Meek v. Martin

Citation450 F.Supp.3d 1232
Decision Date31 March 2020
Docket NumberCase No. CIV 16-543-RAW-KEW
Parties Jerry Dale MEEK, Petitioner, v. Jimmy MARTIN, Warden, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Oklahoma

James L. Hankins, Edmond, OK, for Petitioner.

Jennifer B. Miller, Office of the Attorney General, Oklahoma City, OK, for Respondent.


Ronald A. White, United States District Judge

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Dkt. 2). Petitioner is a state prisoner in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections who currently is incarcerated at North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre, Oklahoma. Represented by counsel, he is attacking his conviction in McCurtain County District Court Case No. CF-2012-311 for First Degree Murder. He sets forth the following grounds for relief:

I. The State's evidence was insufficient to convict Petitioner.
II. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to make a "goodbye note" written by the victim part of the record, failing to object to hearsay, and failing to object to an evidentiary harpoon.
III. The cumulative effect of errors deprived Petitioner of a fundamentally fair trial.

(Dkt. 9 at 2-3).

Respondent concedes that Petitioner has exhausted his state court remedies for the purpose of federal habeas corpus review. The following records have been submitted to the Court for consideration in this matter:

A. Petitioner's direct appeal brief.
B. Petitioner's motion to supplement record on appeal and for evidentiary hearing.
C. The State's brief in Petitioner's direct appeal.
D. Petitioner's reply to the State's brief.
E. Summary Opinion affirming Petitioner's judgment and sentence and denying Petitioner's motion to supplement record and for evidentiary hearing.
F. Petitioner's petition for rehearing of direct appeal.
G. Order denying rehearing.
H. Transcripts of preliminary hearing, motions hearing, jury trial, and sentencing.
I. Trial exhibits.
J. Original record.
Standard of Review

Under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, federal habeas corpus relief is proper only when the state court adjudication of a claim:

(1) resulted in a decision that 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) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The Supreme Court further explained the AEDPA standard in Harrington v. Richter , 562 U.S. 86, 131 S.Ct. 770, 178 L.Ed.2d 624 (2011) :

If this standard is difficult to meet, that is because it was meant to be. As amended by AEDPA, § 2254(d) stops short of imposing a complete bar on federal-court relitigation of claims already rejected in state proceedings. Cf. Felker v. Turpin , 518 U.S. 651, 664, 116 S.Ct. 2333, 135 L.Ed.2d 827 (1996) (discussing AEDPA's "modified res judicata rule" under § 2244). It preserves authority to issue the writ in cases where there is no possibility fairminded jurists could disagree that the state court's decision conflicts with this Court's precedents. It goes no further. Section 2254(d) reflects the view that habeas corpus is a "guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems," not a substitute for ordinary error correction through appeal. Jackson v. Virginia , 443 U.S. 307, 332, n. 5, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979) (Stevens, J., concurring in judgment). As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.

Richter , 562 U.S. at 102-03, 131 S.Ct. 770.


A review of the record shows that Shelia Walker, who was Hope Meek's mother, testified that she and Ms. Meek talked on the phone daily. (Tr. 225, 229). On the evening of Wednesday, February 20, 2002, Ms. Meek called Ms. Walker, very upset and crying. Ms. Meek told Ms. Walker that Petitioner had pushed her onto a glass-top coffee table, breaking the table and leaving pieces of glass in her back, arm, and buttocks. Ms. Meek also told said she was afraid to move away and take the children, that Petitioner would not allow her to take them, and she would not give up the children. (Tr. 231-33).

Ms. Walker encouraged Ms. Meek to leave with the children and wired $200.00 to assist her. Ms. Walker knew Ms. Meek would never leave her children. Ms. Walker advised Ms. Meek to go to the emergency room for treatment of her injuries. Ms. Meek agreed to call Ms. Walker the following day, however, this was their final conversation. (Tr. 233-235).

When Ms. Walker did not hear from Ms. Meek the next day, Thursday, February 21, 2002, she began calling Ms. Meek and Petitioner's home. Ms. Walker called numerous times, however, Petitioner did not return Ms. Walker's calls until Tuesday, February 26, 2002. Petitioner spoke with Ms. Walker's daughter, Mary Jane, and stated he had not reported to the police that Ms. Meek was missing. Ms. Meek's family urged him to report Ms. Meek's absence. Ms. Walker and her family searched for Ms. Meek in Valliant and posted flyers in Valliant and Idabel. They also created websites in an attempt to locate her. (Tr. 235-38).

When Ms. Meek remained missing for several weeks, Ms. Walker attempted to gain custody of her six-year-old granddaughter, J.K., who was not Petitioner's child. Although her attempt was unsuccessful, Ms. Walker testified she did receive visitation rights with Ms. Meek's three children, J.K., J.M., and C.M. (Tr. 238-40).

When J.K. was ten years old, she visited Ms. Walker, her grandmother, and asked about Ms. Meek and whether Ms. Walker knew where Ms. Meek was. Ms. Walker told J.K. she did not know. J.K. told Ms. Walker that the last time she saw her mother, Petitioner and her mother were fighting upstairs, and J.K. and J.M. were sent to their room. J.K. also told Ms. Walker that everything then got quiet, and she never saw her mother again. (Tr. 240-42).

Dennis James testified that in 2001, he was an officer with the Valliant, Oklahoma, Police Department. On November 9, 2001, Hope Meek came to the Police Department and reported to Officer James that Petitioner had assaulted her. Ms. Meek told him she was at dinner at Petitioner's house when he received a phone call. Ms. Meek asked him who had called, and he became angry and told her to get out. When she did not leave, Petitioner picked her up and threw her out the door onto the concrete porch. Ms. Meek reported to Officer James that she sustained scratches on her elbows and sore ribs, however, she did not want to pursue charges. (Tr. 259-61).

Ten days later, on November 19, 2001, Officer James was dispatched to Petitioner and Ms. Meek's home regarding a domestic disturbance. When Officer James questioned Ms. Meek, she said she was removing items from a cabinet when Petitioner came over and raked all the cans out of the cabinet. Petitioner also hit Ms. Meek's right ear and kicked her legs out from under her, knocking her to the floor. Ms. Meek then got up and called the police. Petitioner prepared a written statement about what had occurred, and it was admitted into evidence as State's Exhibit 4 (Dkt. 12-12 at 5-7). Again, Ms. Meek did not want to pursue charges. (Tr. 261-66).

Officer James testified he again was dispatched to the Meek residence on February 26, 2002, regarding a missing person. When he arrived, Petitioner had prepared a written statement, and the officer understood Ms. Meek had disappeared. (Tr. 265-67). In the statement, admitted into evidence as State's Exhibit 5 (Dkt. 12-12 at 8-9), Petitioner stated that Ms. Meek became angry and told Petitioner she was going to leave and start over (Dkt. 268, 273-74).

Petitioner's statement further asserted he got J.K. ready for school and took the two younger children to daycare. Petitioner next got some money from the bank, went to Wal-Mart to get some camping supplies, then returned home and took a nap. He further stated he picked up the children from daycare and drove out of town to take the them camping. After putting up the tent, the children were cold, so Petitioner broke camp and drove around. He drove to Broken Bow, Oklahoma, where he got the children some snacks at Love's. He then drove to Paris, Texas, where he bought lottery tickets before returning home around midnight. (Tr. 273-75). Petitioner told Officer James that Ms. Meek took a couple of bags of clothes but left her truck, her purse, her cell phone, and her keys at their residence. (Tr. 275, 277). Petitioner also said that Hope Meek was five feet two inches tall and weighed 95 pounds, and he was six feet, two inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. (Tr. 278).

At trial, Petitioner's testimony from a January 28, 2003, hearing was read into the record. The hearing occurred as part of a guardianship proceeding where Shelia Walker sought custody of Hope Meek's children. (Tr. 287). At the hearing, Petitioner testified Ms. Meek "just left" in late February 2002. Petitioner denied hitting her. He testified Ms. Meek talked about leaving him for several years. Sometimes Ms. Meek would talk about taking the children, and sometimes she did not say anything about taking them. (Tr. 290-92). Petitioner also testified he bought some large Rubbermaid containers to hold his camping gear and took the children camping at Hochatown. It was cold, so he and the children packed up the camping items and Petitioner drove to Taco Bell in Broken Bow to get the children some food. He next drove to Paris, Texas, and then returned home. (Tr. 295-299).

Petitioner further testified at the hearing that he removed some carpet out of the master bedroom and had it replaced a few days after Ms. Meek went missing. (...

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