floor.

Officer Stewart testified that up to this point he had been unaware that anyone else other than Wilson and Lanier had been involved in the altercation; he thought that he was only investigating a fight between Wilson and Lanier. Stewart then went into the dorm where he discovered inmate Edwards lying on the floor, badly injured. According to a physician's testimony, as a result of his injuries, Edwards is now totally disabled; he is unable to stand up or walk, has to wear a diaper, and is unable to talk.

Wilson was charged in Louisiana state court with one count of attempted second degree murder of Edwards. Prior to his trial, Wilson moved to suppress evidence of the statements he made to the WCI Correctional Officers following the altercation, on the basis that he was not given a Miranda warning. Following a suppression hearing, at which Officers Stewart and Williams testified, the state trial court denied the motion to suppress. The court determined that the statements in question had been made during a preliminary investigative

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inquiry rather than during a custodial interrogation. As a result of the trial court's ruling on the motion to suppress, Stewart was permitted to testify at trial before the jury regarding Wilson's statements.

On December 2, 1998, the jury found Wilson guilty of the offense of attempted manslaughter of Edwards. The trial court initially imposed a twenty-year term of imprisonment, but subsequently vacated this sentence and imposed a forty-year term of imprisonment, the maximum for a multiple felony offender, upon determining that Wilson had a previous felony conviction for attempted armed robbery.

Wilson raised several issues on direct appeal to the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal, including the claim of error in denying his motion to suppress the statements made to the correctional officers, but the appellate panel affirmed his conviction and sentence. Wilson argued in this regard that he was in custody when he was questioned regarding the altercation and that he therefore should have been advised of his Miranda rights prior to the questioning. The majority opinion for the three-judge panel affirmed Wilson's conviction and sentence, determining that Wilson was not in custody for purposes of Miranda during the investigation; one judge dissented on the Miranda suppression issue. See State v. Wilson, 798 So.2d 333 (La.App. 1st Cir.2001) (unpublished). The Louisiana Supreme Court, in orders without opinion, denied Wilson's application for writ of certiorari, State v. Wilson, 824 So.2d 1188 (La.2002) (three judges would grant writ), and motion for rehearing. State v. Wilson, 847 So.2d 1258 (La.2003) (one judge dissenting).

Wilson next applied for state habeas relief, which was denied by the state trial court. The state appellate court and the Louisiana Supreme Court, each in orders without opinion or noted dissent, denied Wilson's writ applications. See Ex parte Wilson, 917 So.2d 1090 (La.2005).

Wilson then filed the instant section 2254 petition. He raised nine claims for relief, including violation of his rights under Miranda. The district court initially dismissed Wilson's section 2254 petition as time barred, but this court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded for further...

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