United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
JAMES R. GRIFFIN ADC #162792 PETITIONER
WENDY KELLEY, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction RESPONDENT
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) 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 within fourteen (14) days
of the entry of this Recommendation. The failure to timely
file objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal
questions of fact.
before the Court is a § 2254 Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus filed by Petitioner, James R. Griffin
(“Griffin”). Doc. 1. Before addressing
Griffin's habeas claims, the Court will review the
procedural history of the case in state court.
January 11, 2016, Griffin appeared, with counsel, in the
Circuit Court of Craighead County, Arkansas, and, pursuant to
a negotiated plea, pleaded guilty to one count of rape and
two counts of sexual assault in the second degree. State
of Arkansas v. James R. Griffin, Craighead County
Circuit Court Case No. CR 2015-0751 (“state criminal
case”). Griffin was sentenced to an aggregate term
of 360 months imprisonment. Docs. 5-1, 5-2.
did not pursue a direct appeal from his
convictions. Griffin also did not pursue
post-conviction relief under Rule 37 of the Arkansas Rule of
August 17, 2016, Griffin filed a petition for a writ of error
coram nobis in the state criminal case. Doc. 5-4. On
April 21, 2017, having received no ruling on his pending
petition, Griffin filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in
the Arkansas Supreme Court. Doc. 5-5. On April 28,
2017, the Craighead County Circuit Court entered an Order
denying his petition for a writ of error coram nobis, holding
that the alleged basis for relief was not cognizable.
18, 2017, Griffin appealed the Craighead County Circuit
Court's denial of a writ of error coram nobis to the
Arkansas Supreme Court.
8, 2017, Griffin, proceeding pro se, initiated this
§ 2254 action. In his Petition, he alleges three grounds
(1) he is actually innocent of rape, as demonstrated by the
original police report and investigative statements from all
(2) his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective in
failing to discover, from facts readily available in the
police file, information helpful to the defense and in
failing to challenge the prosecution's version of the
(3) his rape conviction was obtained in violation of his due
process rights because it was obtained through fraud, duress,
and mistake on the part of the prosecution team, defense
counsel, and the trial court.
January 18, 2018, the Arkansas Supreme Court held the
Griffin's request for an extension of time to file a
brief in support of his pending petition for writ of error
coram nobis was moot because it was clear from the record
that Griffin could not prevail on appeal. In doing so, the
Court noted that Griffin could not prevail on appeal because
“none of the claims were cognizable in a coram nobis
petition.” Exhibit A at 1.
argues that all of Griffin's habeas claims are
procedurally defaulted. Doc. 5. Griffin has filed a
Reply. Doc. 8. Thus, the issues are joined and ripe
reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that the
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus be denied, and ...