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Waters v. Lockett

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 25, 2013

LEWIS WATERS, Petitioner,
v.
CHARLES LOCKETT, Respondent

Page 110

LEWIS WATERS, Petitioner, Pro se, COLEMAN, FL.

For CHARLES LOCKETT, Warden, Respondent: Carolyn K. Kolben, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 111

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE, United States District Judge.

Petitioner Lewis Waters is serving a lengthy sentence for multiple convictions entered by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that (1) the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (" DCCA" ) deprived him of due process in failing to address certain issues on direct appeal and (2) his appellate counsel deprived him of his Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel. (Pet. for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [Dkt. # 1) at 7-10.) In addition, petitioner claims that the DCCA deprived him of " the right to represent myself" on appeal of the denial of his post-conviction motion under D.C. Code § 23-110 ( id. at 9), and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. (Am. Pet. [Dkt. # 8] at 1.)

The United States contends in its opposition that the petition should be summarily denied because the claims are " meritless" (United States' Opp'n to Pet'r's Pet. for a Writ of Habeas Corpus [Dkt. # 11] at 1-2), and petitioner has replied (Pet'r's Traverse of Resp't's Habeas Reply Brief [Dkt. # 13]. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions and the entire record, the Court finds no basis for issuing the writ and, thus, will deny the petition and dismiss the case.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner, co-defendant Devonne J. Randolph, and an unnamed individual, were indicted on March 28, 2006, on twenty-six criminal charges, including assault with intent to kill while armed (" AWIK" ), aggravated assault while armed, mayhem while armed, malicious disfigurement while armed, armed robbery, first-degree burglary while armed, and kidnapping while armed. (Resp't's Ex. A.) The charges arose from " events that occurred on May 25, 2005, at the home of Aaron Hargrove [who] was held at gunpoint[,] shot and stabbed multiple times," and robbed of cash. ( Ex. C, Randolph v. U.S., Nos. 07-CF-601 and 09-CO-955, slip. op. at 1 (D.C. Jan. 5, 2011.) (hereafter " Slip op." ) In addition, " Hargrove's niece, Shana Hargrove . . ., was held captive and robbed of her cell phone and gloves." ( Id. ) Following a ten-day jury trial in September 2006, petitioner and Randolph were convicted of most counts of the indictment, and petitioner was sentenced on December 20, 2006, to a prison sentence of 81 years. (Ex. B, Order.)

Petitioner noticed his appeal of the convictions on January 16, 2007, and filed a post-conviction motion pursuant to D.C. Code § 23-110 on December 29, 2008, while the appeal was pending. ( See Ex. B.) Following the parties' briefing of the post-conviction motion, the sentencing judge, the Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo, rejected petitioner's contested argument

Page 112

that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial and denied the § 23-110 motion on July 21, 2009, without a hearing. ( See id. at 5-7.) Petitioner noticed his appeal of this order, and the DCCA consolidated this appeal with petitioner's direct appeal filed jointly with Randolph. On January 5, 2011, the DCCA vacated certain convictions it determined were merged but otherwise affirmed petitioner's and Randolph's convictions. ( See generally Slip op.) In addition, the DCCA considered and rejected petitioner's arguments in support of his ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim and affirmed Judge Puig-Lugo's denial of ...


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