B. Failure to Investigate and Advise Petitioner Regarding Involuntary Intoxication Defense
In his amended petition, Petitioner asserts that he told his attorney that he was under the influence of the prescription medication Zoloft at the time he committed the crimes. Petitioner also asserts that his attorney was familiar with his prior mental health history. Therefore, he complains that counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate involuntary intoxication as a possible defense.
ROBERTS v. SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
BRIAN ROBERTS, Petitioner,
SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Respondent.
Case No. 8:07-CV-1352-T-27TBM.
United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division.
September 10, 2010.
JAMES D. WHITTEMORE, District Judge.
Petitioner, a State of Florida inmate, petitions for the writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and challenges the validity of his plea-based convictions for armed burglary, armed robbery, and three counts of sexual battery (Dkt. 36). Respondent filed a response to the amended petition (Dkt. 50), and Petitioner filed a reply to the response (Dkt. 52). Upon consideration of Petitioner's claims, the Court has determined that they either have no merit or are procedurally barred. Thus, Petitioner's request for federal habeas relief (Dkt. 36) is DENIED.
On May 14, 1998, Petitioner was charged by Information with armed robbery, armed burglary, and three counts of sexual battery (Respondent's Ex. 1, Vol. I at pgs. 157-62). On August 9, 2000, the state trial court found Petitioner incompetent to proceed, and ordered Petitioner involuntarily committed to a treatment facility (Id. at Vol. II at pgs. 218-19). On March 12, 2001, the state trial court entered an Order Appointing Committee to Re-Evaluate [Petitioner's] Competence to Proceed (Id. at pgs. 229-30). Following competency re-evaluations and hearings, the state trial court found Petitioner competent to proceed on November 6,2001 (Id. at Vol. III at pgs. 448-51). On February 19, 2002, Petitioner pleaded guilty to the charges (Id. at pgs. 453-70).[ 1 ] On April 4, 2002, Petitioner was sentenced to 450 months imprisonment, to be followed by 10 years probation (Id. at pgs. 520-26).
Petitioner appealed. On December 10, 2003, the appellate court per curiam affirmed Petitioner's judgment of conviction (Respondent's Ex. 5); Roberts v. State, 872 So. 2d 908 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003) [table]. Petitioner's motion for rehearing was denied on February 5, 2004 (Respondent's Ex. 7).
On June 21, 2004, Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 3.850 ("3.850 motion") (Respondent's Ex. 9, Vol. II at pgs. 156-96). On July 19, 2004, the state trial court denied, in part, Petitioner's 3.850 motion, and ordered the State to respond to the remaining claims (Id. at pgs. 197-99). On March 8, 2005, the state trial court denied all but one of Petitioner's remaining claims (Id. at pgs. 238-40). Finally, following an evidentiary hearing on Petitioner's remaining claim, the state trial court denied the last remaining claim on May 11, 2005 (Id. at pgs. 273-74). Petitioner appealed. On September 27, 2006, the appellate court per curiam affirmed the denial of Petitioner's 3.850 motion (Respondent's Ex. 13); Roberts v. State, 939 So. 2d 105 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003) [table]. The appellate court mandate issued on October 18, 2006 (Respondent's Ex. 14).
By then, Petitioner filed a motion to correct illegal sentence pursuant to Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 3.800(a) ("3.800 motion") on July 3, 2006 (Respondents Ex. 19). The state trial court denied the 3.800(a) motion on December 7, 2006 (Respondent's Ex. 20). Petitioner appealed. The appellate court per curiam affirmed the denial of Petitioner's 3.800(a) motion on April 18, 2007 (Respondent's Ex. 22); Roberts v. State, 954 So. 2d 34 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007) [table]. The appellate court mandate issued on May 9, 2007 (Respondent's Ex. 23).
By that time, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of appellate counsel on November 21, 2006 (Respondent's Ex. 16). On December 13, 2006, the state district court denied the petition (Respondent's Ex. 17); Roberts v. State, 945 So. 2d 518 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) [table].
On July 27, 2007, Petitioner constructively filed his federal habeas petition in the instant action (Dkt. 1).[ 2 ] On May 8, 2008, the Court granted Petitioner's motion for the appointment of counsel (Dkt. 26). On August 26, 2008, counsel for Petitioner filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Pro Se Petition (Dkt. 29). The Court granted the motion (Dkt. 32). On January 21, 2009, counsel for Petitioner filed an amended petition (Dkt. 36).
Standards of Review
Under 28 U.S.c. § 2254(d) and (e) as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), this Court's review of the state court's factual findings must be highly deferential. Such findings are presumed to be correct unless rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. Similarly, the state courts' resolutions of issues of law-including constitutional issues-must be accepted unless they are found to be "contrary to" clearly established precedent of the Supreme Court of the United States or involved an "unreasonable application" of such precedent. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362 (2000). It is not enough that the federal courts believe that the state court was wrong; it must be demonstrated that the state court decision was "objectively unreasonable." Id. Breedlove v. Moore, 279 F.3d 952 (11th Cir. 2002).
A § 2254 application cannot be granted unless a petitioner "has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State; …" 28 U.S.C. 2254(b)(1)(A); Snowden v. Singletary, 135 F.3d 732, 735 (11th Cir. 1998). In other words, the state prisoner must give the state courts an opportunity to act on his claims before he presents those claims to a federal court in a habeas petition. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). See also, Henderson v. Campbell, 353 F.3d 880, 891 (11th Cir. 2003)("A state prisoner seeking federal habeas relief cannot raise a federal constitutional claim in federal court unless he first properly raised the issue in the state courts.")(quoting Judd v. Haley, 250 F.3d 1308, 1313 (11th Cir. 2001)); Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364 (1995)("[E]xhaustion of state remedies requires that the state prisoner `fairly present' federal claims to the state courts in order to give the State the `opportunity to pass upon and correct alleged violations of its prisoners' federal rights[.]"') (citation omitted).
Under the procedural default doctrine, "if the petitioner has failed to exhaust state remedies that are no longer available, that failure is a procedural default which will bar federal habeas relief, unless either the cause and prejudice or the fundamental miscarriage of justice exception is applicable." Smith v. Jones, 256 F.3
d 1135, 1138 (11th Cir. 2001). "The doctrine of procedural default was developed as a means of ensuring that federal habeas petitioners first seek relief in accordance with established state procedures." Henderson, 353 F.3d at 891 (quoting Judd v. Haley, 250 F.3d at 1313).
Pre-AEDP A decisions from the Supreme Court establish the framework governing procedural default in federal habeas cases. A procedural default will only be excused in two narrow circumstances. First, petitioner may obtain federal habeas review of a procedurally defaulted claim if he shows both "cause" for the default and actual "prejudice" resulting from the default. "Cause" ordinarily requires petitioner to demonstrate that some objective factor external to the defense impeded the effort to raise the claim properly in the state court. Henderson, 353 F.3d at 892; Marek v. Singletary, 62 F.3d 1295, 1302 (11th Cir. 1995).
To show "prejudice," the petitioner must show "not merely that the errors at his trial created a possibility of prejudice, but that they worked to his factual and substantial disadvantage, infecting his entire trial with error of constitutional dimensions." Hollis v. Davis, 941 F.2d 1471, 1480 (11th Cir. 1991)(quoting United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 170 (1982)). The petitioner must show that there is at least a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different. Henderson, 353 F.3d at 892.
Second, a petitioner may obtain federal habeas review of a procedurally defaulted claim, without a showing of cause or prejudice, if such review is necessary to correct a fundamental miscarriage of justice. Edwards v. Carpenter, 529 U.S. 446, 451 (2000); Henderson, 353 F.3d at 892. This exception is only available "in an extraordinary case, where a constitutional violation has resulted in the conviction of someone who is actually innocent." Henderson, 353 F.3d at 892. The fundamental miscarriage of justice exception concerns a petitioner's "actual" innocence rather than his "legal" innocence. Johnson v. Alabama, 256 F.3d 1156, 1171 (11th Cir. 2001) (citing Calderon v. Thompson, 523 U.S. 538,559 (1998)); Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 495-96 (1986) (explaining a "fundamental miscarriage of justice" occurs "in an extraordinary case, where a constitutional violation has resulted in the conviction of someone who is actually innocent"). To meet this standard, a petitioner must "show that it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted him" of the underlying offense. Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 327 (1995). In addition, "`to be credible,' a claim of actual innocence must be based on [new] reliable evidence not presented at trial." Calderon, 523 U.S. at 559 (quoting Schlup, 513 U.S. at 324) (explaining "given the rarity of such evidence, in virtually every case, the allegation of actual innocence has been summarily rejected") (internal quotation marks omitted). The Schlup Court stated the petitioner must show constitutional error coupled with "new reliable evidence whether it be exculpatory scientific evidence, trustworthy eyewitness accounts, or critical physical evidence that was not presented at trial." Schlup, 513 U.S. at 324. This fundamental miscarriage of justice exception is not available unless "the petitioner shows, as a factual matter, that he did not commit the crime of conviction." Ward v. Cain, 53 F. 3d 106, 108 (5th Cir. 1995)( denying certificate of probable cause)(footnote omitted).
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Standard
The right to counsel provision of the Sixth Amendment provides the accused the right to effective assistance of counsel. McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771 n. 14 (1970). To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a Petitioner must meet the two-part test set forth in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Strickland's two-part test requires a Petitioner to demonstrate "that the counsel's performance was deficient" and "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceedings would have been different." It is presumed that a "lawyer is competent to provide the guiding hand that the defendant needs." United Stales v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 658 (1984). Thus, "the burden rests on the accused to demonstrate a constitutional violation." [d. A defendant is required to prove both prongs of the Strickland test. [d. at 697. If a claim fails to satisfy the prejudice component, the court need not make a ruling on the performance component.
The Strickland test is applicable "to ineffective assistance claims arising out of the plea process." Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 57 (1985). To succeed in this claim, "a petitioner must prove "serious derelictions on the part of counsel sufficient to show that the plea was not, after all, a knowing and intelligent act." Downs-Morgan v. United States, 765 F.2d 1534, 1539 (11th Cir. 1985). The first prong requires the petitioner to show that his plea was not voluntary because he received advice from counsel that "outside the wide range of professionally competent assistance." Strickland, 466 U.S. at 690. The second prong requires the petitioner to show "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's errors, he would not have pleaded guilty and would have insisted on going to trial." Hill, 474 U.S. at 59. .
In Ground One of his amended petition, Petitioner contends that his pleas of guilty were entered in violation of his substantive and procedural due process right not to be tried and convicted while incompetent. Specifically, he asserts that he presented clear and convincing evidence of his delusional and psychotic behaviors at the time he pleaded guilty. Further, he' asserts that the state trial court ignored bona fide doubts regarding his competency, and failed to conduct an adequate hearing to determine his competence.[ 3 ]
The conviction of a legally incompetent person violates due process. Pate v. Robinson, 383 U.S. 375, 378 (1966). The test for competency to stand trial or plead guilty is the same: whether a defendant has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and whether defendant has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him. Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402, 402 (1960). Petitioner bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that he was incompetent to stand trial or plead guilty. Battle v. United States, 419 F.3d 1292, 1298 (11th Cir. 2005).
A. Procedural Due Process Competency Claim
Petitioner raises a procedural due process competency claim. Specifically, Petitioner asserts that although the state trial court held a competency hearing, it was inadequate. Petitioner argues that the competency hearing was inadequate because the trial court "relied almost exclusively on the opinion of competency rendered in a `stale' report by Dr. Watson, whose last evaluation of Petitioner Roberts had occurred on January 12, 2001."[ 4 ] Petitioner further argues that in making its competency determination, the trial court relied on Dr. Watson's report and testimony which concluded that Petitioner was malingering symptoms, while ignoring
Dr. Dee and Dr. McClane's testimony that Petitioner had consistently been prescribed anti-psychotic medications, and that the tests Dr. Watson gave to Petitioner "did not accurately reflect malingering for the purpose of determining competency."
Respondent asserts, inter alia, that Petitioner's procedural due process competency claim is unexhausted and procedurally barred (Dkt. 50 at pgs. 9-12). In his reply, Petitioner asserts that his procedural competency claim is exhausted and not procedurally barred (Dkt. 52 at pgs. 7-8).
The Court agrees with Respondent.
"A state prisoner seeking federal habeas relief cannot raise a federal constitutional claim in federal court unless he first properly raised the issue in the state courts." Henderson, 353 F.3d at 891. "A claim is procedurally defaulted if it has not been exhausted in state court and would now be barred under state procedural rules." Mize v. Hall, 532 F.3d 1184, 1190 (11th Cir. 2008). In state court, Petitioner did not present a federal procedural due process competency claim on direct appeal from his conviction (Respondent's Ex. 2). He did not present the state appellate court with the claim that the trial court's inadequate competency hearing was a violation of his federal procedural due process rights. See Duncan, 513 U.S. at 365 ("exhaustion of state remedies requires that petitioners fairly present federal claims to the state courts in order to give the State the opportunity to pass upon and correct alleged violations of its prisoners' federal rights"). Instead, he asserted that Dr. Watson's testimony was unauthorized under the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure (Respondent's Ex. 2). Thus, Petitioner's procedural due process competency claim is not exhausted for purposes of federal habeas review.
This issue is now procedurally barred from review in the state courts because the state procedural rules do not provide for a second direct appeal. See Taylor v. McDonough, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68092 (M.D. Fla., Sept. 13, 2006) (unpublished opinion); Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.850(b), (g). Thus, this Court cannot consider Petitioner's claim unless he can make a showing that the cause and prejudice or the fundamental miscarriage of justice exception is applicable.
Petitioner does not present any argument to demonstrate cause or prejudice that would excuse his default. Moreover, he has neither alleged nor shown that the fundamental miscarriage of justice exception applies. Absent such a showing, a federal habeas court should not discuss the merits of a claim that has been procedurally defaulted in state court. Kight v. Singletary, 50 F.3d 1539, 1543 (11th Cir.1995)). Accordingly, Petitioner's procedural due process competency claim is procedurally defaulted.
B. Substantive Due Process Competency Claims[ 5 ]
In Wright v. Moore, 278 F.3d 1245 (11th Cir. 2002), the Eleventh Circuit stated that
- "`a petitioner raising a substantive claim of incompetency is entitled to no presumption of incompetency and must demonstrate his or her incompetency by a preponderance of the evidence.'" Medina, 59 F.3d at 1106 (quoting James v. Singletary, 957 F.2d 1562, 1571 (11th Cir. 1992)). Only "[a] petitioner who presents clear and convincing evidence creating a real, substantial, and legitimate doubt as to his competence to stand trial is entitled to a hearing on his substantive competency claim." Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). The point is that on this claim, "the standard of proof is high and the facts must positively, unequivocally, and clearly generate the legitimate doubt" about whether the petitioner was mentally competent when he was tried. Id. (internal quotation marks, brackets, and citation omitted). "Not every manifestation of mental illness demonstrates incompetence to stand trial; rather, the evidence must indicate a present inability to assist counselor understand the charges." 59 F.3d at 1107 (internal quotation marks, brackets, and citations omitted).
Id. at 1259. "A presumption of correctness attaches to a state court's finding of competence and a federal habeas court must determine that the finding is not `fairly supported by the record' before it may overturn a state courts' decision." Medina, 59 F.3d at 1106 (quoting Maggio v. Fulford, 462 U.S. 111, 117 (1983)).
After consideration of the record, the Court concludes that the state court's finding that Petitioner was competent is "fairly supported by the record," and Petitioner has failed to create a legitimate and substantial doubt regarding his competency at the time that he entered his plea. A review of the testimony presented during the competency hearings, and the medical experts' reports regarding Petitioner's competency, demonstrates that the state court's conclusion that Petitioner was competent to proceed is fairly supported by the record.
Petitioner presented two experts, Dr. Dee and Dr. McClane, who had examined him and rendered opinions that he was not competent to stand trial. Dr. Dee testified that Petitioner "was incompetent as a result of a delusional disorder …" (Id. at p. 243). The delusion Petitioner suffered was that his attorneys and all those involved in the legal system were involved in a joint conspiracy against him (Id. at p. 278; Petitioner's Ex. 25). Petitioner also told Dr. Dee that the plot against him was being carried out by the "Illuminetti Society" which is a secret association of white people who persecute black people (Id. at p. 247; Petitioner's Ex. 25). Dr. Dee was "absolutely convinced" that Petitioner was incompetent to proceed with trial (Respondent's Ex. 1, Vol. II at p. 278). On cross examination, however, Dr. Dee admitted that Petitioner's performance on the MMPI-2 test probably indicated that Petitioner was "faking bad." (ld. at p. 294). Dr. Dee testified that "faking bad" is "malingering, making yourself seem more impaired than you are." (Id. at p. 295). His April 15, 2001 report indicated that Petitioner's performance on the MMPI-2 test "may well have represented some attempt to make himself seem much worse and/or a plea for help." (Petitioner's Ex. 25). On cross examination, Dr. Dee testified that he could not "vouch for [Petitioner's] truthfulness about everything. I think he believes a certain amount of it, and I certainly would grant that there are times that he seems to be malingering." (Respondent's Ex. 1, Vol. II at p. 309).
Dr. McClane testified that Petitioner suffered from a psychotic disorder (Respondents' Ex. 1, Vol. II at p. 334). Although it was Dr. McClane's opinion that Petitioner was not competent to proceed to trial, he testified:
- I don't hold that opinion with quite as much confidence because I believe he's probably malingering some of his symptoms. And since he's malingering some, one have [sic] to be a little more skeptical of the core symptoms that he's had all along of the delusions about the entire legal system, and he brings into that the mental health system as it impacts the legal system.
(Id. at p. 343).
Dr. McClane testified that Petitioner was able to appreciate: 1) the charges against him; 2) the range and nature of the possible penalties; and 3) the adversarial legal process (ld. at pp. 346-47). He testified, however, that Petitioner's delusions that "nobody in the [legal] system is trustworthy … [a]nd the doctors and the defense attorneys and the prosecutors and the judge are all in cahoots against him …" "are such as to warp his judgment in assisting his attorney, in trusting his attorney, in sifting data for possible plea negotiations,
these kinds of things …" (ld.). When asked "But for some reason you believe [Petitioner is] telling the truth about his delusional order[?] …" Dr. McClane responded, "I believe so. But as I said earlier, I believe so a little less strongly now that I have the testing, the data." (Id. at p. 350). Dr. McClane, who only saw Petitioner in a clinical setting, admitted that if he suspected a patient was not telling the truth about his delusional beliefs, he would want to see the patient in a "non-clinical setting[.]" (Id. at p. 366).
When questioned by the state court, Dr. McClane testified that when he met with Petitioner, Petitioner was able to communicate to him a coherent version of the facts relating to the crimes (Id. at p. 376). He was not sure, however, whether Petitioner could communicate the same facts to his attorney because "of his thorough distrust of every attorney that he's dealt with." (Id. at pp. 376-77).
Dr. McClane's September 11, 2001 report regarding his evaluation of Petitioner indicated that he believed Petitioner had a delusional disorder, but was also malingering some of his symptoms (Petitioner's Ex. 24). Dr. McClane could not, however, "completely rule out the possibility that [Petitioner] could be malingering all of his symptoms." (Id.). His report also indicated that Petitioner "still appears to have a Delusional Disorder, but his descriptions of the hallucinations are exceedingly unusual for Schizophrenia or a Delusional Disorder, and he may be malingering them." (ld.). Dr. McClane concluded that Petitioner's "competence is still very questionable because of his apparent delusions regarding the criminal justice system." (Id.).
The State called Dr. Glen Watson, a forensic psychologist at Florida State Hospital where Petitioner was committed for six and one-half months (Respondent's Ex. 1, Vol. IV at pp. 571-656). During Petitioner's stay at Florida State Hospital, Dr. Watson observed Petitioner "on a casual basis" almost every day (ld. at p. 591). He also met with Petitioner once a week in the "competency training groups." (ld.). Finally, he met with Petitioner once a month for formal evaluations (Id.). Dr. Watson concluded that Petitioner did not have" a major mental illness that would render him incapable of proceeding to trial." (ld. at p. 592). Dr. Watson reached this conclusion because: 1) the staff at the hospital reported that Petitioner did not exhibit any bizarre behavior; 2) the symptoms he was reporting to Dr. Watson during their formal meetings, memory loss and hallucinations for example, were wholly inconsistent with his behavior at the hospital; and 3) the tests conducted on Petitioner indicated that he was malingering (Id. at pp. 592-605). Petitioner was sent for a CT scan and EEG, and those tests were negative for any brain damage (Id. at p. 616). In his January 19, 2001 report, Dr. Watson concluded that Petitioner did understand the proceedings against him, and could "converse with his attorney and help in his own defense." (Petitioner's Ex. 20).
The record reflects that all three medical experts indicated that Petitioner had a factual understanding of the proceedings against him. Dr. Dee, however, did not believe Petitioner was competent to proceed because he had a delusional disorder regarding the legal system that prevented him from assisting his attorney.[ 6 ] Dr. Watson concluded that Petitioner did have a factual understanding of the proceedings, could consult with his attorney and help in his own defense, and was malingering his symptoms. Dr. McClane concluded that Petitioner's competence was "very questionable because of his apparent delusions regarding the criminal justice system." Dr. McClane, however, believed Petitioner was "malingering some of his symptoms," could not rule out that Petitioner was "malingering all of his symptoms," and did not have "much confidence" in his opinion that Petitioner was not competent to proceed (Respondents' Ex. 1, Vol. IT at p. 343).
Although the experts differed in their opinions, the record does not raise a substantial or legitimate doubt that the state court's determination that Petitioner was competent to proceed was unreasonable. Further, Petitioner has not presented any evidence that during the plea and sentencing hearings he exhibited any abnormal behavior, did not understand the proceedings, or was unable to assist his attorney. See Wright, 278 F.3d at 1259 ("The best evidence of Wright's mental state at the time of trial [the only time that counts] is the evidence of his behavior around that time, especially the evidence of how he related to and communicated with others then."). The transcripts of those hearings reflect that Petitioner expressed himself clearly and coherently, expressed remorse for his crimes, and appropriately responded to the court's questions[ 7 ] (Respondent's Ex. 1, Vol. III at pgs. 453-470; 497-99).
In sum, the record fairly supports the state courts' determination that Petitioner was competent to proceed. The record also supports the conclusion that Petitioner was competent at the time he entered his plea. Petitioner's substantive due process competency claim, therefore, fails on the merits.
In Ground Two, Petitioner raises three claims of ineffective assistance of counsel: 1) counsel was ineffective in failing to adequately investigate and present Petitioner's mental health and competency issues; 2) counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate and advise Petitioner that he had a defense of involuntary intoxication; and 3) counsel was ineffective in failing to raise a double jeopardy objection to the three sexual battery charges, and in advising Petitioner to plead guilty to all three, rather than one, of the sexual battery charges.
Initially, Ground Two must be denied as barred by entry of Petitioner's voluntary guilty plea. It is well-established state and federal law that guilty or nolo contendere pleas waive all but jurisdictional claims up to the time of the plea. See United States v. Broce, 488 U.S. 563 (1989)(when the judgment of conviction upon a guilty plea has become final and the offender seeks to reopen the proceeding, the inquiry is ordinarily confined to whether the underlying plea was both counseled and voluntary); Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258, 266-67 (1973)(holding that a guilty plea represents a break in the chain of events that preceded it in the criminal process).
The waiver by plea includes claims of ineffective assistance which do not implicate the validity of the plea. See Wilson v. United States, 962 F.2d 996 (11th Cir. 1992) (pre-plea ability, and it does work. It helps me to think clear, and patiently." (Id. at pg. 499). ineffectiveness waived); Matthew v. Johnson, 201 F. 3d 353, 364 (5th Cir. 2000) (noting longstanding rule that valid guilty plea bars habeas review of non-jurisdictional claims alleging antecedent violations of constitutional rights). By entering a voluntary guilty or no contest plea, a defendant relinquishes the right to a jury trial, to assistance of counsel, to raise a defense, and to confront his or her accusers. See Broce, 488 U.S. at 573 (1989) (relinquishment derived not from inquiry into defendant's subjective understanding of range of potential defenses, but from admissions necessarily made upon entry of voluntary guilty plea). In the instant case, Ground Two concerns complaints about trial counsel's preplea performance. By entry of his voluntary guilty plea, Petitioner relinquished any right he may have had to challenge the effectiveness of counsel regarding alleged antecedent violations of constitutional rights.
In any event, even if not waived by the entry of the plea, Petitioner would not be entitled to habeas corpus relief on his ineffective assistance of counsel claims.