Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Walker v. Wainwright

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

September 19, 2019

TASHAWN WALKER, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN LYNEAL WAINWRIGHT, Respondent.

          John R. Adams Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JAMES R. KNEPP II UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Introduction

         Pro se Petitioner Tashawn Walker (“Petitioner”), a prisoner in state custody, filed a Petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (“Petition”). (Doc. 1). Respondent Warden Lyneal Wainwright (“Respondent”) filed an Answer/Return of Writ (Doc. 10) and Petitioner filed a Reply / Traverse (Doc. 12).[1] The district court has jurisdiction over the Petition under § 2254(a). This matter has been referred to the undersigned for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to Local Rule 72.2(b)(2). (Non-document entry dated December 18, 2018). For the reasons discussed below, the undersigned recommends the Petition be DENIED.

         Background

         State Court Conviction

         In November 2013, a Trumbull County, Ohio, grand jury indicted Petitioner on charges of aggravated murder (with a firearm specification), carrying a concealed weapon, and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. (Ex. 1, Doc. 10-1, at 5-6).

         Pursuant to a plea agreement, on July 20, 2015, Petitioner pled guilty to an amended count of involuntary manslaughter (with a firearm specification), carrying a concealed weapon, and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. (Ex. 2, Doc. 10-1, at 8-16). After a colloquy, the trial court accepted Petitioner's plea. (Doc. 10-2, at 1-15) (transcript of plea hearing). The trial court sentenced Petitioner to the agreed seventeen year sentence[2] with a mandatory term of five years of post-release control on the involuntary manslaughter count, and an optional term of up to three years post-release control on counts two and three. (Ex. 4, Doc. 10-1, at 19-20).

         Motion to Withdraw Guilty Plea

         In March 2016, Petitioner moved pro se to withdraw his guilty plea pursuant to Ohio Criminal Rule 32.1. (Ex. 5, Doc. 10-1, at 32-38). In support, Petitioner asserted two grounds:

Ground One: The trial court committed prejudicial error in violation of Mr. Walker's right to due process of law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution where the trial court failed to explain to Mr. Walker that he could use the subpoena powers of the courts to compel an individual to appear and testify on his behalf and that he did not have to secure witness on his own.
Ground Two: Mr. Walker was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the Un[it]ed States Constitution and Section 10 Article I of the Ohio Constitution where counsel incorrectly advised Mr. Walker that self defense was not a viable defense, which denied Mr. Walker his right to a jury trial.

Id. at 33-34 (capitalization altered). The State filed a response in opposition (Ex. 6, Doc. 10-1, at 63-66).[3] On March 14, 2016, the trial court denied Petitioner's motion. (Ex. 7, Doc. 10-1, at 106).

         Petitioner filed a pro se notice of appeal. (Ex. 9, Doc. 10-1, at 112-13). In his subsequent counseled brief, Petitioner raised a single assignment of error:

The trial court erred in denying Appellant's motion to withdraw guilty plea without conducting a hearing where Appellant's guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered as a result of ineffective assistance of counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and Section 10, Article I of the Ohio Constitution.

(Ex. 10, Doc. 10-1, at 121). He further described the issue presented for review and argument as:

A trial court commits reversible error where the Court denies a post-sentence Motion to Withdraw without a hearing when the Motion and attached exhibits set forth supported claims which, if believed, render the guilty plea not knowingly and intelligently entered as a result of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Id. The State filed an answer brief (Ex. 11, Doc. 10-1, at 134-52), and on December 30, 2016, the Eleventh Appellate District Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court to deny Petitioner's motion to withdraw his plea (Ex. 12, Doc. 10-1, at 153-61); State v. Walker, 2016 WL 7626347 (Ohio Ct. App.) (“Walker I”). Specifically, the court held that trial counsel was not ineffective for advising Petitioner that self-defense was not a viable strategy. Walker I, 2016 WL 7626347, at *3-4. Moreover, the court found Petitioner had not shown any alleged ineffective assistance precluded him from entering a knowing and voluntary guilty plea. Id. at *4. The appellate court also denied Petitioner's subsequent counseled motion for reconsideration (Ex. 13, Doc. 10-1, at 163-73) on April 18, 2017. (Ex. 15, Doc. 10-1, at 223-26).

         Application to Reopen Appeal

         On March 3, 2017, Petitioner filed a pro se application to reopen his appeal pursuant to Ohio Appellate Rule 26(B). (Ex. 16, Doc. 10-1, at 227-33). Therein, he asserted his counsel was ineffective for failing to argue a “dead bang winner” issue on appeal. Id. at 229. He asserted counsel should have raised the following issue for review:

The Appellant's guilty plea was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered where the trial court committed prejudicial error when it failed to advise appellant of his Constitutional rights he was waiving by pleading guilty in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment[s] to the U.S. Const[itution] and Article I [S]ection 10 of the Ohio Const[itution] and Criminal Rule 11(C)(2)(c)[.]

Id. at 230 (capitalization altered). The State filed an answer brief (Ex. 17, Doc. 10-1, at 269-73), and Petitioner replied (Ex. 18, Doc. 10-1, at 274-76). On April 18, 2017, the state appellate court denied Petitioner's application to reopen. (Ex. 19, Doc. 10-1, at 277-81).

         Petitioner filed a pro se notice of appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. (Ex. 20, Doc. 10-1, at 282-83). In his memorandum in support of jurisdiction, he asserted two propositions of law:

I. Appellant was denied his right to due process of law as guaranteed by the 14th[] [A]mendment to the U.S. Const. and Section 16, [A]rt. I Ohio Const. where the appeals court committed prejudicial error by denying [Petitioner's] 26(B) motion.
II. Appellant was denied his right to receiving effective assistance of counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Const. and Section 10 [A]rt]. I of the Ohio Const. where appell[ate] counsel failed to assign as error a dead bang winner: that the trial court ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.