Jaynes v. Mitchell, C.A. NO. 03-11582-WGY

CourtUnited States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtCOLLINGS, U.S.M.J.
PartiesCHARLES JAYNES, Petitioner, v. LISA MITCHELL, Respondent.
Docket NumberC.A. NO. 03-11582-WGY
Decision Date13 January 2015

LISA MITCHELL, Respondent.

C.A. NO. 03-11582-WGY


January 13, 2015




Charles Jaynes ("Jaynes" or "petitioner"), through counsel, petitions for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A Massachusetts jury convicted Jaynes on December 11, 1998 of the second-degree murder and kidnapping of ten-year-old Jeffrey Curley.

Jaynes originally filed his petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a Writ of Habeas Corpus on August 18, 2003. He filed an amended petition on December

Page 2

5, 2003, adding certain unexhausted claims, and simultaneously moved to stay habeas proceedings in order to exhaust those claims in state court. On December 29, 2003, the district court (Lasker, J.) granted the motion to stay. After pursuing relief in the Massachusetts state court, on September 26, 2010, Jaynes filed a motion to amend his habeas petition (#29), which the district court allowed on October 19, 2010. (#31-32) Jaynes filed his Amended Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. (#34) The respondent ("respondent" or "the Commonwealth"), filed its answer to amended petition (#37) on April 15, 2011, and a supplemental answer on April 18, 2011. (#39) On September 16, 2011, Jaynes filed an assented-to motion to delete certain claims as unexhausted (#43), which the Court granted on the same day. Thereafter, on October 3, 2011, Jaynes filed his memorandum of law in support of habeas petition (#45), with accompanying exhibits. (#45-1, Aff. of Jayne Lawton; #45-2, Letters from Attorney Pumphrey) On March 16, 2012, the respondent filed its memorandum of law in opposition to petition for writ of habeas corpus. (#49) On May 14, 2012, Jaynes filed his reply memorandum. (#52) On September 3, 2013, at the Court's request, the respondent filed its further supplemental answer (#53), which included the complete trial transcripts. The motion is poised for disposition.

Page 3

A. Factual Setting

The facts surrounding Jeffrey Curley's murder and kidnaping, for which Jaynes was convicted, have been set forth in the Massachusetts Appeals Court ("MAC") decision affirming Jaynes's conviction. Commonwealth v. Jaynes, 55 Mass. App. Ct. 301, 302-06, 770 N.E.2d 483 (Mass. App. Ct. 2002). The following discussion presumes familiarity with those facts. Otherwise, the Court sets out the pertinent facts where necessary in the discussion section that follows.

B. State Procedural Background

Jaynes was convicted of second degree murder and kidnaping on December 11, 1998. On July 18, 2000, Jaynes filed a motion for a new trial in state court raising claims that 1) the trial judge gave an improper instruction on involuntary manslaughter; 2) the trial judge failed to instruct the jury that the Commonwealth was required to proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the murder occurred in Massachusetts; 3) the trial judge's closure of the courtroom on several occasions violated Jayne's right to a public trial. (#39, S.A. 88-113) The trial court denied the motion for a new trial on September 14, 2000,

Page 4

declining to reach the merits of the claims because trial counsel had failed to lodge objections on these grounds. (#39, S.A. 135-136) Jaynes's direct appeal was consolidated with the appeal from the denial of the motion for a new trial. (#39, S.A. 27) On appeal to the MAC, Jaynes presented the three issues raised in the motion for new trial. (#39, S.A. 25-26) The Massachusetts Appeals Court ("MAC") affirmed the conviction, see Jaynes, 55 Mass. App. Ct. at 302, and the Supreme Judicial Court ("SJC") denied further appellate review on September 6, 2006. Commonwealth v. Jaynes, 437 Mass. 1108, 774 N.E.2d 1098 (Mass. 2002).

After filing his habeas petition in this court, and obtaining a stay of the petition, on April 18, 2008, Jaynes filed a second motion for a new trial, raising several additional claims1:1) the trial court violated Jaynes's due process rights by allowing the admission of evidence about Jaynes's sexual interest in boys; 2) the trial court's admission of testimony that Jaynes declined to talk with the police abridged Jaynes's Fifth Amendment right against compelled testimony; 3) the trial judge abused her discretion in declining to admit certain of Jaynes's co-defendant's statements; 4) certain evidence seized from Jaynes's car should

Page 5

have been suppressed; and 5) trial counsel was ineffective in several respects, including for failing, among other things, to move to suppress illegally seized evidence, and for failing to object at trial on the grounds raised in the first motion for a new trial; 6) appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise on appeal the issues presented in argument 5; 7) the combined errors committed in the case caused a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice. (#39, S.A. 486-487) The MAC affirmed the order denying the second motion for a new trial. See Commonwealth v. Jaynes, 2010 WL 2813572, 77 Mass. App. Ct. 1110, 929 N.E.2d 1001 (Mass. App. Ct. 2010) (unpublished). The SJC denied further appellate review on September 29, 2010. See Commonwealth v. Jaynes, 458 Mass. 1105, 936 N.E.2d 325 (Mass. 2010) (Table). The petitioner filed a motion for rehearing on August 2, 2010. (#42-1) The petition for rehearing was denied on August 19, 2010. (#42-2)

A. Overview of Claims

After having voluntarily deleted certain unexhausted claims, Jaynes asserts the following claims in his amended petition: 1) the trial court improperly instructed the jury on involuntary manslaughter, effectively shifting

Page 6

the burden of proof to the defendant in violation of petitioner's due process rights; 2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on jurisdiction, thereby abridging the petitioner's right to a jury determination on each element of the offense; 3) the trial court violated Jaynes's right to a public trial by closing the courtroom during jury selection; 4) trial counsel's multiple errors created a cumulative effect resulting in ineffective assistance;2 5) the trial court abridged petitioner's rights to due process and a fair trial by permitting the introduction of inflammatory evidence; 6) the trial court abridged Jaynes's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination by allowing the admission of testimony that Jaynes had declined to speak with police; 7) the trial court's decision to exclude certain of Jaynes's co-defendant's statements violated Jaynes's rights to due process, to present a defense and to confront witnesses against him; and 8) appellate counsel was constitutionally deficient in several respects. (#45)

The Court considers these claims below.

B. Standard of Review

Page 7

"[A] federal court may not issue a habeas petition 'with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings' unless the state court decision: 1) 'was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States' or 2) 'was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.'" McCambridge v. Hall, 303 F.3d 24, 34 (1st Cir. 2002) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) (Supp. II 1996)). A decision is "contrary to" clearly established federal law "if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme Court] on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than [the Supreme Court] has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts." Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-413, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 1523 (2000). A decision represents an "unreasonable application" of clearly established federal law "if the state court identifies the correct governing principle from [the Supreme Court's] decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case." Id. at 413. An "unreasonable application" requires "some increment of incorrectness beyond error. . . . The increment need not necessarily be great, but it must be great enough to make the decision

Page 8

unreasonable in the independent and objective judgment of the federal court." McCambridge, 303 F.3d at 36 (internal quotations and citation omitted). The Supreme Court has explained that

[t]his distinction creates a substantially higher threshold for obtaining relief than de novo review. AEDPA thus imposes a highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, and demands that state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.

Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773, 130 S. Ct. 1855, 1862 (2010) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted) (footnote omitted). Furthermore,

[w]hen assessing whether a state court's application of federal law is unreasonable, 'the range of reasonable judgment can depend in part on the nature of the relevant rule' that the state court must apply. Because AEDPA authorizes federal courts to grant relief only when state courts act unreasonably, it follows that '[t]he more general the rule' at issue—and thus the greater the potential for reasoned disagreement among fair-minded judges—'the more leeway [state] courts have in reaching outcomes in case-by-case determinations.'

Id. at 776 (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664, 124 S. Ct. 2140 (2004) (second and third alterations in original). See also, Knowles v. Mirzayance, 556 U.S. 111, 123, 129 S.Ct. 1411, 1420 (2009) (where the federal

Page 9

standard is general, "a state court has even more latitude to reasonably determine that a defendant has not satisfied that standard").

C. Analysis of Claims
Improper Instruction of Involuntary Manslaughter

Jaynes contends that the trial court's instruction on involuntary manslaughter improperly shifted the burden of proof in contravention of the constitutional...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT