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Maness v. Allbaugh

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

June 28, 2018

BOBBY MANESS, Petitioner - Appellant,
JOE M. ALLBAUGH, Director, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Respondent - Appellee.

          D.C. No. 5:15-CV-01108-D (W.D. Okla.)

          Before LUCERO, HARTZ, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.


          Harris L Hartz, Circuit Judge.

         Applicant Bobby Maness is serving a 15-year sentence in Oklahoma for second-degree rape. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction. He then applied for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, which rejected his claims. Now he seeks a certificate of appealability (COA) to appeal the denial of relief by the district court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A) (requiring COA to appeal final order in habeas proceeding challenging state-court detention). We decline to grant a COA and dismiss the appeal.


         A COA will issue "only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right." 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). This standard requires "a demonstration that . . . includes showing that reasonable jurists could debate whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a different manner or that the issues presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further." Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (internal quotation marks omitted). In other words, the applicant must show that the district court's resolution of the constitutional claim was either "debatable or wrong." Id.

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), provides that when a claim has been adjudicated on the merits in a state court, a federal court can grant habeas relief only if the applicant establishes that the state-court decision was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States," or "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), (2). As we have explained:

Under the "contrary to" clause, we grant relief only if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the [Supreme] Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.

Gipson v. Jordan, 376 F.3d 1193, 1196 (10th Cir. 2004) (brackets and internal quotation marks omitted). Relief is provided under the "unreasonable application" clause only if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from the Supreme Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, a federal court may not issue a habeas writ simply because it concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly. See id. Rather, that application must have been unreasonable. Of course, "AEDPA's deferential treatment of state court decisions must be incorporated into our consideration of a habeas petitioner's request for COA." Dockins v. Hines, 374 F.3d 935, 938 (10th Cir. 2004).

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Sufficiency of the Evidence

         Applicant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction on two grounds. First, he claims that the acts at issue were consensual and the State failed to prove otherwise. Second, he argues that the "testimony was inconsistent and contradictory and uncorroborated, and therefore unreliable, under the beyond a reasonable doubt standard." Aplt. Br. at 4

         The victim was a woman living in a nursing home. She testified at trial that she awoke one day to find Applicant, with whom she was friendly but not romantic, standing over her and touching her private areas beneath the covers. She told him no. Applicant then directed her to stand and remove her clothing, whereupon he continued to touch her sexually. She testified that he grabbed her and she repeatedly told him to stop. Applicant recounted nearly identical details under police questioning and in a written statement but claimed the encounter had been consensual. At trial, however, Applicant denied even touching the victim. Nurses at the home described seeing redness on the victim's chest afterwards, a bruise on her arm that the victim said was related to the incident, and behavior indicating a traumatic experience.

         On appeal the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) ruled that "there was ample evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that [Applicant] forced himself on the victim without her consent and that he committed Second-Degree Rape by Instrumentation." Maness v. State, No. F-2014-568 at 2. Applicant has not shown that a reasonable jurist could debate that the OCCA's ...

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