United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
BRINKLEY L. BRIDGES, Petitioner,
WARDEN RANDALL HEPP, Respondent.
William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge United States.
Brinkley L. Bridges, who is currently incarcerated at Fox
Lake Correctional Institution, filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner
was convicted after entering a guilty plea in Milwaukee
County Circuit Court, Case No. 2015CF575, on five counts:
possession with intent (Heroin >50g;); possession with
intent (Cocaine >15-40g); possession with intent (THC
>200-1000g); and two counts of felon in possession of a
firearm. Petitioner was sentenced to 18 years of initial
confinement and 20 years of extended supervision. Petitioner
seeks to challenge this conviction. Petitioner filed with his
petition an application for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. He has also, however, submitted the $5 filing
fee. Because he paid the filing fee, his request to proceed
in forma pauperis will be denied as moot.
court must give the petition prompt initial consideration
pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases,
If it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any
attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the
petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner. If
the petition is not dismissed, the judge must order the
respondent to file an answer, motion, or other response
within a fixed time . . . .
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases. During my initial review
of habeas petitions, I look to see whether the petitioner has
set forth cognizable constitutional or federal law claims and
exhausted available state remedies.
corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements .
. . .” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S.
849, 856 (1994) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 2(c)). The
petition must “specify all the grounds for relief
available to the moving party, ” and “state the
facts supporting each ground.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254,
Rule 2(c); see also Borden v. Allen, 646 F.3d 785,
810 (11th Cir. 2011) (“The § 2254 Rules and the
§ 2255 Rules mandate ‘fact pleading’ as
opposed to ‘notice pleading, ’ as authorized
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a).”). The
reason for the heightened pleading requirement in habeas
cases, as the Eleventh Circuit noted in Borden, is
Unlike a plaintiff pleading a case under Rule 8(a), the
habeas petitioner ordinarily possesses, or has access to, the
evidence necessary to establish the facts supporting his
collateral claim; he necessarily became aware of them during
the course of the criminal prosecution or sometime
afterwards. The evidence supporting a claim brought under the
doctrine set forth in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.
83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), for example, may
not be available until the prosecution has run its course.
The evidence supporting an ineffective assistance of counsel
claim is available following the conviction, if not before.
Whatever the claim, though, the petitioner is, or should be,
aware of the evidence to support the claim before bringing
Id. at 810. Were the rule otherwise, federal habeas
would be transformed into “a vehicle for a so-called
fishing expedition via discovery, an effort to find evidence
to support a claim.” Id. at 810 n.31. There is
no reason that a petitioner in a § 2254 case should lack
knowledge of the facts underlying his claim for federal
relief, since he must have first given the state courts a
full and fair opportunity to address it before a federal
court can even consider it.
federal court is authorized to grant habeas corpus relief to
a state prisoner only upon a showing that “he is in
custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The
granting of such relief by federal courts is further limited
by the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), which “significantly
constrain any federal court review of a state court
conviction.” Searcy v. Jaimeti, 332 F.3d 1081,
1087 (7th Cir. 2003). Under AEDPA, habeas corpus relief for
persons serving sentences imposed by state courts may not be
granted on any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in
state court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the United States Supreme Court or (2)
resulted in a decision that 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);
see also Woods v. Donald, 135 U.S. 1372, 1376
(2015). A state court decision is “contrary to . . .
clearly established Federal law” if the court did not
apply the proper legal rule, or, in applying the proper legal
rule, reached the opposite result as the Supreme Court on
“materially indistinguishable” facts. Brown
v. Payton, 544 U.S. 133, 141 (2005). A state court
decision is an “unreasonable application of . . .
clearly established Federal law” when the court applied
Supreme Court precedent in “an objectively unreasonable
manner.” Id. This standard is an
“intentionally” difficult standard to meet.
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011).
“To satisfy this high bar, a habeas petitioner is
required to ‘show that the state court’s ruling
on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking
in justification that there was an error well understood and
comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for
fairminded disagreement.’” Woods, 135
S.Ct. at 1376 (quoting Harrington, 562 U.S. at 103).
petition raises five grounds for relief, all of which derive
from the alleged ineffectiveness of Petitioner’s
counsel for failure to challenge the purported invalidity of
the search warrant obtained to monitor Petitioner’s
cell phone. First, Petitioner claims that his trial counsel
was ineffective for failure to move to suppress evidence
derived from illegal tracking of Petitioner’s cell
phone and from a custodial statement. Second, Petitioner
asserts that his trial counsel “failed to
address” the police’s obtaining a search warrant
without probable cause and based on a misrepresentation in a
police affidavit designed to manufacture such cause. Dkt. No.
1 at 5. Third, Petitioner claims his trial counsel did not
address the police’s reliance on statements of a
confidential informant used to obtain a search warrant
without corroborating the informant’s reliability or
credibility. Fourth, Petitioner claims that his guilty plea
was not knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily entered
because he was prejudiced by his counsel’s errors
described in Ground One. Lastly, Petitioner asserts that his
counsel failed to address how his Mirandized statement was
not attenuated from the search and should have been
suppressed. These grounds are all different iterations of
ineffective assistance of counsel claims, which are
cognizable under § 2254, and since they are all based
upon the claim that trial counsel was ineffective for failing
to challenge the warrant authorizing the use of a tracking
device for Petitioner’s phone, it is to that issue that
did not furnish copies of the official records or relevant
state court opinions with his petition as required by Section
II of this Court’s standard form petition for writ of
habeas corpus. See Rule 2(d), Rules Governing §
2254 Cases; 28 U.S.C. § 2254(g). The Court has obtained
the pertinent records, however, from the Wisconsin Court
System Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP).
Wisconsin Court System – Consolidated Court Automation
visited September 25, 2019). The Wisconsin Court of
Appeals reviewed Petitioner’s arguments with the trial
court record and dismissed Petitioner’s claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel based on his challenge to
the search warrant that he raises again with this Court.
State v. Bridges, 2018 WI App. 66, ¶ 20, 384
Wis.2d 415, 921 N.W.2d 522, review denied, 2019 WI
8, ¶ 3, 385 Wis.2d 208, 923 N.W.2d 159. The Wisconsin
Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition for review
on December 12, 2018.
review of the decision of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals
affirming Petitioner’s conviction and the order denying
his motion for postconviction relief reveals that the state
court’s decision was neither contrary to, nor an
unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law.
The court noted that the affidavit supporting the warrant for
the tracking device established probable cause to believe
that Petitioner was involved in an ongoing drug trafficking
operation. A confidential informant had reported to police
that Petitioner sold heroin out of a business named C&B
Computers and was traveling to Chicago every three weeks to
obtain a kilogram of heroin and sometimes cocaine as well.
The informant made statements against penal interest about
his own participation in the distribution of heroin,
indicating the price and amount of heroin he purchased from
Petitioner, delivery arrangements, and the date and time of
the most recent delivery. The informant estimated the total
amount of heroin he had received from Petitioner at one-half
kilogram. He provided police with Petitioner’s mobile
phone number and his address. Police were able to corroborate
the phone number, the location of the business, and the
address of Petitioner’s residence.
rejecting Petitioner’s claim that his trial counsel
provided ineffective assistance in failing to challenge the
warrant, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals concluded that this
evidence was sufficient to establish the probable cause to
believe that criminal activity was in progress and that
tracking Petitioner’s communications device would yield
information relevant to an ongoing investigation, as
Wis.Stat. § 968.373(3)(e) required. In reaching its
conclusion the state court explicitly cited and applied the
totality of the circumstances test for probable cause set
forth in the Supreme Court’s decision in Illinois
v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983). State v.
Bridges, 2018 WI App. 66, ¶ 10. The court noted
that the informant’s statements to police were against
his penal interest and specific details provided by the
informant were corroborated by the police.
Gates, this is sufficient to establish probable
cause. At least, the state court’s conclusion was not
contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly
established federal law. See United States v.
Harris, 403 U.S. 573, 583 (1971) (“People do not
lightly admit a crime and place critical evidence in the
hands of the police in the form of their own admissions.
Admissions of crime, like admissions against proprietary
interests, carry their own indicia of credibility-sufficient
at least to support a finding of probable cause to
search.”) (plurality opinion); United States v.
Barnes, 909 F.2d 1059, 1069 (7th Cir. 1990) (noting than
an informant’s admission against his penal interest
supports the informant’s credibility). The fact that
the informant did not state that Petitioner uses his phone to
conduct his drug trafficking operation does not detract from
the probable cause. Police were seeking to track Petitioner,
not listen in on his phone conversations. And because any
challenge to the warrant authorizing ...