Jenkins v. Hutchinson, No. 99-6345

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtAppeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Walter E. Black, Jr.; Before WIDENER, WILKINS, and WILLIAMS; WILKINS
Citation221 F.3d 679
Parties(4th Cir. 2000) TYRONE JENKINS, Petitioner-Appellee, v. RONALD HUTCHINSON, Warden of Maryland House of Correction; ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondents-Appellants. () Argued:
Decision Date07 June 2000
Docket NumberNo. 99-6345,CA-93-3644-B

Page 679

221 F.3d 679 (4th Cir. 2000)
TYRONE JENKINS, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
RONALD HUTCHINSON, Warden of Maryland House of Correction; ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondents-Appellants.
No. 99-6345 (CA-93-3644-B)
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
Argued: June 7, 2000
Decided: July 31, 2000

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Walter E. Black, Jr., Senior District Judge.

Page 680

COUNSEL ARGUED: Mary Ann Rapp Ince, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Appeals Division, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellants. Mark Lawrence Gitomer, THE LAW OFFICE

Page 681

OF MARK GITOMER, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Attorney General of Maryland, Criminal Appeals Division, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellants.

Before WIDENER, WILKINS, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Wilkins wrote the opinion, in which Judge Widener and Judge Williams joined.

OPINION

WILKINS, Circuit Judge:

Tyrone Jenkins filed this petition for habeas corpus relief from his Maryland convictions for robbery with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to murder, and related weapons offenses. See 28 U.S.C.A. § 2254 (West 1994).1 The district court, having found that advisory instructions given at Jenkins' trial violated his right to due process, granted the writ, and the State2 appeals. Because we conclude that there is no bar to our consideration of the merits of Jenkins' claim and that the jury instructions were unconstitutional, we affirm.

I.

Jenkins was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland on August 14, 1975 and was sentenced to a term of 35 years, to be served consecutive to a prior sentence for a 1972 conviction. In accordance with a provision of the Maryland Constitution, the trial court had instructed the jury that in a criminal trial, the jury was the judge of the law as well as the facts.3 Before giving specific instructions, the trial court began by explaining to the jury that it is the Court's function to give to you certain advisory instructions with reference to this matter. You will note that I use the word "advisory" and I do so intentionally in that in this case, as is true in all criminal cases in Maryland, it is the function of the jury to be the sole judges of both the facts and the law. That is to say, it is up to you, the jury, solely, to determine what the factual situation was and then to apply to that factual situation what you find the law to be.

Accordingly, anything the Court says to you with reference both to the facts and the law is done so in an advisory capacity only.

J.A. 28 (emphasis added). After this preliminary explanation regarding the advisory nature of its instructions, the court then prefaced every instruction by reminding the jury that its instructions on the law were advisory only. In particular, with respect to the burden of proof, the court stated:

Further, the Court says to you, in an advisory capacity, that the burden of proof, which rests on the State, . . . is that the Defendants must be found guilty at your hands only after you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty of the guilt of the Defendants, or either of them, of any or all of the charges brought against the Defendants.

Id. at 29 (emphasis added). Jenkins did not object to the advisory nature of the instructions at trial or on appeal.

Page 682

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed Jenkins' convictions, and the Maryland Court of Appeals denied Jenkins' petition for a writ of certiorari on July 25, 1976. Thereafter, Jenkins filed numerous petitions in state court seeking habeas corpus and post-conviction relief, all of which were denied.

Jenkins claims that he raised a challenge to the advisory jury instructions in his fifth petition for post-conviction relief. Although state court docket entries do not reflect the filing of a fifth postconviction petition, and the State did not receive a copy of such a petition when it requested documents from the clerk of court, the state court, in its order denying Jenkins' fifth habeas petition, indicated that it was also addressing a "fifth petition for post conviction relief." Id. at 237. Responding to an issue it identified as"The trial Judge erroneously instructed the jury in an advisory capacity," id. at 239, the ruling by the state court on the claim, in its entirety, was as follows:

Under the almost unique Maryland Constitutional provision, Article 23 of the Declaration of Rights, any instructions in criminal cases on the law which the court may give are purely advisory and the court must so inform the jury. Schanker v. State, 208 Md. 15, 116 A.2d 363 (1955); Dillon v. State, 277 Md. 571, 357 A.2d 360 (1976). Therefore this contention is without merit.

Id. at 239-40.

Jenkins subsequently filed this habeas action in federal court. Jenkins argued, inter alia, that the advisory nature of the reasonable doubt instruction relieved the State of its burden to prove every element of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt, thereby violating his right to due process.4See In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 364 (1970). The district court denied relief as to all claims except the advisory jury instructions issue. The State now appeals,5 arguing that Jenkins' claim is procedurally defaulted; that if not defaulted, Jenkins' claim is subject to the "new rule" doctrine of Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989); and that even if Jenkins' claim is not defaulted or Teague-barred, controlling precedent of this circuit mandates reversal.

II.

A.

The State argues that Jenkins defaulted this claim by failing to object to the advisory nature of the jury instructions at trial or on direct appeal. See State v. Rose, 691 A.2d 1314, 1316-20 (Md. 1997) (holding that failure to object to reasonable doubt instruction at trial and failure to raise issue on appeal resulted in waiver of issue in collateral proceedings). Absent cause and prejudice or a miscarriage of justice, a federal habeas court may not review constitutional claims when a state court has declined to consider their merits on the basis of an adequate and independent state procedural rule. See Harris v. Reed, 489 U.S. 255, 262 (1989). In its response to Jenkins' fifth petition for post-conviction review, however, the state court

Page 683

did not rule that Jenkins' challenge to the jury instructions was waived, but rather addressed the claim on the merits. Jenkins' claim is therefore not defaulted. See Caldwell v. Mississippi, 472 U.S. 320, 327 (1985) (explaining that in order to preclude federal review, "the state court must actually have relied on the procedural bar as an independent basis for its disposition of the case").

B.

The State also argues that a holding that the advisory reasonable doubt instruction violated the Due Process Clause would constitute a "new rule" that cannot be applied retroactively to cases pending on collateral review. See Teague, 489 U.S. at 299-310 (plurality opinion); see also Caspari v. Bohlen, 510 U.S. 383, 389 (1994) (stating that the Teague inquiry is a "threshold question in every habeas case" in which it is argued by the State). The Teague inquiry involves three steps. See O'Dell v. Netherland, 521 U.S. 151, 156-57 (1997). First, we must determine the date on which Jenkins' convictions became final. Second, we must determine whether "a state court considering [Jenkins'] claim at the time his conviction[s] became final would have felt compelled by existing precedent" to conclude that the Constitution mandates a holding in his favor; if not, then the rule he seeks is a new one. Id. at 156 (internal quotation marks omitted); see Gilmore v. Taylor, 508 U.S. 333, 340 (1993) (stating that "put meaningfully for the majority of cases, a decision announces a new rule if the result was not dictated by precedent existing at the time the defendant's conviction became final" (internal quotation marks omitted)); Butler v. McKellar, 494 U.S. 407, 415 (1990) (characterizing a new rule as one that is "susceptible to debate among reasonable minds"). If we determine that the rule is new, the final step is to determine if the rule "falls within one of the two narrow exceptions to the Teague doctrine." O'Dell, 521 U.S. at 156-57.

Jenkins' convictions became final in October 1976.6 Thus, the relevant inquiry for Teague purposes is whether a holding in favor of Jenkins was dictated by precedent existing in October 1976. Jenkins would have us hold that by informing the jury that its reasonable doubt instruction was advisory, the trial court effectively relieved the State of its burden to prove all of the elements of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the question for purposes of the Teague analysis is whether such a holding was dictated by existing precedent in October 1976. We conclude...

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15 practice notes
  • Bodeau v. State, No. 1365, Sept. Term, 2019
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 1, 2020
    ...instruction similar to the instruction given at Bodeau's 1971 trial violated constitutional due process. See Jenkins v. Hutchinson , 221 F.3d 679 (4th Cir. 2000). According to the State, this put Bodeau "on notice ... of his potential cause of action to challenge the 1971 conviction." A det......
  • State v. Adams, No. 617 September Term, 2005.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • December 5, 2006
    ...be regarded as non-binding." Stevenson, 289 Md. at 180, 423 A.2d at 565. Finally, the Petitioner seeks reliance on Jenkins v. Hutchinson, 221 F.3d 679 (4th Cir.2000) as additional support for its position. In Jenkins, the Fourth Circuit held an advisory reasonable doubt instruction given pu......
  • Conaway v. Polk, No. 04-20.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • July 11, 2006
    ...resolution does not "clearly" rest on independent procedural bar if "interwoven" with federal claim); see also Jenkins v. Hutchinson, 221 F.3d 679, 682-83 (4th In asserting that Conaway procedurally defaulted, the State misconstrues the MAR Court's decision in MAR I, as well as the governin......
  • Unger v. State, No. 111
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • May 24, 2012
    ...and Montgomery decisions, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a habeas corpus case, Jenkins v. Hutchinson, 221 F.3d 679 (4th Cir. 2000), held that the state trial judge at Jenkins's criminal trial, by telling the jury that all of the judge's instructions were adviso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Bodeau v. State, No. 1365, Sept. Term, 2019
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • October 1, 2020
    ...instruction similar to the instruction given at Bodeau's 1971 trial violated constitutional due process. See Jenkins v. Hutchinson , 221 F.3d 679 (4th Cir. 2000). According to the State, this put Bodeau "on notice ... of his potential cause of action to challenge the 1971 conviction." A det......
  • State v. Adams, No. 617 September Term, 2005.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • December 5, 2006
    ...be regarded as non-binding." Stevenson, 289 Md. at 180, 423 A.2d at 565. Finally, the Petitioner seeks reliance on Jenkins v. Hutchinson, 221 F.3d 679 (4th Cir.2000) as additional support for its position. In Jenkins, the Fourth Circuit held an advisory reasonable doubt instruction given pu......
  • Conaway v. Polk, No. 04-20.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • July 11, 2006
    ...resolution does not "clearly" rest on independent procedural bar if "interwoven" with federal claim); see also Jenkins v. Hutchinson, 221 F.3d 679, 682-83 (4th In asserting that Conaway procedurally defaulted, the State misconstrues the MAR Court's decision in MAR I, as well as the governin......
  • Unger v. State, No. 111
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • May 24, 2012
    ...and Montgomery decisions, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a habeas corpus case, Jenkins v. Hutchinson, 221 F.3d 679 (4th Cir. 2000), held that the state trial judge at Jenkins's criminal trial, by telling the jury that all of the judge's instructions were adviso......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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