Webb v. Allbaugh

Decision Date15 April 2016
Docket NumberCase No. CIV 13-065-JHP-KEW
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Oklahoma
PartiesCHRISTOPHER WAYNE WEBB, Petitioner, v. JOE ALLBAUGH, Department of Corrections Interim Director, Respondent.

This matter is before the court on Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner, a pro se inmate currently incarcerated at Lawton Correctional Facility in Lawton, Oklahoma, attacks his conviction in Bryan County District Court Case No. CF-2009-386 for Conspiracy to Commit a Felony. He sets forth the following grounds for relief:

I. The trial / appellant [sic] court erred in failing to dismiss the charges against Mr. Webb as he was denied a speedy trial in violation of his 6th and 14th Amendment rights to the United States Constitution.
II. The evidence was insufficient to convict Mr. Webb as the accomplice testimony was insufficient / wasn't even corroborated, and the evidence, even if taken as true and sufficiently corroborated, did not establish a conspiracy to commit a felony.

The 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. The State's brief and supplement in Petitioner's direct appeal.
C. Summary Opinion affirming Petitioner's judgment and sentence. Webb v. State, No. 2011-905 (Okla. Crim. App. Jan. 29, 2013).
D. State court 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).


Petitioner met Ashley Clowdus through a mutual friend. Ashley, who was 32 years old at the time of trial, is disabled and lived with her mother Patricia Clowdus. Patricia was the payee for Ashley's disability check. When Ashley needed money, Patricia gave her cash or took her shopping. (Tr. 105-108, 112-13, 133-35, 142-43).

On May 7, 2009, Petitioner took Ashley to First Convenience Bank located in a Walmart in Grapevine, Texas, and established a checking account in her name. Petitioner allowed her to use his address for the account, because he felt sorry for her. (Tr. 111-12, 138, 230-31).

About a week after the checking account was opened, Petitioner agreed to give Ashleya ride to Durant, Oklahoma, where she thought her boyfriend was staying.1 On May 15, 2009, the two drove to Durant, where they stayed with Petitioner's cousin Shannon Billey, and Ms. Billey's boyfriend Salomon Pedroza. (Tr. 137, 144, 150-51, 164-65).

On May 17, 2009, Nathan Callaway, a police officer for the Choctaw Nation, received a report that two people were passing hot checks at the Choctaw Travel Plaza gas station and convenience store in Durant. When Officer Callaway arrived a the Travel Plaza parking lot, he saw a security guard detaining a Hispanic man, later identified as Salomon Pedraza, by the side of the building. Pedraza was holding a small beagle. The guard told Calloway that Pedraza was accompanied by a woman who was writing hot checks. The woman, later identified as Ashley Clowdus, was in the corridor of the Travel Plaza with another security guard. She was on the ground, rocking back and forth and mumbling, and she seemed nervous and paranoid. At first Officer Callaway thought she was under the influence of drugs, but he then realized that her behavior was attributable to a mental condition. (Tr. 88-89).

Officer Callaway attempted to communicate with Ashley, but she was difficult to understand. He eventually understood that she needed her dog, so he took the beagle from Pedraza and gave it to her. She calmed down and still was very difficult to understand, but she then pulled a medical alert card from her pocket. The card stated that she suffered from tremors and instructed the reader to contact a physician or parent. The card also had the phone number for Ashley's mother Patricia Clowdus. (Tr. 90-91).

Officer Callaway called Patricia, who lived in South Lake, Texas. Patricia said shedid not know where Ashley was, and she was in the process of filing a missing person report. Officer Callaway asked Patricia whether Ashley had any checks, and Patricia replied that Ashley did not have a bank account or checks. Officer Callaway determined that Ashley was a victim and decided to release her to her mother. Patricia said it would take two hours to travel to Durant, so Callaway took Ashley to the casino hotel where a female security guard stayed with her until her mother could arrive. (Tr. 91-92).

Officer Callaway arrested Pedraza for using a mentally disabled person in a crime and for conspiracy. Pedraza denied any wrongdoing, stating that Ashley was the one who wrote the checks. When Callaway said that Pedraza could face a kidnaping charge, Pedraza yelled, "I didn't kidnap her, [Petitioner] did." Officer Callaway retrieved two bogus checks that were written at the Travel Plaza, along with a surveillance video. (Tr. 93, 99-100).

Petitioner was charged with Kidnaping, Financial Exploitation of a Mentally Disabled Person/Vulnerable Adult/Incapacitated Adult, and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony. He was only convicted of the Conspiracy charge.

Ground I: Speedy Trial

Petitioner alleges he was denied his right to a speedy trial, in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. The respondent asserts the decision by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) decision was not an unreasonable determination of federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court, and the OCCA identified and applied the relevant federal standard for review of a speedy trial claim. The OCCA denied relief as follows:

. . . [A]fter careful consideration, we find that Appellant was not deprived of his speedy trial rights. Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530 (1972); Lott v. State, 98 P. 3d 318, 327 (2004). Although the length of the delay, 2years, 2 months and 5 days, is sufficient to necessitate review of the remaining Barker factors, balancing all considerations and relevant circumstances, we find that Appellant was not deprived of his speedy trial rights. Ellis v. State, 76 P.3d 1131, 1136. The 279 days of delay attributable to the State was neutral and reasonable. Lott, 98 P.3d at 328; Ellis, 76 P.3d at 1139. The 538 days of delay Appellant caused by seeking continuances and filing lawsuits in various courts and repeatedly seeking to remove defense counsel, the prosecuting attorney, and the assigned trial judge does not weigh against the State. Fields v. State, 648 P.2d 43, 44 (Okla. Crim. App. 1982); see United States v. Loud Hawk, 474 U.S. 302, 316-17 (1986) (refusing to weigh delay caused by the defendant); see also Barker, 407 U.S. at 529 ("We hardly need add that if delay is attributable to the defendant, then his waiver may be given effect under standard waiver doctrine . . . ."). Appellant's assertions of his right to a speedy trial were not sincere as he was deliberately seeking to delay the trial at the same time. See Loud Hawk, 474 U.S. at 314-15. Appellant has not shown that his defense was impaired. Lott, 98 P.3d 331-32. We find that Appellant suffered some prejudice as a result of the deprivation of his liberty, but the great majority of the delay was attributable to Appellant's deliberate attempts to delay the trial. Lott, 98 P.3d at 332. As such, we find that the factors of reason for the delay, the defendant's assertion of his right, and prejudice to the defendant all clearly weigh in favor of the State and against Appellant.

Webb v. State, No. F-2011-905, slip op. at 2-3 (Okla. Crim. App. Jan. 29, 2013).

There are four factors to be considered in the analysis of speedy trial claims: "Length of delay, the reason for the delay, the defendant's assertion of his right, and prejudice to the defendant." Barker, 407 U.S. at 530. The record shows that Petitioner was arrested on July 22, 2009, and his trial began 26 months later on September 27, 2011. Therefore, as determined by the OCCA, Petitioner satisfied the threshold Barker inquiry concerning the length of delay. See Webb, slip op. at 2.

As set forth by the OCCA, however, the second Barker factor weighs heavily against Petitioner, because most of the delay between his arrest and his trial was attributable to him. Id. Petitioner made repeated requests for continuance, filed lawsuits against people involvedin the case, and presented a last-minute effort to remove his attorney. The respondent has detailed the case history:

Petitioner was arrested on July 22, 2009, and the next day the trial court set the case for an October 6, 2009, preliminary hearing. (O.R. 8).
• On August 27, 2009, the State filed a motion to continue the preliminary hearing, so Petitioner's cases could be grouped together, because the same witnesses were needed for more than one case. Petitioner's attorney agreed to reset the hearing to November 30, 2009, and it was held on that date. Petitioner was arraigned on December 15, 2009. (O.R. 20, 51).
Petitioner waived his right to a jury trial in the January/February 2010 term, and the trial court set the case for March 22, 2010. On March 22, 2010, Petitioner announced he wanted a jury trial, and the judge set his trial for the April/May 2010 jury term. (O.R. 53, 62).
• On April 27, 2010, Petitioner requested a continuance and affirmed, "The defendant . . . understands he is waiving his right to a speedy trial for this term of court." The court reset the case for August 16, 2010. (O.R. 72, 96).
• On August 16, 2010, Petitioner requested

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