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Hudson v. Clipper

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division

December 28, 2017

Charles Hudson, Petitioner,
Kimberly Clipper, Warden, Respondent.



         This is a habeas corpus case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Following referral to her docket, United States Magistrate Judge Kathleen B. Burke filed a Report and Recommendation (R&R) recommending that I deny the petition. (Doc. 14). She likewise denied petitioner's motion for appointment of an expert. (Id. at 1369-70).

         Pending is petitioner's non-specific objection to the R&R. (Doc. 15). As respondent points out (Doc. 16, ID 1374), I may adopt the R&R on the grounds that petitioner has filed a general objection, rather than specifying the basis for his objection, much less submitting an argument thereon. See Howard v. Sec. of Health and Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991) (“A general objection . . .has the same effects as would a failure to object.”).

         Nonetheless, I address Judge Burke's legal analysis and conclusion as if the petitioner had perfected his objections to the R&R. Doing so, I find, on the basis of de novo review, that whatever objections the petitioner might have made could not be well taken.

         Accordingly, I adopt Judge Burke's R&R as the order of this court, deny relief and dismiss the petition. I also decline to issue a Certificate of Appealability, as jurists of reason could not reasonably reach a different result.


         On October 12, 2009, as “M, ” a fourteen-year-old child, was walking to school, the petitioner grabbed her, put a knife to her throat, threatened her and forced her into an abandoned house. Petitioner took M upstairs to a second-floor bedroom. Despite M's pleas to leave, the petitioner raped her-keeping the knife within close reach during the attack. When he was done, petitioner left. M kicked the knife away, dressed and ran home.

         On arriving home, M was incoherent and in tears. She attempted to tell her brother what happened but could not speak clearly. He called their parents and M was able to explain what happened. After unsuccessfully attempting to find the petitioner in the neighborhood, M's family took her to the police and reported the crime. M then underwent a rape kit and medical examination at the Akron Child Advocacy Center.

         Officers went to the abandoned house. There, they found a evidence corroborating M's statement: a kitchen knife, the victim's underwear, and a pair of glasses M reported losing that morning. They observed bodily fluids on the floor. The officers took photos of the scene and recovered the underwear, glasses and the knife. The house burned down two days later.

         M later identified petitioner from a photographic lineup; she identified him again at trial, reiterating with certainty that he was her assailant. DNA deposited during the rape also matched the petitioner's DNA. Petitioner acknowledged the genetic match but insisted M had consented to the encounter, even though the knife and evidence of blunt force trauma to M's genital area suggested otherwise.

         A Mahoning County grand jury indicted petitioner on charges of rape, kidnaping and gross sexual imposition in November, 2009. His trial did not begin until February 28, 2011.

         In the interim, the petitioner requested multiple continuances and discharged two attorneys.

         On December 11, 2009, petitioner's first attorney submitted a signed waiver of petitioner's right to a speedy trial. While the record confirms that petitioner was present in the courtroom when his attorney submitted the waiver, petitioner has subsequently argued that he was not there, and that his signature was a forgery.

         Petitioner discharged his first lawyer in July, 2010, and the court granted defense counsel's motion to withdraw. The court appointed petitioner a new attorney in August, 2010, but this second attorney also withdrew within a month of his appointment. In September 2010, the court noted that petitioner had retained new counsel. At that point, trial was scheduled for November 8, 2010.

         In October 2010, petitioner's third attorney moved to dismiss the indictment, alleging a violation of petitioner's speedy trial rights. Petitioner claimed, contrary to what was reflected in the record, that he was not present in court when his counsel filed a waiver of his speedy trial rights and did not sign the speedy trial waiver. The court held a hearing on the motion and overruled it.

         On November 3, 2010, the court received a letter from petitioner dated April 15, 2010. In it, petitioner objected to the speedy trial waiver and demanded a trial within a reasonable time. The court held a pretrial hearing that same day, and the parties agreed to reschedule trial for February 28, 2011-the earliest date available to the court and the parties.[1]

         The trial began as scheduled on February 28, 2011. Three days later, disbelieving the petitioner's consent defense, the jury convicted him of rape, two counts of kidnaping, and gross sexual imposition. The ...

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