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Jaynes v. Mitchell

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

June 2, 2016

CHARLES JAYNES, Petitioner, Appellant,
LISA MITCHELL, Respondent, Appellee.


Christine DeMaso, Assistant Federal Public Defender, with whom Federal Public Defender Office was on brief, for appellant.

Susanne Reardon, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, was on brief, for appellee.

Before Lynch, Circuit Judge, Souter, Associate Justice, [*] and Stahl, Circuit Judge.

SOUTER, Associate Justice.

Charles Jaynes appeals the district court's dismissal of his habeas corpus petition, filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. None of Jaynes's five claims entitles him to habeas relief, and we affirm.


In the summer of 1997, Jaynes, an adult man, befriended Jeffrey Curley, a ten-year-old boy, whom Jaynes often saw in his Massachusetts neighborhood. Jaynes drove a Cadillac and several times took Curley for rides without his parents' knowledge. At one point, Jaynes bought a bicycle and promised to give it to Curley. Jaynes's object in gaining Curley's confidence was to engage him in sexual acts. If Curley refused, Jaynes told a friend, he would be taken care of.

On October 1, Jaynes, along with Salvatore Sicari, another adult, picked Curley up in the Cadillac as the boy was walking his dog. Later that day and evening, the men bought gasoline, duct tape, a large plastic container, lime, and concrete, and traveled to an apartment that Jaynes rented in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they spent the night. Early in the morning of October 2, the Cadillac was seen parked at the Great Works River Bridge in South Berwick, Maine, near the New Hampshire border.

That evening, Jaynes was arrested at a Massachusetts car dealership where he worked. While he was at the police station, the police impounded the Cadillac, which had been left parked on a public street near the dealership, and made an inventory search that yielded a driver's license with a picture of Jaynes (but a different name) and a Manchester address; two rolls of duct tape; and receipts for a bike, a plastic container, lime, and concrete.

Under police questioning, Jaynes admitted that he befriended Curley and drove him around without his parents' permission. He also said that on the evening of October 1 he and Sicari drove to New Hampshire. On October 3, following a confession by Sicari that implicated Jaynes, police conducted a warranted search of Jaynes's New Hampshire apartment and found lime, a label from the plastic container, and Curley's jersey smelling of gasoline. Jaynes's fingerprint appeared on a broken spoon that had been used to mix concrete.

A few days later, Curley's body, along with bits of concrete and lime, was discovered in the Great Works River, inside a plastic container sealed with duct tape. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was poisoning from inhaled gasoline, redness and swelling on the boy's face and upper body indicating that a gasoline-soaked rag had been held over his nose and mouth.

Jaynes was convicted by a Massachusetts jury of kidnapping and second-degree murder, and he brought a consolidated appeal from the convictions and the denial of a new-trial motion. He claimed among other things that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that the murder charge required the Commonwealth to prove that harm preceding death (not just the separately charged abduction) occurred in Massachusetts, and in briefly closing the courtroom to the public, although not to Jaynes or his counsel, during parts of jury voir dire. The Massachusetts Appeals Court (MAC) affirmed, Commonwealth v. Jaynes (Jaynes I), 770 N.E.2d 483 (Mass. App. Ct. 2002), and the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) denied Jaynes's application for leave to obtain further appellate review (ALOFAR).

Jaynes later filed a second motion for a new trial, which the trial court also denied. On appeal, Jaynes argued that inflammatory evidence of his sexual preferences was improperly admitted, evidence from the searches of his car and apartment should have been excluded, his trial counsel was ineffective, and his appellate counsel was, too. Again, the MAC affirmed, Commonwealth v. Jaynes (Jaynes II), 929 N.E.2d 1001 (table), 2010 WL 2813572 (Mass. App. Ct. 2010), and again the SJC denied Jaynes's ALOFAR.

Jaynes then came to federal court with this petition for relief on habeas corpus raising the claims just mentioned. The district court dismissed the petition and granted a certificate of appealability.


"We review the district court's decision to deny habeas relief de novo." Scott v. Gelb, 810 F.3d 94, 98 (1st Cir. 2016). Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), habeas relief shall not be granted with respect to 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 Supreme Court of the United States; 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.

"If the relevant claim has not been adjudicated on the merits in state court, we review that claim de novo." Kirwan v. Spencer, ...

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