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Allen v. Minnesota Department of Corrections

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

December 12, 2013

Melvin L. Allen Petitioner,
v.
Minnesota Department of Corrections, Respondent.

Melvin L. Allen, 232046, MCF-Faribault, (pro se Petitioner); and

Linda Kay Jenny, Hennepin County Attorney's Office, and Matthew Frank and Jennifer R. Coates, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, (for Respondent).

REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

TONY N. LEUNG, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court, United States Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung, on Petitioner Melvin L. Allen's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No. 1). This matter has been referred to the Court for report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and District of Minnesota Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Petitioner's request for habeas relief be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

The facts of this case have been previously set forth as follows:

On July 31, 2009, appellant Melvin Louis Allen was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The complaint alleged that appellant had sexually abused his then nine-year old daughter, M.A., in July 2009. At that time, appellant lived in Minneapolis with his wife, Victoria Brown, and their four children. During that time, Brown's sister, Latonya Turner and her three daughters were living with appellant and Brown. Appellant also has a 17-year old daughter from a previous relationship, T.A.
In mid-July, Turner and Brown had an altercation and Brown threw Turner out of the house. According to Turner, after they moved out, Turner's daughter, N.S., told her that something had happened concerning M.A. N.S. testified that M.A. told her that appellant "was just touching on her private parts." Turner asked T.A. to speak with M.A. about these allegations. T.A. testified that she asked M.A. if appellant had touched her inappropriately. M.A. said yes. T.A. took M.A. to their neighbor A.P.'s house after their conversation. A.P. testified that she also spoke with M.A. that day and that M.A. told her that "[appellant] made her put his stuff in her mouth" and that "he put his thing between her booty and he put his finger up her vagina."
The next morning, Turner picked up M.A. from A.P.'s house and took her to a park in St. Paul. M.A. told Turner that appellant had been touching her inappropriately. Turner stayed with M.A. for a few hours, and eventually M.A. decided that she wanted to tell police. M.A. told police that "my daddy been touching on me" and then began crying. Police arranged to have M.A. go to Midwest Children's Resource Center (MCRC), where she talked to Beth Carter, an MCRC nurse. M.A.'s interview with Carter was videotaped and played for the jury at trial. During this interview, M.A. discussed the sexual abuse.
Carter also conducted a physical exam of M.A. Carter testified that she did not observe any physical evidence of sexual or physical assault, but that the lack of physical findings was actually consistent with what M.A. described had happened. Carter testified that she did not expect to see any physical findings during the exam.
M.A. testified at trial that appellant touched her "butt, " her "privacy part" and her mouth with "[h]is privacy part" on more than one occasion. M.A. further testified that appellant put his "privacy" in her mouth on another occasion in his room. The state elicited testimony that appellant had also sexually assaulted M.A. while they lived in Chicago and that the first time appellant assaulted M.A., she was six years old.
Sergeant Charles Green of the Minneapolis Police Department testified that he was assigned the case involving appellant and M.A. Sergeant Green testified that he did not attempt to obtain any physical evidence from appellant's home because the sexual abuse occurred nearly a week before he received M.A.'s report of abuse. Sergeant Green analyzed the sexualassault kit provided from the hospital and testified that there was no physical evidence demonstrating the occurrence of a sexual assault.
Ralph Faville, M.D., reviewed M.A.'s physical-examination report and testified for appellant. Dr. Faville stated that the results of the physical exam did not include the "sorts of trauma that [he] would expect to find" in a sexual-assault victim. Appellant also introduced a videotape of a Cornerhouse interview of M.A.'s then five-year-old sister, A.A. During the interview, A.A. implies that appellant sexually abused her. But then, A.A. tells the interviewer that appellant did not touch her and that her "auntie lied." When asked further, A.A. stated that "[m]y mommy didn't do nothing" and "Daddy didn't do nothing." She then stated that "[my auntie] said daddy touched me... [r]ight here and right here."
The jury found appellant guilty of all three counts of criminal sexual conduct. Following the verdict, appellant moved for a new trial, judgment of acquittal, and a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct. Appellant asserted, among other errors, on the ground that the state improperly withheld A.A.'s videotaped interview. The district court denied appellant's motions, reasoning that the videotape was "not necessarily Brady material" and that appellant was not ...

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