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Langdeaux v. Lund

United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa, Western Division

May 20, 2014

JAMES WILLIAM LANGDEAUX, Petitioner,
v.
MARK LUND, Respondent.

ORDER ON MOTION TO EXPAND THE RECORD; and REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2254

LEONARD T. STRAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 2

A. Factual Background ............................................................... 2

B. Procedural Background ........................................................... 3

1. State Court Proceedings ................................................... 3

a. Direct Appeal ....................................................... 4

b. Post-conviction Relief Proceedings ............................. 4

2. Federal Proceedings ..................................................... 12

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW .............................................................. 12

III. DISCUSSION .............................................................................. 15

A. Motion to Expand the Record .................................................. 15

B. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims .................................... 19

1. Failure to Properly Advise Concerning Felony-Murder Rule for Purposes of Plea ............... 19

a. Summary of Iowa Court of Appeals Decision .............. 20

b. Arguments of the Parties ....................................... 22

c. Is the Standard Objective or Subjective? .................... 23

d. Did the Iowa Court of Appeals Decision Result in an Unreasonable Application of Federal Law? ................ 24

2. Failure to Investigate .................................................... 31

IV. ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION ................................................ 33

I. INTRODUCTION

An Iowa District Court jury convicted James William Langdeaux (Langdeaux) of murder in the first degree and going armed with intent on March 31, 1988. He was sentenced to a life term of imprisonment for first-degree murder and a concurrent five-year term of imprisonment for going armed with intent. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. Doc. No. 13-11; State v. Langdeaux, Sup. Ct. No. 88-852 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 23, 1989).

As I will explain in more detail below, Langdeaux pursued post-conviction relief (PCR) in Iowa’s state courts over the next twenty-three years. That process finally came to an end in 2012 upon the final denial of Langdeaux’s claims. On September 4, 2012, Langdeaux filed a pro se petition (Doc. No. 1) for writ of habeas corpus in this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Attorney Shelley Goff was appointed to represent him. Langdeaux filed a merits brief (Doc. No. 19) on November 1, 2013, along with a motion (Doc. No. 17) to expand the record to include a letter dated November 2, 1995. I reserved ruling on the motion and stated it would be taken up with the merits of the petition. Doc. No. 22. I directed the respondent to proceed as if the letter was part of the record. Id. The respondent filed its merits brief (Doc. No. 26) on January 30, 2014. Langdeaux filed a reply (Doc. No. 27) on March 12, 2014. The matter is fully submitted. The Honorable Mark W. Bennett, United States District Judge, has referred the matter to me for preparation of a report and recommended disposition.

A. Factual Background

On the night of August 21, 1987, Langdeaux and a friend went to the Windjammer, a bar in Arnold’s Park, Iowa, after a night of drinking. At some point, Langdeaux approached a table where Russell Johnson and Duane Krogman were sitting. Neither Johnson nor Krogman knew Langdeaux, but Langdeaux began talking with Krogman. After a while, Krogman and Johnson asked Langdeaux to leave. He did not leave right away, but eventually got up and backhanded Krogman on the face before walking away. Krogman went to look for Langdeaux outside. However, Johnson found Langdeaux inside the bar, grabbed his arm and said they did not want any trouble. Langdeaux pulled out a knife and put it to Johnson’s neck. Johnson let Langdeaux go and Langdeaux walked away. Johnson went to find Krogman so they could leave the bar.

Meanwhile, Krogman had re-entered the bar and approached Langdeaux. The two began to argue. Witnesses saw Langdeaux grab Krogman, make a quick thrust to Krogman’s stomach and run out of the bar. Someone yelled that he had been stabbed. Several patrons and employees ran out of the bar to chase Langdeaux. They caught up with him about a block away and told Langdeaux to drop the knife, which he did. They took Langdeaux back to the bar and turned him over to the ...


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