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Sanders v. Foster

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 20, 2019

QUORDALIS V. SANDERS, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN FOSTER, Respondent.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          NANCY JOSEPH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Quordalis V. Sanders, a prisoner in Wisconsin custody, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Sanders was convicted of exposing his genitals to a child, disorderly conduct, causing a child to view sexually explicit conduct, and stalking, all as a repeat offender. He was sentenced to two years of imprisonment and three years of extended supervision. Sanders contends that his conviction and sentence are unconstitutional. For the reasons stated below, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus will be denied and the case dismissed.

         BACKGROUND

         In December 2013, Sanders was charged in Racine County with exposing his genitals to a child, disorderly conduct, causing a child to view sexually explicit conduct, and stalking, all as a repeat offender. (Docket # 26-2.) The charges stemmed from repeated complaints by the teenaged victim, E.M., who testified that Sanders would park outside the restaurant where she worked and watch her, and twice exposed himself and engaged in lewd behavior while watching her. (Trial Day Two Transcript at 20-36, Docket # 35-1 at 19-35.)

         Following a two-day jury trial, Sanders was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to five years, consisting of two years of imprisonment and three years of extended supervision. (Docket # 26-2.) Sanders filed a postconviction motion arguing ineffective assistance of counsel, and a Machner hearing was held. (Docket # 32-9.) Counsel for Sanders filed a no-merit brief in the court of appeals (Docket # 26-3), to which Sanders responded (Docket # 26-4). On August 30, 2017, the court of appeals summarily affirmed the judgment of conviction. (Docket # 5-1 at 1-9.) The court denied Sanders' motion for reconsideration on June 2, 1017. (Docket # 5-1 at 12.) The Wisconsin Supreme Court denied review on February 13, 2018. (Docket # 5-1 at 10.) On June 2, 2017 Sanders repeated his arguments in a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the court of appeals (Docket # 26-6), which was dismissed on September 29, 2017 for failure to serve process (Docket # 5-1 at 17).

         Sanders filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this court on April 19, 2018 (Docket # 1), and an amended petition on May 21, 2018 (Docket # 5).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Sanders' petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). Under AEDPA, a writ of habeas corpus may be granted if the state court decision on the merits of the petitioner's claim (1) was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States," 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1); or (2) "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding," 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2).

         A state court's decision is "contrary to ... clearly established Federal law as established by the United States Supreme Court" if it is "substantially different from relevant [Supreme Court] precedent." Washington v. Smith, 219 F.3d 620, 628 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000)). The court of appeals for this circuit recognized the narrow application of the "contrary to" clause:

[U]nder the "contrary to" clause of § 2254(d)(1), [a court] could grant a writ of habeas corpus . . . where the state court applied a rule that contradicts the governing law as expounded in Supreme Court cases or where the state court confronts facts materially indistinguishable from a Supreme Court case and nevertheless arrives at a different result.

Washington, 219 F.3d at 628. The court further explained that the "unreasonable application of clause was broader and "allows a federal habeas court to grant habeas relief whenever the state court 'unreasonably applied [a clearly established] principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.'" Id. (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413).

         To be unreasonable, a state court ruling must be more than simply "erroneous" and perhaps more than "clearly erroneous." Hennon v. Cooper, 109 F.3d 330, 334 (7th Cir. 1997). Under the "unreasonableness" standard, a state court's decision will stand "if it is one of several equally plausible outcomes." Hall v. Washington, 106 F.3d 742, 748-49 (7th Cir. 1997). In Morgan v. Krenke, the court explained that:

Unreasonableness is judged by an objective standard, and under the "unreasonable application" clause, "a federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly. Rather, that application must also be unreasonable."

232 F.3d 562, 565-66 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 411), cert, denied,532 U.S. 951 (2001). Accordingly, before a court may issue a writ of habeas corpus, it must determine that the state court decision was both incorrect and ...


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