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Sills v. Litteral

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

November 9, 2018

DENNIS EARL SILLS PLAINTIFF
v.
KATHY LITTERAL, Warden DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THOMAS B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Dennis Sills's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. [R. 1]. The Magistrate Judge filed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Recommendation. [R. 17]. Sills filed objections thereto. [R. 18]. Having conducted a de novo review of the Magistrate Judge's report, the Court ADOPTS the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Recommendation as set forth in the report submitted by the Magistrate Judge. [R. 17]. For the reasons stated herein, Sills's objections are DENIED. The Court will enter a separate Order and Judgment consistent with this Memorandum Opinion.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Dennis Sills was found guilty of murdering Lisa Roach (“Roach”) and sentenced to thirty-five years' imprisonment by a Christian County, Kentucky Jury. [R. 17 at 1]. The Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed Petitioner's conviction on direct appeal. Sills v. Commonwealth, No. 2016-SC-000292-MR, 2017 WL 3631962 (Ky. Aug. 24, 2017). On direct appeal, Petitioner only presented one claim: “The trial court erred in allowing improper hearsay evidence of prior bad acts.” [R. 13-1 at 41 (Petitioner's brief to Kentucky Supreme Court on direct appeal)]. Petitioner has not filed any post-conviction collateral attack proceeding in state court. [R. 17 at 1]. The only claim that Petitioner has presented to the state courts is the trial error claim presented to the Kentucky Supreme Court on direct appeal. Id. After the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed Petitioner's conviction, he filed the petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 that is before this Court. In his habeas petition, Petitioner presents nine claims.[1] The claims are as follows:

1. Petitioner's counsel was ineffective for failing to call witnesses to rebut evidence of domestic violence and death threats;
2. The trial court erred by failing to call Petitioner's family to testify;
3. The trial court erred by preventing Petitioner's counsel from asking a witness about a phone call in which Petitioner allegedly expressed fear of Roach;
4. A testifying officer improperly commented on Petitioner's silence;
5. The trial court erred when it did not instruct the jury on extreme emotional disturbance or voluntary intoxication;
6. Petitioner's appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to present certain claims on appeal;
7. Three jurors may not have been impartial;
8. The trial prosecutor engaged in misconduct by using Petitioner's history of domestic violence and threats against Roach;
9. The trial prosecutor engaged in misconduct when the testifying officer commented on ...

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