Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Budder v. Addison

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

March 21, 2017

KEIGHTON BUDDER, Petitioner - Appellant,
MIKE ADDISON, Warden, Respondent - Appellee.


          Bryan A. Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery, Alabama (Jennae R. Swiergula and James M. Hubbard, Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery, Alabama; Perry W. Hudson, Hudson Law Office, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with him on the briefs), for Petitioner-Appellant.

          Mithun Mansinghani, Deputy Solicitor General (E. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma; Diane L. Slayton, Assistant Attorney General, with him on the briefs), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Respondent-Appellee.

          Before BRISCOE, MATHESON, and PHILLIPS, Circuit Judges.

          BRISCOE, Circuit Judge.

         Keighton Budder was convicted by an Oklahoma jury of several violent nonhomicide crimes committed when he was sixteen years old. After sentence modification on direct appeal, he received three life sentences and an additional sentence of twenty years, all to run consecutively. He will not be eligible for parole under Oklahoma law until he has served 131.75 years in prison. Budder filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, contending, as he did on direct appeal, that his sentence violates the Eighth Amendment. In support, he cites Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), which held that sentencing juvenile offenders who have not committed homicide crimes to life in prison without a meaningful opportunity for release is unconstitutional. The district court denied Budder's petition, and he appeals. We reverse and remand with instructions to grant Budder's petition.


         In the early morning hours of August 11, 2009, when he was sixteen years old, Budder stabbed a seventeen-year-old girl approximately seventeen times and raped her multiple times. On April 1, 2010, an Oklahoma state jury convicted Budder of two counts of first degree rape, one count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and one count of forcible oral sodomy. The jury recommended punishment of life without parole for each of the rape charges, life with parole for the assault charge, and twenty years' imprisonment for the forcible sodomy charge. On May 4, 2010, the state trial court sentenced accordingly and ordered the sentences to run consecutively.

         Less than two weeks later, the Supreme Court decided Graham, which held that "the Eighth Amendment prohibits a state from imposing a life without parole sentence on a juvenile nonhomicide offender." Id. at 75. Budder filed a direct appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) and argued that, under Graham, his sentence was unconstitutional and must be modified. On October 24, 2011, the OCCA modified Budder's two life without parole sentences to life with the possibility of parole, but again ordered all of his sentences (three life sentences and a twenty-year sentence) to run consecutively. Aplt. App. at 238-39.

         Under Oklahoma law, a prisoner must serve 85% of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole. See Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 13.1. For purposes of parole, a life sentence is calculated as 45 years. Anderson v. State, 2006 OK CR 6, ¶ 24, 130 P.3d 273, 282-283 (Okla. 2006). Thus, Budder's sentences are considered to total 155 years, and he must serve 131.75 years before he will be eligible for parole.

         Budder requested rehearing before the OCCA, again relying on Graham, and asked that his sentences be modified to run concurrently rather than consecutively in order to provide him with a potential of parole in his lifetime. The OCCA denied this petition on November 29, 2011. Aplt. App. at 246-47.

         Budder timely filed his petition for habeas relief in federal district court on February 20, 2013. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A); Lawrence v. Florida, 549 U.S. 327, 333 (2007). The magistrate judge issued a Report and Recommendation concluding that Graham controlled and Budder should be resentenced. The district court declined to adopt that recommendation and denied Budder's petition, but granted a certificate of appealability.


         As a habeas court tasked with review of the OCCA's ruling, our review is circumscribed by § 2254(d) of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 92 (2011). "AEDPA erects a formidable barrier to federal habeas relief for prisoners whose claims have been adjudicated in state court." Burt v. Titlow, __U.S.__, 134 S.Ct. 10, 16 (2013). We may reverse the state court's judgment only if the court's decision "was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law" or "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented."[1] 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). This high burden is placed on state habeas petitioners because "habeas corpus is a 'guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, ' not a substitute for ordinary error correction through appeal." Harrington, 562 U.S. at 102-03 (quoting Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 332, n.5 (1979) (Stevens, J., concurring in judgment)). The Court has also cautioned, however, that "'[e]ven in the context of federal habeas, deference does not imply abandonment or abdication of judicial review, ' and 'does not by definition preclude relief.'" Brumfield v. Cain, __U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 2269, 2277 (2015) (quoting Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 340 (2003)).

         Each of AEDPA's three prongs - contrary to clearly established federal law, unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, and unreasonable determination of the facts - presents an independent inquiry. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see also Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404-05 (2000) (holding that the "contrary to" and "unreasonable application" clauses have independent meaning"). Budder argues that the OCCA's decision regarding his sentence is contrary to clearly established federal law, citing that portion of § 2254(d)(1), [2] so we focus on this prong of AEDPA.

          Review under § 2254(d)(1) is a two-step process. See Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 660-63 (2004). The first step is to determine the "relevant clearly established law." Id. at 660 ("We begin by determining the relevant clearly established law."). As used in the context of AEDPA, "[c]learly established Federal law" means only Supreme Court holdings, not the Court's dicta. Id. Federal courts must "look for 'the governing legal principle or principles set forth by the Supreme Court at the time the state court renders its decision.'" Id. at 661 (quoting Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 62, 71, 72 (2003)). Thus, at this stage of the inquiry, we look only to Supreme Court decisions that existed at the time the state court rendered its decision, not at later opinions or opinions from lower courts.

         After the relevant clearly established law has been determined, the second step is to examine the state court's judgment to determine whether it was either "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of" that clearly established law. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1); see also Carey v. Musladin, 549 U.S. 70, 74-77 (2006) (outlining the relevant Supreme Court precedent in Part II.A. and then considering the state court's application of that precedent in Part II.B.); Yarborough, 541 U.S. at 663 ("We turn now to the case before us and ask if the state-court adjudication of the claim 'involved an unreasonable application' of clearly established law . . . ."); Williams, 529 U.S. at 390-98 (discussing, in Part III, the precedent set in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), and then, in Part IV, concluding that the state court's decision was both contrary to and involved an unreasonable application of that precedent). A state court decision is "contrary to" clearly established federal law "if the state court applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth" in Supreme Court cases or "if the state court confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from" a Supreme Court case "and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [that] precedent." Williams, 529 U.S. at 405; Holland v. Allbaugh, 824 F.3d 1222, 1227 (10th Cir. 2016). We must decide in the first instance what governing law has been set forth. Only after we have done so may we determine whether a state court's decision conflicts with that governing law. If we conclude at this ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.