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Hoskins v. Fayram

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

October 7, 2014

WALTER HOSKINS, Petitioner,
v.
JOHN FAYRAM, Respondent.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

The matter before the court is Petitioner Walter Hoskins's "Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody" ("Petition") (docket no. 2).

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Pre-Trial, Post-Trial and Sentencing

On July 17, 2006, in the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County ("Iowa District Court"), Petitioner was charged with the following: (1) possession of a controlled substance (more than 50 grams of cocaine base) with the intent to deliver, second offense, in violation of Iowa Code sections 124.401(1)(a) and 124.411 ("Count 1"); (2) failure to affix a drug tax stamp to cocaine base, in violation of Iowa Code section 453B.12 ("Count 2"); and (3) possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to deliver, second offense, in violation of Iowa Code sections 124.401(1)(d) and 124.411 ("Count 3"). Trial Information, Trial Appendix ("Trial App'x") (docket no. 12-11) at 9-10. On March 14, 2007, Count 1 was amended to include a charge of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to deliver as an alternative to proving a violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(1)(a). Amended Trial Information, Trial App'x at 359.

On March 2, 2007, a jury found Petitioner guilty of Count 1, Count 2 and the lesser-included offense of Count 3, possession of a controlled substance (marijuana). Verdict Forms, Trial App'x at 353-56.

On March 16, 2007, Petitioner filed a combined Motion for New Trial, Motion in Arrest of Judgment and Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict. Motion for New Trial, Trial App'x at 361-62. On April 2, 2007, the Iowa District Court denied the motions and sentenced Petitioner. Relevant Portions of Sentencing Transcript, Trial App'x at 370. On Count 1, the Iowa District Court sentenced Petitioner to an indeterminate term of imprisonment not to exceed 100 years with a one-third mandatory minimum and imposed a suspended $10, 000 fine and 32 percent surcharge. Id. at 380. On Count 2, the Iowa District Court sentenced Petitioner to a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years and imposed a suspended $750 fine and 32 percent surcharge. Id. at 380-81. On Count 3, the court sentenced Petitioner to a period of 180 days in the Black Hawk County jail and imposed a $250 fine and 32 percent surcharge. Id. at 381. The Iowa District Court also suspended Petitioner's driving privileges for 180 days on each of the three counts. Finally, the Iowa District Court imposed a $125 Law Enforcement Assessment and a $10 Drug Abuse Resistance Education ("DARE") Assessment. Id.

B. Direct Appeal

On April 10, 2007, Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal from the judgment and sentence with the Iowa Supreme Court. Notice of Appeal, Trial App'x at 391. Petitioner "assert[ed] several challenges to the admission of evidence arising from a search and subsequent seizure of controlled substances." State v. Hoskins ( Hoskins I ), No. 07-0677, 752 N.W.2d 36 (Table), 2008 WL 1887314, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. April 30, 2008). Specifically, Petitioner raised the following issues: (1) the Iowa District Court's denial of his motion to suppress; (2) ineffective assistance of counsel; (3) the Iowa District Court's denial of his motion in limine; and (4) imposition of the DARE surcharge. Id . at *2-*7.

On April 30, 2008, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions and vacated Petitioner's sentences in part and affirmed in part. Id . at *7. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the Iowa District Court's ruling on the motion to suppress. With respect to the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the Iowa Court of Appeals found that Petitioner was not prejudiced by any alleged failure of trial counsel to assert certain grounds for the motion to suppress. Id. at *4-*6. With respect to the denial of the motion in limine, the Iowa Court of Appeals concluded that "any alleged error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. at *7. Finally, the Iowa Court of Appeals vacated the DARE surcharge. Id .

On May 14, 2008, Petitioner filed an Application for Further Review (docket no. 12-13), which the Iowa Supreme Court denied on June 24, 2008 (docket no. 12-14).

C. State Postconviction Relief Action

On September 24, 2008, Petitioner filed a pro se Petition for Postconviction Relief, alleging four grounds based on ineffective assistance of trial counsel and five grounds based on ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Petition for Postconviction Relief, Postconviction Relief Appendix ("PCR App'x") (docket no. 12-21) at 23. On December 22, 2008, Petitioner filed a Pro Se Brief in support of his Petition for Postconviction Relief. Id . at 32. On May 11, 2010, postconviction relief counsel moved to amend the Petition for Postconviction Relief. Supplemental Application for Postconviction Relief, PCR App'x at 35.

On May 14, 2010, the Iowa District Court dismissed the Petition for Postconviction Relief. May 14, 2010 Order, PCR App'x at 43. On May 21, 2010, Petitioner filed with the Iowa Supreme Court a Notice of Appeal from the May 14, 2010 Order. Notice of Appeal, PCR App'x at 44. On February 15, 2012, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the Iowa District Court's ruling denying the Petition for Postconviction Relief. Hoskins v. State ( Hoskins II ), No. 10-0902, 812 N.W.2d 726 (Table), 2012 WL 470230 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 15, 2012). On March 6, 2012, Petitioner applied for further review with the Iowa Supreme Court. Appellant's Request for Further Review (docket no. 12-23). On April 10, 2012, the Iowa Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application. Order Denying Further Review (docket no. 12-24). On April 11, 2012, procedendo issued. Procedendo (docket no. 12-25).

D. Federal Habeas Corpus Action

On April 5, 2013, Petitioner filed the Petition, which alleged four grounds for relief: (1) trial counsel failed to argue in suppression proceedings that the search warrant was not independent of the unlawful initial entry of the residence; (2) trial counsel failed to argue in suppression proceedings that the search warrant was not independent of the unlawful initial search of the curtilage of the residence; (3) he was denied the right to a fair trial because the Iowa District Court based its rulings on improperly seized evidence; and (4) appellate counsel failed to argue that there was insufficient evidence on which to base a conviction. A fifth ground is set forth in an attachment to the Petition, which alleges appellate counsel failed to argue that the jury verdict was rendered in the absence of proper jury instructions. See Petition at 18. Petitioner also attached a Brief in Support of the Petition (docket no. 2-1).

On September 23, 2013, Respondent filed an Answer (docket no. 10), arguing that Petitioner's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and denial of fair trial do not entitle Petitioner to relief and that several of his claims were not properly exhausted under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1).

On December 18, 2013, Petitioner filed a Pro Se Brief ("Petitioner's Brief") (docket no. 13). On February 20, 2014, Respondent filed Respondent's Brief (docket no. 15). On March 18, 2014, Petitioner filed a Reply (docket no. 16). The matter is fully submitted and ready for decision.

III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Iowa Court of Appeals provided the following factual account on direct appeal:

On the evening of July 4, 2006, Waterloo police officers noticed Walter Hoskins IV and his cousin, Daytron Wise, in front of their grandmother's house shooting off fireworks. Officers Matt McGeough and Steve Bose went to the home due to this illegal activity and because there were outstanding arrest warrants for both men. Hoskins and Wise were arrested. A search incident to arrest revealed Hoskins had $174 in cash, Wise had $210, and both men had cell phones on them. As they were being placed in the back of a patrol car, Hoskins yelled at the officers not to go in the house because his grandmother, Alberta Hoskins, was sleeping.
The officers knocked on the door, and then knocked on windows in an effort to alert whomever was inside that they were taking Hoskins and Wise to the police station, but no one responded. The officers then went around the outside of the house attempting to rouse someone when officer Bose saw baggies stuffed inside a detached drain pipe. He pulled out the baggies and saw several of them had corners that were missing. There was no mud or debris on the baggies. The corners of baggies are often used as packaging for illegal drugs.
The officers gathered up the fireworks in the yard and on the porch as evidence for a fireworks violation charge. From the porch, officer McGeough smelled the distinct and strong odor of marijuana. The door of the house was open, but the screen door was closed. Through the screen door officer McGeough saw a box of fireworks just inside the door. He opened the door to collect the fireworks, and saw two baggies of marijuana and a baggie of crack cocaine in a planter beside the door. The officers seized the illegal drugs.
While the officers were present, Alberta returned home. Hoskins told her not to let anyone inside the home, and she refused the officers' request to search the home. The officers had activated a recorder in the patrol car, and one of the men said, "they haven't found it yet." Hoskins had previous felony convictions for drug-dealing in 2004. In April and May of 2006, officer McGeough had received information of drug dealing by Hoskins in Waterloo.
Sergeant Mark Meyer of the Tri-County Drug Task Force prepared an application for a search warrant of the house. A judge signed the search warrant. A search was conducted on July 5, 2006, which revealed large quantities of crack cocaine and marijuana, scales, cell phones, and baggies with torn corners.

Hoskins I , 2008 WL 1887314, at *1 (footnote omitted).

IV. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

A. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)

The United States Code provides the standard for ...


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