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Goodwin v. Kelley

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

February 14, 2018

WENDY KELLEY, Director of the Arkansas Department of Correction RESPONDENT



         The following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.


         Charles Edward Goodwin (“Goodwin”) seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. Goodwin is currently in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”) as a result of a 2007 Ouachita County jury trial, where he was found guilty of aggravated robbery and attempted capital felony murder. Goodwin, an habitual offender, was sentenced to life imprisonment. In his direct appeal, Goodwin raised three claims[1] for relief. Goodwin v. State, 373 Ark. 53 (2008). The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed Goodwin's conviction. Id. Goodwin filed a timely Rule 37 petition with the trial court in June 2008, alleging three instances where his trial counsel was ineffective.[2] The trial court denied Rule 37 relief by Order dated December 2, 2011. Docket entry no. 10-4. Goodwin filed a notice of appeal but did not tender the record to the Arkansas Supreme Court in a timely fashion. As a result, on December 6, 2012, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied Goodwin's motion to proceed with his Rule 37 appeal. See docket entry no. 10-5, page 4 fn 1. In June 2015, Goodwin filed a petition to reinvest jurisdiction in the trial court to consider a writ of error coram nobis. The Arkansas Supreme Court denied this request in September 2015, noting the writ of error coram nobis to be an “extraordinarily rare[3] remedy, ” and finding no basis for coram nobis relief. Docket entry no. 10-5, page 1.

         On July 10, 2017, Goodwin filed his federal habeas corpus petition, alleging the following claims for relief:

1. He is actually innocent;
2. He was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal;
3. The trial court erred in admitting crime scene photographs and photographs of the victim into evidence over objections; and
4. His attorney on appeal had a conflict of interest because he had also served as trial counsel.

         Goodwin also filed an amended petition for habeas corpus relief on December 21, 2017. Although styled as an amended petition, it is more properly characterized as a further expansion of Goodwin's actual innocence assertion. He alleges his innocence to aggravated robbery because the prosecution did not prove he stole anything and did not produce a weapon. He claims aggravated robbery cannot be the predicate felony to support the charge of attempted capital murder. He cites faulty eyewitness and lineup identification[4] from the photo array shown to witnesses and from the trial. Finally, he alleges there was no DNA or blood evidence to connect him to the crimes.

         Respondent Wendy Kelley (“Kelley”) contends that the statute of limitations bars consideration of these claims, and also that claims 2 and 4 are procedurally defaulted. By Order dated September 26, 2017, Goodwin was notified of his opportunity to explain why the petition should not be dismissed. He has responded to the Court's Order. Docket entry no. 17. Before turning to the merits of the claims, we first consider if the petition is properly before the Court.

         Statute of Limitations: Section 101 of 28 U.S.C. 2244 (as amended) imposes a one year limitations period on petitions for writ of habeas corpus:

(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of--
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made ...

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