Reed v. Cockrell

Decision Date19 February 2003
Docket NumberNo. 3.-99-CV-0207-R.,3.-99-CV-0207-R.
Citation269 F.Supp.2d 784
PartiesJonathan Bruce REED, Petitioner, v. Janie COCKRELL, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas

J Richard Broughton, Attorney General of Texas Capital Litigation Division, Austin, TX, for Janie Cockrell.


BUCHMEYER, District Judge.

After making an independent review of the pleadings, files and records in this case, and the findings, conclusions and recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge, the Court finds that the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are correct and they are adopted as the findings and conclusions of the Court. Petitioner's objections to the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are overruled.


Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and an Order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, this case has been referred to the United States Magistrate Judge. The findings, conclusions and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge are as follows:



A state prison inmate has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 2254.


Petitioner, Jonathan Bruce Reed, is an inmate in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (TDCJ-ID). Respondent, Janie Cockrell, is the Director of TDCJ-ID.


A jury convicted Petitioner of capital murder, and his punishment was assessed at death by lethal injection. State v. Reed, Cause No. F81-1988-PL (Crim. Dist. Ct. No. 5, Dallas County, Tex. Mar. 24, 1983). It was the second time that Petitioner had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for such offense.1 The case was appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and death sentence in an unpublished opinion. Reed v. State, No. 69,292 (Tex.Crim.App. Mar. 29, 1995). Petitioner filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court, which was denied on January 8, 1996. Reed v. Texas, 516 U.S. 1050, 116 S.Ct. 715, 133 L.Ed.2d 669, rehearing denied, 516 U.S. 1142, 116 S.Ct. 977, 133 L.Ed.2d 896 (1996). Petitioner subsequently filed a state application for writ of habeas corpus on October 14, 1996. (State Habeas Record, hereinafter "SHR", pp. 1-134.) The trial court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law and recommended that relief be denied on June 26, 1998. Ex parte Reed, No. W81-01988-PL(a) (Crim. Dist. Ct. No. 5, Dallas County, Tex.); (SHR, pp. 644-727.) The Court of Criminal Appeals adopted those findings of fact and conclusions of law and denied relief in a written order on September 16, 1998. Ex parte Reed, No. 38,174-01 (Tex.Crim. App.). The Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari on March 22, 1999. Reed v. Texas, 526 U.S. 1021, 119 S.Ct. 1259, 143 L.Ed.2d 355 (1999).

Petitioner filed his original federal petition for writ of habeas corpus on March 23, 1999, and his amended petition for writ of habeas corpus on May 4, 1999. Respondent filed an answer and motion for summary judgment on October 18, 1999, and furnished the state court records. Petitioner filed a response to this answer on December 22, 1999.


In her answer, Respondent states that Petitioner has exhausted all of his state court remedies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), (c), except for a portion of Petitioner's evidentiary support for his first claim and a portion of Petitioner's argument for his seventh claim.


In thirteen grounds for relief, Petitioner complains of (a) perjured testimony of William McLean,2 (b) racially discriminatory use of peremptory challenges,3 (c) the use of a general verdict form of jury instructions,4 (d) the trial court's denial of a circumstantial evidence charge,5 (e) the state appellate court's refusal to apply intervening state decision,6 (f) an inordinate delay in the state appellate process,7 and (g) the trial court's refusal to instruct on lesser included offense.8 Petitioner also contends that he is entitled to discovery and an evidentiary hearing.


Applicable Law

The petition for a federal writ of habeas corpus was filed after April 24, 1996.9 Therefore, this proceeding is governed by the terms of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (the "AEDPA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326, 117 S.Ct. 2059, 2063, 138 L.Ed.2d 481 (1997); Nobles v. Johnson, 127 F.3d 409, 413 (5th Cir.1997). This statute significantly affects federal habeas-corpus proceedings, particularly in the deference that must be accorded statecourt findings.

Deference Scheme

The AEDPA provides the following deference scheme for review of state determinations of claims that were adjudicated on the merits in state court:

(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the 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 has explained that the "contrary to" and "unreasonable application" clauses of § 2254(d)(1) have independent meaning.

A state court decision will be "contrary to" our clearly established precedent if the state court either "applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in our cases," or "confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of this Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from our precedent." ... A state court decision will be an "unreasonable application of our clearly established precedent if it "correctly identifies the governing legal rule but applies it unreasonably to the facts of a particular prisoner's case."

(citations omitted) Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792, 121 S.Ct. 1910, 1918, 150 L.Ed.2d 9 (2001)(hereinafter also "Penry II")(quoting [Terry] Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-08, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000)). Under the "unreasonable application" analysis, it is not enough that the state court incorrectly applied federal law. To be entitled to relief, Petitioner must show that the "ultimate legal conclusion" reached by the state court was objectively unreasonable. Neal v. Puckett, 286 F.3d 230, 245-46 (5th Cir. 2002); See also Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 122 S.Ct. 1843, 1850, 1852, 152 L.Ed.2d 914 (2002)(noting difference between "objectively unreasonable" application under AEDPA and one that is merely "incorrect"); Williams, 529 U.S. at 409-11, 120 S.Ct. at 1521-22.

However, this deference scheme applies only to issues that have been adjudicated on the merits in state court. A resolution or "adjudication" on the merits in the habeas-corpus context is a term of art that refers to the state court's disposition of the case on substantive rather than procedural grounds. See Miller v. Johnson, 200 F.3d 274, 281 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 849, 121 S.Ct. 122, 148 L.Ed.2d 77 (2000); Green v. Johnson, 116 F.3d 1115, 1121 (5th Cir.1997). All of the claims Petitioner makes here that were either denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on the merits in his direct appeal, or after explicitly adopting findings of fact and conclusions of law made by the state trial court, denied relief on the merits of the state habeas application,10 may be said to have been "adjudicated on the merits" under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). See Hill v. Johnson, 210 F.3d 481, 485 (5th Cir.2000), cert. denied, 532 U.S. 1039, 121 S.Ct. 2001, 149 L.Ed.2d 1004 (2001); Valdez v. Cockrell, 274 F.3d 941 (5th Cir. 2001). Therefore, each of these claims is subject to this heightened-deference standard. Not only must Petitioner meet this heightened standard in order to obtain relief, but his allegations must also be sufficient to show that such standard can be met before an evidentiary hearing will be warranted.

Evidentiary Hearings

When there is a factual dispute, that, if resolved in the petitioner's favor, would entitle him to relief and the state has not afforded the petitioner a full and fair evidentiary hearing, a federal habeascorpus petitioner is entitled to discovery and an evidentiary hearing. See Hughes v. Johnson, 191 F.3d 607 (5th Cir.1999)(quoting Goodwin v. Johnson, 132 F.3d 162, 178 (5th Cir.1997)) The AEDPA raised the standards for obtaining relief on claims governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) so that now the allegations of the petition must be sufficient to demonstrate that this higher standard can be met before an evidentiary hearing will be warranted. Further, the AEDPA eliminated the requirement of a "full and fair hearing" in state court before according deference to state-court findings. Valdez, 274 F.3d at 948.11 Also, the AEDPA expressly limits the availability of an evidentiary hearing when the habeas petitioner has failed to develop the factual basis of the claim in the state-court proceedings. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2). Each of these requirements imposes additional restrictions on the ability of federal courts to grant evidentiary hearings and relief in post-conviction habeas-corpus proceedings. Therefore, although the full effect of the AEDPA on the initial determination of whether to grant an...

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  • State v. Adams
    • United States
    • Ohio Supreme Court
    • October 1, 2015
    ... ... Bull categories, whereas the Ex Post Facto Clause 144 Ohio St.3d 470 incorporates all four. Janecka v. Cockrell, 301 F.3d 316, 325 (5th Cir.2002) ; Reed v. Cockrell, 269 F.Supp.2d 784, 810812 (N.D.Tex.2003), rev'd on other grounds, sub nom. Reed v ... ...

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