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Lane v. Thomas

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division

June 29, 2015

BOBBY ROGERS LANE, # 278704, Petitioner,
v.
KIM T. THOMAS, et al., Respondents.

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

SUSAN RUSS WALKER, Chief Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the court on a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by state inmate Bobby Rogers Lane ("Lane"). Doc. No. 1.

I. BACKGROUND

On May 11, 2011, Lane pled guilty in the Circuit Court of Houston County, Alabama, to charges of trafficking in cocaine, in violation of § 13A-12-231, Ala. Code 1975; unlawful possession of a controlled substance, in violation of § 13A-12-212, Ala. Code 1975; resisting arrest, in violation of § 13A-10-41, Ala. Code 1975; and possession of drug paraphernalia, in violation of § 13A-12-260, Ala. Code 1975. On June 22, 2011, the trial court sentenced Lane to 25 years' imprisonment on the trafficking conviction, 2 years' imprisonment on the possession of a controlled substance conviction, 1 year of imprisonment on the resisting arrest conviction, and 1 year of imprisonment on the drug paraphernalia conviction, with the sentences ordered to run concurrently.

Before pleading guilty, Lane reserved for appellate review the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress drug evidence seized during his arrest. Resp'ts Ex. A - Pt. 3 at 67-68. Specifically, Lane argued that his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizure was violated because the search warrant issued for his residence was based on a defective affidavit that failed to include sufficient information for a judicial determination of probable cause. Resp'ts Ex. A - Pt. 1 at 13-17; see Resp'ts Ex. A - Pt. 3 at 67-68. Lane presented this issue on appeal ( see Resp'ts Ex. B ); the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued a memorandum opinion denying relief after finding there was sufficient probable cause for issuance of the search warrant for Lane's residence. Resp'ts Ex. D.

Lane applied for rehearing, which the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals overruled on February 17, 2012. Resp'ts Exs. E & F. He then filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Alabama Supreme Court, which that court denied on September 7, 2012, issuing a certificate of judgment on the same day. Resp'ts Exs. G & H.

On July 11, 2013, Lane filed this § 2254 petition for writ of habeas corpus, asserting the same claim he pursued in the state courts, that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated because the search warrant for his residence failed to include sufficient information for a judicial determination of probable cause. Doc. No. 1 at 3-10.

The respondents filed an answer arguing that Lane cannot prevail on the merits of his search and seizure claim under the federal habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), because the state court's decision was not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established United States Supreme Court law, and the decision was not the result of an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceedings. Doc. No. 6 at 3; see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

This court entered an order advising Lane of the constraints 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) places on federal courts to grant relief, as well as the preclusive effect of Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976), on Fourth Amendment claims raised in habeas proceedings. See Doc. Nos. 12 & 19. The court granted Lane an opportunity to file a reply to the respondent's answer. Id. Lane filed a reply. Doc. No. 23.

After reviewing the § 2254 petition, the respondents' answer, Lane's reply, the state court record, and applicable federal law, the court concludes that no evidentiary hearing is required, and the petition is due to be denied in accordance with the provisions of Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Lane's Fourth Amendment Claim and Stone v. Powell

Lane claims that his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizure was violated because the search warrant issued for his residence was based on a defective affidavit that failed to include sufficient information for a judicial determination of probable cause. Doc. No. 1 at 3-11. Under Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 482 (1976), "where the State has provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim, the Constitution does not require that a state prisoner be granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at his trial." This rule applies to all claims arising under the Fourth Amendment. See, e.g., Cardwell v. Taylor, 461 U.S. 571, 572 (1986) (holding ...


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