United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. 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 this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
before the Court is a § 2254 Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus filed by Charles Edward Robinson
(“Robinson”), an Arkansas Department of
Correction (“ADC”) inmate. Doc. 1.
Before addressing Robinson's habeas claims, the Court
will review the procedural history of the case in state
December 8, 2014, Robinson appeared in Pulaski County Circuit
Court and pleaded guilty to charges in three separate
. Case No. 60CR-11-3885: aggravated robbery
(with a firearm enhancement), theft of property, and
possession of firearms by certain persons. Robinson was
represented by Kathryn Hudson in this case. Doc.
. Case No. 60CR-13-851: robbery and
theft of property. Jessica Duncan was his attorney in this
case. Doc. 10-3.
. Case No. 60CR-13-933: possession of a
controlled substance with intent to deliver. Duncan was his
attorney. Doc. 10-4.
entering those guilty pleas, Robinson and his attorneys
signed Plea Statements in each of his cases. Those Plea
Statements, marked Court's Exs. 1, 2 &
3, are attached to this Recommendation.
January 15, 2015, Robinson appeared with his attorneys for a
sentencing hearing in the three cases. At the hearing,
the trial court sentenced him, as a habitual offender, to an
aggregate imprisonment term of 60 years, as follows:
. Case No. 60CR-11-3885: 30 years for the
aggravated robbery conviction, plus a consecutive 15-year
firearm enhancement; 30 years for the theft of property
conviction; and 3 years for the firearm-possession
conviction, for a total imprisonment term of 45 years.
. Case No. 60CR-13-851: 30 years for the
robbery conviction, and 30 years for the theft conviction, to
be served concurrently with each other and the sentences in
his other cases. Doc. 10-3.
. Case No. 60CR-13-933: 15 years for
possession of a controlled substance, to be served
consecutively to the 45-year sentence in Case No.
60CR-11-3885. Doc. 10-4.
did not pursue a direct appeal of his convictions or
April 13, 2015, Robinson filed a timely pro se Rule
37 petition in the trial court, arguing that his attorneys
were constitutionally ineffective in all three cases.
Doc. 10-5. However, his only specific claims were
that: (1) Hudson failed to inform him that the prosecutor had
made a plea offer of a fifteen-year sentence, with five years
suspended, in Case No. 60CR-11-3885; and (2) his attorneys
“coerced” him into pleading guilty. Id. at
4-8. On September 2, 2015, the trial court entered an
order denying Rule 37 relief. Doc. 10-6.
March 10, 2016, the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the trial
court's order denying Rule 37 relief. Robinson v.
State, 2016 Ark. 110, 486 S.W.3d 201.
February 6, 2017, Robinson filed this § 2254 habeas
action. Doc. 1. The Court has liberally construed
his pro se habeas papers as raising two claims: (1)
his attorneys were constitutionally ineffective in advising
him to plead guilty in the three cases (Doc. 1 at 5; Doc.
14 at 6-7); and (2) Hudson failed to communicate a
plea offer to him in Case No. 60CR-11-3885 (Doc. 14 at
Response, Respondent argues that the § 2254 action
should be dismissed because the Arkansas Supreme Court
reasonably adjudicated Robinson's ineffective assistance
of counsel claims in his Rule 37 proceedings. Doc.
reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that
Robinson's § 2254 Petition be denied, and that the
case be dismissed, with prejudice.
Robinson's Claim That His Attorneys Were Constitutionally
Ineffective In Advising Him to Plead Guilty
Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 58-59 (1985), the
Court held that review of a challenge to a guilty plea, based
on ineffective assistance of counsel, is governed by the
two-part test set forth in Strickland v. Washington,
466 U.S. 668 (1984). Under Strickland, a defendant
must establish: first, that the attorney's conduct fell
below ''an objective standard of
reasonableness''; and, second, that the
attorney's deficient performance prejudiced the
defendant's defense. Strickland, 466 U.S. at
687-88. In the context of a guilty plea,
''prejudice'' requires a ...