United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Matthew A. Stinnett, United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Henry Mitchell
Stacy's (“Stacy”) petition for writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. [DE 1]. Stacy alleges he
received ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, the
Court requested a response from Respondent. [DE 14].
Respondent did so with Stacy offering no reply. [DE 24]. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends the
District Court dismiss the petition.
January 20, 2015, Stacy accepted a plea deal recommending
life without the possibility of parole on murder, ten (10)
years on robbery in the first degree, enhanced to twenty (20)
years by the persistent felony offender charge, and one (1)
year on tampering with physical evidence enhanced to ten (10)
years by the persistent felony offender charge. [DE 24, at
Page ID # 111-13]. Stacy had been indicted for crimes arising
from his beating, stabbing, and murdering of man in the
course of committing a robbery. [Id. at Page ID #
108-10]. Stacy did not pursue a direct appeal to the Supreme
Court of Kentucky.
October 5, 2015, Stacy filed a RCr 11.42 motion to vacate his
conviction, alleging four grounds for ineffective assistance
of counsel. [Id. at Page ID # 117-35]. The state
court overruled Stacy's motion on June 30, 2017.
[Id. at Page ID # 161-68]. Stacy appealed the
ruling. [Id. at Page ID # 169-83]. The Kentucky
Court of Appeals affirmed the state court's ruling on
July 6, 2018. Stacy then filed the current petition on
January 11, 2019. [DE 1].
petition raises four grounds in support of his ineffective
assistance of counsel claim. [DE 1]. The Respondent
accurately summarizes them as:
Ground 1: Petitioner claims that his trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to utilize a mental health expert to
investigate his past history or perform a functional MRI;
Ground 2: Petitioner claims his trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to file a motion to suppress the fruits of a
Ground 3: Petitioner claims his trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to inform Petitioner about the possibility that
the death penalty might be abolished;
Ground 4: Petitioner claims his trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to pursue a mental health defense.
[DE 24, at Page ID # 72-73; See DE 1]. The arguments
are brief, and each ground is supported by only a few
sentences. [See DE 1]. Stacy includes no supporting
affidavit. Overall, the Court finds these claims lack merit,
both procedurally and substantively.
adequate and independent state ground doctrine states that
“[a] federal habeas court will not review a claim
rejected by a state court if the decision of [the state]
court rests on a state law ground that is independent of the
federal question and adequate to support the judgment.”
Walker v. Martin, 562 U.S. 307, 315 (2011) (citation
and internal quotation omitted). “The state-law ground
may be a substantive rule dispositive of the case, or a
procedural barrier to adjudication of the claim on the
merits.” Id. (citing Wainwright v.
Sykes, 433 U.S. 72, 81-82 (1977)). Even a one ...