MICHAEL W. WOOD, Petitioner-Appellant,
JOE M. ALLBAUGH, Director, Respondent-Appellee.
No. 5:13-CV-00628-M (W.D. Okla.)
KELLY, MURPHY, and MATHESON, Circuit Judges.
ORDER DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
Michael R. Murphy Circuit Judge.
Michael W. Wood is an Oklahoma state prisoner who pleaded
guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In 2013, Wood
filed a federal application for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The district court's
disposition of the habeas petition was reversed on appeal and
the matter remanded to the district court. Wood v.
McCollum, 833 F.3d 1272 (10th Cir. 2016) (directing the
district court to vacate its judgment and dispose of
Wood's petition in a manner consistent with Moore v.
Schoeman, 288 F.3d 1231 (10th Cir. 2002)).
remand, Wood moved to amend his habeas petition to delete his
unexhausted claim, leaving the following six claims: (1) the
guilty plea was involuntary because the district court failed
to establish on the record that he was competent to plead
guilty; (2) the guilty plea was unknowing or involuntary
because he misunderstood the potential term of imprisonment;
(3) the guilty plea was not supported by an adequate factual
basis; (4) counsel was constitutionally ineffective in
failing to investigate his mental state, failing to call
witnesses, and exclusively relying on Wood's hearing
testimony to support his motions to withdraw the guilty plea;
(5) the cumulative errors deprived him of a fair hearing and
due process of law; and (6) counsel was constitutionally
ineffective by affirmatively misrepresenting the sentence he
would receive if he pleaded guilty. The matter was referred
to a magistrate judge who prepared a comprehensive,
fifty-two-page Report and Recommendation. Wood filed written
objections to the Report and Recommendation.
district court considered Wood's objections but adopted
the conclusions in the Report and Recommendation, granting
the motion to amend and denying relief on the remaining six
claims. As to Wood's third claim, in which he asserted
that an adequate factual basis to support his plea was never
established, the district court concluded the claim did not
involve a federal constitutional question. See North
Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 37-38 (1970);
Washington v. Workman, 376 Fed.Appx. 823, 824-25
(10th Cir. 2010) (unpublished disposition) ("[C]ourts
are constitutionally required to establish the factual basis
of the plea only if the defendant claims factual innocence
when he pleads guilty."). The district court addressed
Wood's sixth claim, which raised an issue under Hill
v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52 (1985), on the merits because
it was not presented to the OCCA in Wood's direct appeal.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2) (providing federal
courts can deny unexhausted habeas claims on the merits). The
court denied relief on the claim, concluding Wood had not met
his burden under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S.
668, 677-78 (1984). Because Wood's remaining claims
(i.e., claims 1, 2, 4, and 5) were all addressed by the
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ("OCCA") in
Wood's direct appeal, the court applied the standard set
out in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. It
concluded the OCCA's adjudication of the four remaining
claims was not contrary to, nor an unreasonable application
of clearly established federal law. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
pro se, Wood seeks a certificate of appealability
("COA") from this court so he can appeal the
district court's denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2254
habeas petition. See 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(1)(A) (providing that no appeal may be taken from a
final order disposing of a § 2254 petition unless the
petitioner first obtains a COA). This court cannot grant Wood
a COA unless he can demonstrate "that reasonable jurists
could debate whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the
petition should have been resolved in a different manner or
that the issues presented were adequate to deserve
encouragement to proceed further." Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (quotations omitted).
In evaluating whether Wood has carried his burden, this court
undertakes "a preliminary, though not definitive,
consideration of the [legal] framework" applicable to
each of his claims. Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S.
322, 338 (2003). Wood is not required to demonstrate that his
appeal will succeed to be entitled to a COA. He must,
however, "prove something more than the absence of
frivolity or the existence of mere good faith."
Id. (quotations omitted).
court has reviewed Wood's application for a COA and
appellate brief, the Report and Recommendation, the district
court's order, and the entire record on appeal pursuant
to the framework set out by the Supreme Court in
Miller-El and concludes Wood is not entitled to a
COA. The district court's resolution of Wood's claims
is not reasonably subject to debate and the claims are not
adequate to deserve further proceedings.
Wood has not "made a substantial showing of the denial
of a constitutional right, " he is not entitled to a
COA. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). Accordingly, this court
denies Wood's request for a COA and
dismisses this appeal.
Even if Wood's § 2254 petition
could be construed to raise a substantive, rather than
procedural, claim relating to the factual basis of his guilty
plea, he is not entitled to a certificate of appealability.
The OCCA determined a sufficient factual basis existed for
Wood's plea. Reasonable jurists could not debate whether
the OCCA's ruling is contrary to, or an unreasonable
application of, clearly established federal law. 28 U.S.C.
Wood's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis is ...