United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division, Columbus
JOHN R. MURRAY, Petitioner,
EMMA COLLINS, Warden, Pickaway Correctional Institution, Respondent.
L. Graham District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Michael R. Merz United States Magistrate Judge.
the assistance of counsel, Petitioner John Murray brought
this habeas corpus action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to
obtain relief from his conviction in the Court of Common
Pleas of Franklin County on three counts of aggravated
trafficking in Oxycodone and one count of aggravated
possession of drugs (Petition, ECF No. 1, PageID 2, ¶
5.) The case is ripe for decision on the merits on the
Petition, the State Court Record (ECF No. 5), the Return of
Writ (ECF No. 6), and Petitioner's Reply (ECF No. 18).
Magistrate Judge reference in this case was recently
transferred to the undersigned to help balance the Magistrate
Judge workload in the District. The case remains assigned to
District Judge Graham for final disposition.
was indicted by the Franklin County grand jury on drug
charges. In September 2015 a jury found him guilty of three
counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs and one count of
the lesser-included offense of possession of drugs. He was
then sentenced to an aggregate term of eight years'
imprisonment. On direct appeal the Tenth District (Franklin
County) Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment. State v.
Murray, 2017-Ohio-949 (10th Dist. Mar. 16,
2017), appellate jurisdiction declined, 2017-Ohio-8842 (Dec.
6, 2017). After the Supreme Court of Ohio denied, review,
Murray filed the instant Petition on raising one ground for
Ground One: Petitioner was deprived of his
6th and 14th Amendment rights to the effective assistance of
counsel due to the deficient performance of counsel.
Supporting Facts: Counsel was unprepared for
trial of this matter, asserting and/or trying to present
irrelevant evidence, failed to assess issues regarding
Petitioner's competency and/or sanity, failing to
understand basic defense principles, failed and/or did not
completely evaulte [sic] the evidence against Petitioner,
failed to advise properly regarding the offer made prior to
trial, and failed to negotiate a plea resolution with the
prosecutor, all of which contributed to Petitioner's
(Petition, ECF No. 1, PageID 6.)
sole Ground for Relief, Murray claims he received
constitutionally ineffective assistance of trial counsel,
alleging several ways in which counsel allegedly performed
deficiently. The Petition asserts that this claim was raised
on direct appeal (Petition, ECF No. 1, PageID 7). Respondent
asserts that the only portion of this ground for relief
raised on appeal was that” trial counsel presented an
irrelevant and legally impermissible defense.” (Return,
ECF No. 6, PageID 1556). As a result, Respondent asserts the
other sub-claims are either unexhausted or procedurally
defaulted[.]” Id. at PageID 1556-57.
Petitioner's Reply asserts (without citation to the
record) that “[t]he issue of ineffective assistance of
counsel was raised in both Plaintiff's direct appeal and
his Motion in Support of Jurisdiction to the Ohio Supreme
Court. Therefore, the matter is exhausted for purpose of
habeas review.” (ECF No. 18, PageID 1583).
Appealed Ineffective Assistance Claim
appeal to the Tenth District, Murray's ineffective
assistance of trial counsel assignment of error reads
Appellant's counsel was ineffective in two primary ways.
One, she presented an irrelevant and legally impermissible
defense despite being warned by the court before-hand that
she could not present such a defense. Two, she elicited
unnecessary character evidence from defense witnesses knowing