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Coleman v. State

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

January 26, 2015

SEDRICK COLEMAN, Petitioner
v.
STATE OF ALABAMA, et al., Respondents

Sedrick Coleman, Petitioner, Pro se, Huntsville, AL.

For State of Alabama, Attorney General for the State of Alabama, The, Respondents: Andy S Poole, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Montgomery, AL.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

HARWELL G. DAVIS, III, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Petitioner, Sedrick Coleman, is a prisoner in the custody of the State of Alabama based on his convictions in Madison County Circuit Court for one count of trafficking in cocaine and one count of first degree possession of marijuana, resulting in sentences of 18 years and ten years. He now challenges those convictions and sentences pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1, Petition).

I. Proceedings in the State Courts

Coleman was indicted on September 28, 2008, and charged with one count of trafficking in excess of one kilogram of cocaine, in violation of Ala. Code § 13A-12-231, and one count of first degree possession of marijuana for other than personal use, in violation of Ala. Code § 13A-12-213. A co-defendant, Jermaine Parker, also was charged with trafficking in cocaine. During the trial court proceedings, Coleman filed a motion to suppress evidence seized from his vehicle during a police stop on September 15, 2005. Madison County Circuit Court Judge Karen Hall denied the motion following an evidentiary hearing.

After a jury trial, Coleman was convicted on both counts. Co-defendant Jermaine Parker was acquitted of the cocaine trafficking charge against him. On April 9, 2010, Coleman was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the trafficking count and ten years for the first degree possession of marijuana charge.

On direct appeal, Coleman argued only that the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress the evidence seized from his vehicle and that a search warrant executed on his residence lacked sufficient probable cause. On December 3, 2010, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Coleman's convictions and sentences by memorandum opinion. (Respondents' Ex. A). The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals found the suppression argument made by Coleman on appeal differed from the argument raised at trial and, because this argument was not first raised before the trial court, the issue was held to be not properly before the Court for appellate consideration. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals found Coleman's claim concerning the search warrant executed on his home to have been raised for the first time on appeal. Thus, it also was precluded from review. (Id. at 4-5).

After unsuccessfully requesting a rehearing before the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, Coleman filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Alabama Supreme Court. This petition was denied on February 11, 2011. (Respondents' Ex. B). A certificate of judgment was issued on that same day. (Respondents' Ex. C).

On December 13, 2011, Coleman signed his first petition for post-conviction relief under Ala.R.Crim.P. 32. He raised the following issues:

1. Whether he was deprived of effective assistance of counsel due to trial counsel's failure to amend the motion to suppress to allege the search was illegal because his detention was improperly extended where the traffic ticket for speeding and loud music were signed by petitioner before the K-9 units arrived and the drugs were discovered.
2. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to conduct substantial investigation of the law and facts to establish that petitioner was illegally detained after he signed the traffic tickets.
3. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to know and understand the applicable laws governing misdemeanor traffic offenses which deprived petitioner of the opportunity to prove that he was illegally detained.
4. Trial counsel was ineffective for failure of the trial counsel to object to the trial court's failure to administer the oath to the jury venire.
5. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to renew petitioner's motion for discharge pursuant to Ala.R.Crim.P. 13.4(a) after the trial court's oral charge on constructive possession, on the ground that the mutually antagonistic defenses of petitioner and his co-defendant compromised his right to have his guilt or innocence determined solely from the evidence presented.
6. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the trial court's jury charge regarding constructive possession and aiding and abetting, which shifted the burden of proof from the government to the petitioner.
7. Trial counsel was ineffective at sentencing for failing to object to the sentence enhancement imposed on the ground that the State failed to provide adequate and proper prior notice of the enhancement.
8. Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to move to suppress the cocaine seized on the ground that the affiant officer provided the judge who issued the warrant with false information by alleging that a confidential informant ...

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