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Murphy v. Coleman

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

January 7, 2020

Kyle Murphy, Petitioner,
v.
John Coleman[1], Warden, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Jeffrey J. Helmick United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Petitioner Kyle Murphy seeks a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, concerning his conviction on charges of rape, attempted rape, and endangering children in the Stark County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas. (Doc. No. 1). Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Parker reviewed Murphy's petition and the arguments of the parties pursuant to Local Rule 72.2(b)(2) and recommends I deny the petition. (Doc. No. 10). Murphy has filed timely objections to Judge Parker's Report and Recommendation. (Doc. No. 11). For the reasons stated below, I overrule Murphey's objections and adopt Judge Parker's Report and Recommendation.

         II. Background

         On January 15, 2015, a jury found Murphy guilty of two counts of rape, in violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02(A)(1)(b), and one count of endangering children, in violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22(B)(1)(E)(2)(D). The trial court subsequently sentenced Murphy to life in prison without the possibility of parole on both counts of rape and a term of eight years on the endangering-children count, to be served consecutively.

         Murphy appealed, arguing the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his rape convictions. Ohio v. Murphy, No. 2015CA00024, 2015 WL 8467756 (Ohio Ct. App. December 7, 2015). The Fifth District Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court concluded the medical evidence and witness testimony was sufficient to support Murphy's conviction for rape by fellatio. Id. at *6-8.

         The appellate court reversed the trial court decision on Count Two, which charged Murphy with vaginal or anal rape, after concluding the evidence was insufficient to prove the essential element of penetration. Id. at *6. The appellate court determined “the evidence was sufficient to prove attempted vaginal and/or anal rape, ” modified the judgement to “reflect a verdict of guilty on the lesser included offense of attempted rape, ” and remanded the case back to the trial court of resentencing on that count only. Id.

         The Supreme Court of Ohio declined to accept jurisdiction of Murphy's appeal. On remand, the trial court sentenced Murphy to a term of 11 years on the lesser-included charge of attempted rape and again sentenced Murphy to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Count One and a term of 8 years on Count Three.

         Murphy must demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, that the state court's factual findings were incorrect. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). Murphy appears to object to these factual findings, arguing “the state factual findings cannot find legitimacy by merely recounting those findings as is done by [R]espondent and in some instances by the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate [Judge].” (Doc. No. 11 at 2-3). This “legitimacy, ” however, is precisely what the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) mandates. See, e.g., Bowling v. Parker, 344 F.3d 487, 497 (6th Cir. 2003) (“[T]he findings of a state court are presumed to be correct and can only be contravened if [the petitioner] can show by clear and convincing evidence that they are erroneous.”)

         Murphy fails to present evidence which could show Judge Parker's recitation of the factual and procedural background of this case was incorrect and I adopt those sections of the Report and Recommendation in full. (Doc. No. 10 at 2-5).

         III. Standard

         Once a magistrate judge has filed a report and recommendation, a party to the litigation may “serve and file written objections” to the magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations, within 14 days of being served with a copy. 28 U.S.C. § 636. Written objections “provide the district court with the opportunity to consider the specific contentions of the parties and to correct any errors immediately . . . [and] to focus attention on those issues - factual and legal - that are at the heart of the parties' dispute.” Kelly v. Withrow, 25 F.3d 363, 365 (6th Cir. 1994) (quoting United States v. Walters, 638 F.3d 947, 949-50 (6th Cir. 1981) and Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 147 (1985)). A district court must conduct a de novo review only of the portions of the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations to which a party has made a specific objection. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).

         IV. Discussion

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) prohibits the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus “with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in ...


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