Goodrum v. Settles, 1:18-cv-0007

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
PartiesMICHAEL GOODRUM, Petitioner, v. DARREN SETTLES, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 1:18-cv-0007,1:18-cv-0007
Decision Date02 May 2019


No. 1:18-cv-0007


May 2, 2019



Michael Goodrum, an inmate of the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, Tennessee, filed a pro se, in forma pauperis petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his conviction in the Criminal Court of Maury County of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park, a Class B felony, and possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a public school, a Class A felony. Petitioner is serving a term of imprisonment of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction for these offenses. (Doc. No. 1).

Pending before the Court is the Warden's response to the habeas petition in which he asks the Court to dismiss the petition. (Doc. No. 11).

The petition is ripe for review, and this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241(d). Having fully considered the record, the Court finds that an evidentiary hearing is not needed, and Petitioner is not entitled to relief. The petition therefore will be denied and this action will be dismissed.

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II. Procedural History

Petitioner's first trial ended in a hung jury. In 2012, after a second jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of one count of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park, a Class B felony, and one count of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a public school, a Class A felony. State v. Goodrum, No. M2012-02066-CCA-R3-CD, 2014 WL 1102011 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 20, 2014), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 29, 2014). The trial court merged the two counts into one conviction and sentenced Petitioner to fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Id.

On direct appeal, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction and sentence on March 20, 2014. Id. The Tennessee Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for discretionary review on April 20, 2014. Id.

On August 24, 2015, Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for state post-conviction relief. (Doc. No. 10, Attach. 13 at 13). Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. (Id. at 61). Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal, and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. Goodrum v. State, No. M2016-00684-CCA-R3-PC, 2017 WL 3149646 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jul. 25, 2017), perm. app denied (Tenn. Nov. 16, 2017). The Tennessee Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for discretionary review on November 16, 2017. Id.

On January 19, 2018,1 Petitioner filed the instant pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. No. 1 at 42). In his petition, Petitioner asserts five claims for relief: (1) the trial court erred

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by excusing Angela Grimes as a potential juror in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986); (2) the trial court erred by allowing Petitioner's case to be presented to the jury; (3) the evidence is legally insufficient to support Petitioner's conviction; (4) Petitioner received ineffective assistance of counsel; and (5) Tennessee's drug-free school zone law is unconstitutional.

III. Summary of the Evidence

A. Trial Proceedings

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals summarized the proof adduced at Petitioner's jury trial as follows:

Officer Jason Dark testified that he has been employed with the Columbia Police Department for the past fourteen years, and specifically in the Narcotics and Vice Division for five years. On July 9, 2008, he was in charge of executing a search warrant at 504 East 9th Street, a residence in Columbia, Tennessee. Raven Fleming and Gary Fleming were named in the search warrant. Officer Dark stated that he and his partner had previously used a confidential informant to conduct a controlled purchase of crack cocaine from this residence. He said the Defendant was not known to the police prior to the execution of the search warrant. After the search took place, the names Raven Fleming, Robert Fitzgerald, and Michael Goodrum were added to the search warrant as individuals to be charged. The search warrant was entered into evidence.

Officer Dark identified a layout of the residence that was prepared by the police after the search. The diagram depicted the living room as the first room upon entering the front door at 504 East 9th Street. On the diagram, Officer Dark drew a couch to the left of the front door. Directly in front of the door, Officer Dark saw a loveseat, which he also marked on the diagram. He marked the location of where the Defendant was secured, between the front door and the loveseat. There was a kitchen directly beyond the living room. The diagram was entered into evidence.

Officer Dark said that when he and his team arrived at the Flemings' residence to execute the search warrant, Trammell Jennings, a known drug dealer, was in the front yard. Jennings saw the police and fled from the scene on foot. Due to this compromise, five or six officers quickly entered the residence through the front door. Upon entry, the officers identified themselves as police and told everyone inside to get on the ground and show their hands. Officers secured the scene and Sergeant Haywood advised the persons inside of their Miranda rights. When Officer Dark entered the residence, he saw the Defendant lying on the living room

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floor "just beyond the front door." He also saw Raven Fleming in the living room with the Defendant. Ms. Fleming was lying on the floor in front of the couch. A person named Gary Brown was in the area beyond Ms. Fleming and the Defendant. Robert Fitzgerald, a known drug dealer, was found in the kitchen.

Officer Dark testified that when he first saw the Defendant, Sergeant Haywood was securing him. Officer Dark was preparing the residence for a search when Sergeant Haywood called him over to the area of the Defendant. Officer Dark observed the Defendant on his side and a bag of crack cocaine underneath the chest area where he had been lying. Officer Dark said that Sergeant Haywood searched the Defendant and did not find a crack pipe or anything else for smoking crack cocaine. To Officer Dark's knowledge, the Defendant did not have anything on his person such as a weapon, scales, a cell phone, or substantial currency.

During the execution of the search, the police found a bag of marijuana behind the couch, Xanax pills in Ms. Fleming's bedroom closet, and ecstasy pills on the kitchen counter near where Mr. Fitzgerald was secured. The police also found a crack pipe on Mr. Brown's person, but no drugs. A total of $291 was seized from Ms. Fleming. According to Officer Dark, Ms. Fleming was subsequently charged with possession of marijuana and the Xanax pills; Mr. Fitzgerald was charged with possession of the ecstasy pills; Mr. Brown was charged with possession of the crack pipe; and the Defendant was charged in the case sub judice. Officer Dark testified that the bag found beneath the Defendant was secured as evidence and sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Crime Laboratory for testing. He said the TBI analysis determined the substance to be crack cocaine in the amount of 1.7 grams.

Officer Dark estimated that, throughout his career, he has arrested hundreds of crack cocaine users and close to one hundred people for selling crack cocaine. He typically did not find crack pipes on people arrested for selling crack cocaine. Of the individuals Officer Dark has arrested for using crack cocaine, nearly 100 percent of them had crack pipes. He said that in 2008, the street value of crack cocaine in Maury County was $20 for "crack rocks" at the user level. He was familiar with this figure through his experience as a narcotics investigator and through the use of informants for controlled purchases. Officer Dark said that $20 crack rocks usually weighed .1 grams. He stated that a high-end user might spend $100 for a gram of crack cocaine, but "[o]nce you start getting above a gram, it's usually a dealer buying from a dealer." Of the hundreds of arrests he has made for crack cocaine use, he said that a user would typically be found with a $20 rock, but usually no more than two rocks. In his experience, users do not "save up" crack cocaine for future use. Officer Dark testified that he has viewed videotaped transactions where dealers have sold crack rocks from a larger bag of crack without the use of scales or additional bags and that generally, "it's a quick hand-to-hand transaction." He said that the 1.7 grams of crack cocaine secured from beneath the Defendant's chest would have been the equivalent of 17 crack rocks at a street value of $20 each.

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In the course of his investigation, Officer Dark determined that 504 East 9th Street was located within a 1,000 feet radius of both Frierson-Johnson Park and College Hill School. After accessing a computer program used by the city of Columbia in its planning, Officer Dark found the distance between 504 East 9th Street and Frierson-Johnson Park to be 572 feet. He also determined the distance between the residence and College Hill School to be 872 feet. He made his measurements from the front door of the residence to the edge of the property line of the park and the school. Officer Dark personally tested the accuracy of the computer program by using a counter wheel to measure two different points and found the physical and the computer-generated measurements to be exact. He also calibrated the counter wheel with a tape measure. In his fourteen years employed with the Columbia Police Department, Officer Dark testified that sixty-five to seventy percent of his time was spent covering the vicinity of 504 East 9th Street. He identified an aerial map of the area and marked the residence,

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