United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
MITCHELL L. WILLIAMS ADC #84270, Petitioner,
RAY HOBBS, Director Arkansas Department of Correction, Respondent.
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION
J. THOMAS RAY, Magistrate Judge.
The following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. Any party may serve and file written objections to this recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection. If the objection is to a factual finding, specifically identify that finding and the evidence that supports your objection. An original and one copy of your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Clerk no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and recommendations. The copy will be furnished to the opposing party. Failure to file timely objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal questions of fact.
If you are objecting to the recommendation and also desire to submit new, different, or additional evidence, and to have a hearing for this purpose before the United States District Judge, you must, at the same time that you file your written objections, include a "Statement of Necessity" that sets forth the following:
1. Why the record made before the Magistrate Judge is inadequate.
2. Why the evidence to be proffered at the requested hearing before the United States District Judge was not offered at the hearing before the Magistrate Judge.
3. An offer of proof setting forth the details of any testimony or other evidence (including copies of any documents) desired to be introduced at the requested hearing before the United States District Judge.
From this submission, the United States District Judge will determine the necessity for an additional evidentiary hearing, either before the Magistrate Judge or before the District Judge.
Mail your objections and "Statement of Necessity" to:
Pending before the Court is a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Petitioner, Mitchell L. Williams, an inmate in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Docs. 2 & 5. Respondent has filed a Response and supporting exhibits, Docs. 8 & 9, and Petitioner has filed a Reply, Doc. 17. Thus, the issues are joined and ready for disposition.
Before addressing Petitioner's habeas claims, the Court will review the procedural history of the case.
On January 31, 2012, Petitioner appeared in Jackson County Circuit Court and entered nolo contendere pleas to: (1) two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use; and (2) one count of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), second offense. Doc. 5, at 21-28, 50-59. He was sentenced, as a habitual offender, to 240 months of imprisonment. Because his pleas were unconditional, Petitioner waived his right to a direct appeal. Id. at 22; see Ark. R. App. P.-Crim 1(a); Ark. R. Crim. P. 24.3(b) (2012).
On April 17, 2012, Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief under Ark. R. Crim. P. 37. Doc. 5, at 37-44. In his petition, he argued that: (a) his trial attorney disregarded Petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel, acted on behalf of the prosecution, forced Petitioner to accept a plea, and was "intoxicated half of the time"; (b) if counsel had exercised diligence, Petitioner could have gotten a lesser sentence; (c) a "conflict of interest" existed between Petitioner and his attorney; and (d) Petitioner was denied due process of law ...