United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
Mark Nordrum, appearing pro se, has filed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He
challenges state court convictions from Vernon County No.
12CF98 for multiple counts of driving while intoxicated and
causing an accident in which he injured another motorist and
her son. The petition is fully briefed and ready for
decision. For the reasons set forth below, I conclude that
Nordrum has failed to show a denial of his constitutional
rights. Accordingly, I will deny his petition.
following facts are drawn from the petition and state court
records provided by Nordrum and the state.
Vernon County No. 12CF98, Nordrum was charged with multiple
offenses for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of
an intoxicant, crashing into another car, and injuring the
driver and passenger in the other car. The underlying
allegations accused Nordrum of driving his friend's truck
into oncoming traffic and causing a head-on collision with
another vehicle. After the crash, the truck ended up in the
front yard of a group home for juveniles. Nordrum denied that
he was the driver of the vehicle in question and proceeded to
a jury trial.
trial, Nordrum's friend Eric Johnson testified that he
and Nordrum spent the evening of July 27, 2012 drinking at
numerous bars. Johnson testified that he and Nordrum rode in
Johnson's truck together, with Johnson driving during the
first part of the evening and Nordrum driving later, when the
crash occurred. Dkt. 15-9, at 150. Johnson testified that
although he could not remember the crash, he thought he hit
his head on the windshield because his face and nose were
bleeding profusely. Id. at 154. (Johnson's
blood-stained shirt was introduced into evidence. Pictures of
Johnson's sandals were also introduced. After the crash,
one of Johnson's sandals was found in the middle of the
truck and the other was near the brake pedal. Id. at
157.) Johnson testified that he had a brief phone
conversation with Nordrum on the morning after the crash,
during which Johnson accused Nordrum of wrecking his truck.
Id. at 167. Nordrum responded that he had not been
Smith, a resident of the group home near the crash, testified
that the crash woke him up, and that he woke up a staff
member, James Satterwhite. Dkt. 15-10, at 7. Smith testified
that he and Satterwhite were outside between 15 to 20 seconds
after he heard the crash. Id. at 8. Smith also
testified that when he arrived outside, he saw Nordrum exit
the driver's side of the truck and later, saw Nordrum run
away through a corn field. Id. at 9.
testified next. He stated that when he arrived outside with
Smith, he saw the driver-side door swing open and saw Nordrum
fall to the ground. Id. at 15. Nordrum told
Satterwhite that there was another person in the truck, and
Satterwhite walked to the truck and looked inside. He saw a
man, later identified as Johnson, “stuck in between the
dashboard, the passenger door, and the seat.”
Id. Satterwhite opened the passenger door and pulled
Johnson out of the truck. Satterwhite testified that there
was blood “all over the center console” and from
the center console to the passenger side door. Id.
at 18. He also said that Nordrum was not bleeding, that
Johnson's head was bleeding, and that there was no blood
on the driver's side of the vehicle. Id. at 19.
Satterwhite testified that Nordrum said to Johnson,
“Come on. Let's go, ” and that Nordrum tried
to start the truck, but it would not start. Id. at
22-23. Sometime later, when emergency vehicles were
approaching, Nordrum put on a shirt, said something to
Johnson, and ran into a corn field. Id. at 27.
first officer to respond to the crash testified that Johnson
was standing near the passenger side of the truck when he
arrived on the scene. Dkt. 15-9, at 255. The officer observed
that Johnson was bleeding and had facial injuries and
appeared to be intoxicated. Id. Another officer
testified that a canine-assisted search for Nordrum was
unsuccessful. Nordrum was arrested two days later, in
Minnesota. Dkt. 15-5, ¶ 6.
bartender from one of the bars that Nordrum and Johnson had
visited on the night of the crash testified that both men
were very intoxicated and that she refused to serve them more
than one drink. Dkt. 15-9, at 133. She did not see which man
was driving the truck when they left. Id. at 135.
analyst from the state crime laboratory testified that a
stain on the driver-side air bag tested positive for blood,
but that there was not enough blood to determine the source
of the blood. Dkt. 15-9, at 206. Three bloodstains were
identified on the passenger-side airbag. Nordrum was the
source of one stain and Johnson was the source of the other
two. Id. at 212. Because the top of the airbag was
not labeled when it was removed from the truck, the analyst
was unable to place the bloodstains in their relative
positions within the truck. Id. at 213.
Johnson's blood was also found on the passenger-side
“A-frame.” Id. at 210.
jury found Nordrum guilty of one count of causing great
bodily harm by operation of a vehicle while under the
influence of an intoxicant; one count of causing bodily harm
by operation of a vehicle while under the influence of an
intoxicant; one count of causing great bodily harm by the
negligent operation of a vehicle; and one count of causing
bodily harm by the negligent operation of a vehicle. He was
sentenced to seven-and-a-half years of initial confinement
and four years of extended supervision.
filed a motion in the circuit court for a new trial, raising
due process and ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
After his motion was denied, Nordrum appealed to the
Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The court of appeals affirmed,