Submitted, March 11, 2014
Petition for certiorari filed at, 08/13/2014
Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.
Richard Bilauski, Petitioner - Appellee, Pro se, Mineral Point, MO.
For Richard Bilauski, Petitioner - Appellee: Kevin L. Schriener, LAW & SCHRIENER, Saint Louis, MO.
For Troy Steele, Chris Koster, Respondents - Appellants: Stephen David Hawke, Assistant Attorney General, Terrence Michael Messonnier, Assistant Attorney General, ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Jefferson City, MO.
Before WOLLMAN, MURPHY, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.
Warden Troy Steele and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster (collectively, the State) appeal from the district court's order granting Richard Bilauski's petition for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. We reverse.
On June 10, 2001, Bilauski was involved in a violent altercation with Robert Vessell and Danny Rose. Bilauski repeatedly struck Vessell in the head, first with a pogo stick and then with a baseball bat, delivering blows that caused Vessell to lose consciousness and later die. Bilauski also struck Rose with the baseball bat.
Bilauski was charged with second degree murder, second degree assault, and two counts of armed criminal action. The state trial court appointed counsel to represent Bilauski. Nearly a year before trial, on February 15, 2002, Bilauski filed a pro se motion that sought new trial counsel and set forth his grievances against appointed counsel. Less than two months later, Bilauski filed another pro se motion, this time seeking to waive counsel. On November 15 and December 23, 2002, respectively, Bilauski filed two additional pro se motions for new trial counsel. In these two filings, he emphasized his dissatisfaction with appointed counsel and noted that he had filed several motions to obtain new counsel. No hearing was held on the motions, and the trial court did not rule on them.
Appointed counsel represented Bilauski at trial, at which Bilauski was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, second degree assault, and two counts of armed criminal action. Bilauski's convictions were affirmed on direct ...