United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
E. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
2012, a jury in Milwaukee County Circuit Court convicted
Danyall Lorenzo Simpson of recklessly endangering safety,
aggravated battery, domestic abuse, and failure to comply
with officer's attempt to take a person into custody. Mr.
Simpson challenged his conviction, arguing that he was
deprived of his right to a speedy trial and that he received
ineffective assistance of counsel. The Circuit Court denied
his claim without a hearing, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals
affirmed, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied review. Mr.
Simpson is currently serving ten years of initial confinement
and five years of extended supervision at the Redgranite
2018, Mr. Simpson filed an amended petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254,
alleging that his custody is unconstitutional because he was
deprived of his right to a speedy trial and received
ineffective assistance of counsel. The Respondent opposes the
petition, arguing that Mr. Simpson has failed to meet his
burden of proving that the Wisconsin Court of Appeals'
decision is contrary to, or an unreasonable application of
clearly established federal law, or based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence
presented. For the following reasons, the Court will deny Mr.
2012, a jury found Danyall Lorenzo Simpson guilty of
endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon, aggravated
battery by use of a dangerous weapon, domestic abuse, and
failing to comply with an officer's attempt to take a
person into custody by a jury sitting in Milwaukee County
Circuit Court. See Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus 2. Mr. Simpson was sentenced to ten years of initial
confinement and five years of extended supervision. Pet. 2.
He is currently incarcerated at Oshkosh Correctional
Institution. Pet. 2.
2013, Mr. Simpson filed a direct appeal of conviction
claiming that the trial court erred in ruling that he waived
his right to a speedy trial based on having illicit phone
contact with the victim in the case. Pet. 3. The Wisconsin
Court of Appeals affirmed Mr. Simpson's conviction,
finding that the length of delay between Mr. Simpson's
indictment and the start of his trial was not presumptively
prejudicial. See Court of Appeals Decision 5-6. The
Wisconsin Supreme Court denied Mr. Simpson's petition for
review in September 2014. Pet. 4.
Simpson also sought post-conviction relief in the Wisconsin
state courts, alleging that his trial counsel and
post-conviction counsel provided constitutionally ineffective
assistance. Pet. 4. The Milwaukee County Circuit Court denied
his post-conviction motion, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals
affirmed, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied his petition
for review. Id. at 4-7. In October 2015, the
Wisconsin Court of Appeals denied Mr. Simpson's state
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Pet. 7.
25, 2018, Mr. Simpson filed an amended federal habeas corpus
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, asserting four
grounds for relief: (1) the trial court violated his right to
a speedy trial; (2) trial counsel was constitutionally
ineffective when he failed to move for dismissal of an
improper penalty enhancer; (3) trial counsel was
constitutionally ineffective when he failed to object to
improper closing arguments; and (4) appellate counsel was
ineffective for failing to file a reply brief refuting the
State's arguments. Pet. 8-11. Mr. Simpson was allowed to
proceed on all four claims. See Amended Order on
Rule 4 Review, ECF No. 28. The Petition is now fully briefed
and ready for disposition. See Brief in Support of
Petitioner's Habeas Corpus Petition, ECF No. 37; Brief
Opposing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, ECF No. 48; and
Reply Brief in Support of Petitioner's Habeas Corpus
Petition, ECF No. 50.
Standard of Review
habeas corpus review is governed by the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110
Stat. 1214. Under AEDPA, a prisoner in custody pursuant to a
state-court judgment of conviction is entitled to federal
habeas relief only if he is “in custody in violation of
the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). With respect to
claims adjudicated on the merits in state court, a federal
court can grant an application for a writ of habeas corpus
“only if the state court's decision was contrary to
clearly established Supreme Court precedent, involved an
unreasonable application of such precedent, or was based on
an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in state court.” Promotor v.
Pollard, 628 F.3d 878, 888 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing 28
U.S.C. § 2254(d)); see also White v. Woodall,
134 S.Ct. 1697, 1702 (2014).
legal principle is ‘clearly established' within the
meaning of [§ 2254(d)(1)] only when it is embodied in a
holding of [the Supreme Court].” Thaler v.
Haynes, 559 U.S. 43, 47 (2010) (citing Carey v.
Musladin, 549 U.S. 70, 74 (2006); Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000)). A state-court
decision is “contrary to” clearly established
federal law if “the state court arrives at a conclusion
opposite to that reached by [the Supreme Court] on a question
of law or if the state court decides a case differently than
[the Supreme Court] has on a set of materially
indistinguishable facts.” Williams, 529 U.S.
at 412-13 (opinion of O'Connor, J.).
a state-court decision results in an “unreasonable
application” of clearly established federal law when
that court either “identifies the correct governing
legal rule from [Supreme Court] cases but unreasonably
applies it to the facts of the particular state
prisoner's case” or “unreasonably extends a
legal principle from [Supreme Court] precedent to a new
context where it should not apply or unreasonably refuses to
extend that principle to a new context where it should
apply.” Id. at 407. A writ of habeas corpus
may not issue under the “unreasonable
application” clause “simply because the federal
court concludes that the state court erred. Rather, the
applicant must demonstrate that the state court applied the
Supreme Court's precedent in an objectively unreasonable
manner.” Kubsch v. Neal, 838 F.3d 845, 859
(7th Cir. 2016) (citing Woodford v. Visciotti, 537
U.S. 19, 24-25 (2002)). Thus, the petitioner “must show
that the state court's ruling . . . was so lacking in
justification that there was an error well understood and
comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for
fair-minded disagreement.” Kubsch, 838 F.3d at
859 (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103
state-court factual determination is not unreasonable merely
because the federal habeas court would have reached a
different conclusion in the first instance.” Wood
v. Allen, 558 U.S. 290, 301 (2010). For purposes of
federal habeas review, state-court factual determinations are
entitled to “substantial deference.”
Brumfield v. Cain, 135 S.Ct. 2269, 2277 (2015). To
obtain relief under § 2254(d)(2), a petitioner must
demonstrate that the state-court decision “rests upon
fact-finding that ignores the clear and convincing weight of
the evidence.” McManus v. Neal, 779 F.3d 634,
649 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Goudy v. Basinger, 604
F.3d 394, 399 (7th Cir. 2010)); see also 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(1). “The decision must be ‘so
inadequately supported by the record as to be arbitrary and
therefore objectively unreasonable.'” Alston v.
Smith, 840 F.3d 363, 370 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Ward v. Sternes, 334 F.3d 696, 704 (7th Cir. 2003)).
applying the above standards, federal courts look to
“the ‘last reasoned state-court decision' to
decide the merits of the case, even if the state's
supreme court then denied discretionary review.”
Dassey v. Dittmann, 877 F.3d 297, 302 (7th Cir.
2017) (quoting Johnson v. Williams, 568 U.S. 289,
297 n.1 (2013)).
Simpson maintains that he is entitled to habeas relief
because (1) he was denied his right to a speedy trial; and
(2) his trial, postconviction, and appellate counsel rendered
ineffective assistance, in violation of the U.S.
Constitution. The Respondent argues that Mr. Simpson has
failed to meet his burden of proving that the Wisconsin Court
of Appeals' decision denying his writ of habeas corpus is
contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly
established federal law.
Simpson first argues that his habeas petition should be
granted pursuant to § 2254 because he was deprived of
his right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment. Mr.
Simpson contends that because he did not knowingly,
intelligently, and voluntarily waive his right to a speedy
trial, the trial court's determination was erroneous and
the Court of Appeals' decision affirming such was an
unreasonable application of federal law. Pet'r's Br.
Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to a speedy
trial. See U.S. Const. amend. VI. In Barker v.
Wingo, the Supreme Court established the framework for
evaluating a constitutional speedy trial challenge. 407 U.S.
514 (1972). The Court identified four factors to assess
whether a defendant was denied his right to a speedy trial:
the length of delay, the reason for the delay, the
defendant's assertion of his right, and prejudice to the
defendant. Id. at 530. None of the four factors are
“a necessary or sufficient condition to the finding of
a deprivation of the ...