Executed November 20, 2008 06:24 p.m. CDT by Lethal Injection in Texas
35th murderer executed in U.S. in 2008
1134th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
18th murderer executed in Texas in 2008
423rd murderer executed in Texas since 1976
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Robert Jean Hudson
B / M / 36 - 45
B / F / 35
Hudson v. Quarterman, 273 Fed.Appx. 331 (5th Cir. 2008) (Habeas).
Fried chicken legs and thighs, sirloin steak, corn on the cob, banana pudding, peach cobbler, chocolate chip ice cream, grape soda and milk.
Hudson repeatedly expressed love to his wife and a friend who watched through a window and ignored four relatives of his victim as they watched through another window into the death chamber. "I will take you to heaven with me, I will always be with you. Now pray with this young man down here and we'll go," he said, nodding to the chaplain who stood at his feet. Hudson then prayed the Lord's Prayer and concluded by again expressing love. "I am yours and we are one. Let's go, warden," he said.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Executed Offenders (Robert Hudson)
Inmate: Hudson, Robert Jean
Date of Birth: 3/4/63
Date Received: 4/6/00
Education: 12 years
Occupation: Barber, Laborer
Date of Offense: 5/7/99
County of Offense: Dallas
Native County: Dallas
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Height: 5' 11"
Prior Prison Record: TDC #413666, rec'd 3/31/86 on a 5-year sentence from Dallas County for 1 count of Burglary of a Habitation, Burglary of a Building and Forgery, released on Parole to Dallas County on 12/18/87; TDC #496636, rec'd 12/28/88 on a 6-year sentence from Dallas County for 1 count of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, released on Parole to Dallas County on 4/6/89; TDC #611273, rec'd 3/31/92 on a 20-year sentence from Taylor County for Forgery by Passing, released on Parole to Dallas County on 10/28/98.
Summary of Incident: Convicted in the May 7, 1999 stabbing death of a 35-year-old black female and the attempted murder of her 9-year-old son. Hudson caught the victim with another man and stabbed her 7 times in the upper torso with a knife. The victim's son tried to intervene and Hudson slashed him 2 times in the throat with a knife. The victim died at the scene and her son ran out of the apartment to a neighbor, who called police. Hudson was arrested at the scene.
Texas Execution Information Center by David Carson.
Robert Jean Hudson, 45, was executed by lethal injection on 20 November 2008 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder and robbery of his ex-girlfriend in her home.
On 6 May 1999 at about 11:00 p.m., Hudson, then 36, telephoned his ex-girlfriend, Edith Kendrick, 35, at her apartment in Dallas County. Hudson heard a man's voice in the background and became upset. He arrived at Kendrick's apartment after midnight. He knocked on the door, but she did not open it. Hudson then began yelling and kicking the door, saying he was going to kill Hudson and her visitor. Hudson kicked the door open. He saw Kendrick standing next to the bed and Michael Spearman getting up from the couch, putting his pants on. Hudson came at Spearman with a knife. When Kendrick intervened, Hudson began swinging the knife at her while Spearman ran outside to call the police from a pay phone. As Hudson was slashing Kendrick, her 8-year-old son, Colby, tried to intervene. Hudson slashed at Colby, inflicting severe cuts on his neck and fingers. Colby ran to a neighbor's apartment, where the police were called. Kendrick also ran outside, but she fell on the balcony and hit her head on the stair rail. Hudson then caught up to her, grabbed her hair, and pulled her backwards. He stabbed her repeatedly and left her in a pool of blood. Kendrick died from seven stab wounds to her upper torso.
Hudson was arrested at a neighborhood convenience store. In Kendrick's apartment, police found an open purse on the couch. Spearman told police that the purse contained cash and a new watch, and that it was not on the couch when Hudson arrived. At the police station, police found a ladies' watch and $275 with blood on it in Hudson's pocket. Hudson confessed to the murder. "I loved Edith", his confession stated. "I am sorry for what happened and have told the truth about the incident."
At Hudson's trial, in addition to his confession and the above evidence, the state presented eyewitnesses who saw the attack on Kendrick's balcony. Witness Michael Munoz testified that he saw Hudson stab Kendrick six to eight times while she was on her back, each time raising his arm as high as he could.
Hudson had three prior felony convictions. He served less than 2 years of a 5-year sentence for burglary in 1986 and 1987. A year later, he was convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and sentenced to 6 years in prison. He was paroled in April 1989 after four months. (At the time, early release was common in Texas due to strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.) In March 1992, he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for forgery. He was paroled in October 1998. State records also show a conviction for murder in 1987, but no details about it were available for this report.
A jury convicted Hudson of capital murder on March 2000 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the verdict and sentence in March 2002. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
In his last statement, Hudson expressed love to his wife and a friend who attended his execution. "I will take you to Heaven with me," he told them. He did not acknowledge the relatives of his victim who attended. He asked the chaplain who stood at his feet to pray with him. Hudson prayed the Lord's Prayer and then said, "I love you, Chantal, I love you baby. I am yours and we are one. Let's go, warden." The lethal injection was then started. He was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m.
Hudson's execution was the 18th and final one in Texas in 2008.
Texas Attorney General
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Media Advisory: Robert Hudson Scheduled For Execution
AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information about Robert Jean Hudson, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on November 20, 2008. In 2000, Hudson was convicted and sentenced to death for the Dallas County capital murder of Edith Kendrick.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
On May 7, 1999, Hudson kicked the door open to Edith Kendrick’s apartment and began stabbing his ex-girlfriend with a knife. When Edith’s eight-year-old son tried to intervene, Hudson inflicted severe knife wounds on the child’s neck and fingers. Edith was able to escape to the stairs of the balcony, where witnesses saw Hudson pull her back and continue to stab her.
Hudson walked away from the crime scene and was arrested by police at a neighborhood convenience store. In addition to the numerous eye witnesses, items from Edith’s apartment were found in Hudson’s possession, and he confessed to the crime.
Jun. 14, 1999 – A Dallas County grand jury indicted Robert Hudson for capital murder.
Mar. 1, 2000 – Judgment was entered after a jury found Hudson guilty of capital murder, and following a separate punishment hearing, the court assessed a sentence of death.
Dec. 4, 2001 – Hudson filed a state writ application in the trial court.
Mar. 6, 2002 – Hudson’s conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal.
Jul. 2, 2003 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied state habeas corpus.
Jun. 30, 2004 – Hudson filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in a federal court.
Sep. 20, 2007 – The federal district court denied Hudson’s habeas petition.
Apr. 9, 2008 – The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Hudson’s request for COA.
Jun. 10, 2008 – The Fifth Circuit Court denied Hudson’s motion for rehearing.
Jul. 22, 2008 – The trial court signed the order setting Hudson’s execution date for November 20, 2008.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY
In 1987, Hudson pled guilty to first-degree murder. Hudson also has prior convictions for burglary of a habitation, burglary of a building, forgery, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
"Convicted killer of Dallas-area woman executed," by Michael Graczyk. (Nov. 21, 2008)
HUNTSVILLE — Convicted killer Robert Jean Hudson was executed Thursday night for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend after he beat down the door and barged into her Dallas-area apartment nearly a decade ago.
Hudson repeatedly expressed love to his wife and a friend who watched through a window and ignored four relatives of his victim as they watched through another window into the death chamber. "I will take you to heaven with me," Hudson said from the death chamber gurney. "I will always be with you." "Now pray with this young man down here and we'll go," he said, nodding to the chaplain who stood at his feet. Hudson then prayed the Lord's Prayer and concluded by again expressing love. "I am yours and we are one. Let's go, warden," he said.
Eight minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow, he was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m. CST.
Hudson, 45, was the 18th Texas inmate put to death this year in the nation's busiest capital punishment state. Edith Kendrick, 35, was killed and her 8-year-old son seriously wounded in the 1999 attack in Mesquite, just east of Dallas.
The nine-member high court, with Chief Justice John Roberts not participating, refused the appeal Thursday from Hudson. Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have granted a reprieve.
Attorneys for Hudson didn't question that the three-time parolee was responsible for the slaying, but faulted his trial lawyers for not presenting to a jury mitigating evidence "that this was a crime of passion, and significantly reduced Mr. Hudson's moral culpability," Maurie Levin, Hudson's lawyer, wrote in her petition seeking a Supreme Court reprieve and review.
Jurors never heard about his unstable childhood, a father with drug and alcohol problems, a mother with psychiatric problems and his own psychiatric treatment and medication to control his behavior and anger, Levin said.
State lawyers opposed the request, saying Hudson's petition presented no reasons for justices to review his case and failed to show any of his constitutional rights were violated.
Hudson had been on parole for only about six months after serving less than seven years of a 20-year term for check forgery when he was arrested for the murder. He had two other paroles and at least eight convictions, including one for a 1987 murder in Dallas for which he took a plea agreement while he already was imprisoned.
Hudson did not testify at his capital murder trial and court records show he'd asked his lawyers not to call any witnesses. At the punishment phase, defense lawyers again called no witnesses while prosecutors called a fingerprint technician to introduce evidence of Hudson's earlier convictions and a jail employee who said Hudson had exposed himself and masturbated in front of her while he was awaiting trial.
Hudson, who declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared, told police when he was arrested that he'd lost control. "I loved Edith," he said in a written statement confession. "I am sorry for what has happened and have told the truth about the incident."
Evidence showed Hudson called Kendrick on the phone and became upset when he heard another man's voice in the background. Armed with a knife, he went to her apartment in Mesquite and kicked in the door, yelling that he was going to kill both of them and started swinging the knife. The other man fled. Kendrick's 8-year-old son got between his mother and Hudson and was severely slashed.
A witness outside in a parking lot saw Kendrick crash from the apartment to a balcony with Hudson grabbing her by the hair, then raising his arm as high as he could as he stabbed her six to eight times. Three wounds went to her heart and records showed any one of them would have killed her.
Kendrick's wounded son called 911 and identified Hudson as the attacker. Police found Hudson at a nearby convenience store. They also found in his pocket a ladies' watch and blood-spattered money, identified as missing from Kendrick's purse. Kendrick's son required several operations to repair scars from his wounds.
"What an unbelievable horror story," Rod Rohrich, a Dallas surgeon who treated the boy and last saw him about two years ago, said this week. "We fixed his scar. It had restricted his range of motion in his neck. ... I think it looks almost normal but, of course, there were the psychological scars."
Hudson's lethal injection was the last scheduled for this year in Texas, which has averaged 26 executions a year over the past decade. This year's total, while accounting for about half of the executions throughout the country, is down in part because of a de facto moratorium on the death penalty nationwide until the Supreme Court earlier this year upheld lethal injection as a proper method.
At least 10 Texas inmates are scheduled to die next year, including six in January.
Dallas Morning News
"Convicted killer executed for stabbing death of ex-girlfriend. (AP Friday, November 21, 2008)
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Convicted killer Robert Jean Hudson was executed Thursday night for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend after he beat down the door and barged into her Dallas-area apartment nearly a decade ago.
Mr. Hudson repeatedly expressed love to his wife, who is from Belgium, and a friend who watched through a window and ignored four relatives of his victim as they watched through another window into the death chamber.
"I will take you to heaven with me," he said from the death chamber gurney. "I will always be with you." "Now pray with this young man down here and we'll go," he said, nodding to the chaplain who stood at his feet. He said the Lord's Prayer and concluded by again expressing love. "I am yours and we are one. Let's go, warden," he said.
Mr. Hudson, 45, was the 18th Texas inmate put to death this year.
Edith Kendrick, 35, was killed and her 8-year-old son seriously wounded in the 1999 attack in Mesquite.
Hours before the execution, the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court denied Mr. Hudson's appeal. Chief Justice John Roberts did not participate in the decision, and Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have granted a reprieve.
Attorneys for Mr. Hudson didn't question that the three-time parolee was responsible for the slaying but faulted his trial lawyers for not presenting to a jury mitigating evidence "that this was a crime of passion, and significantly reduced Mr. Hudson's moral culpability," Maurie Levin wrote in her petition seeking a Supreme Court reprieve and review.
Jurors never heard about his unstable childhood, a father with drug and alcohol problems, a mother with psychiatric problems and his own psychiatric treatment and medication to control his behavior and anger, Ms. Levin said.
State lawyers opposed the request, saying Mr. Hudson's petition presented no reasons for justices to review his case and failed to show any of his constitutional rights were violated.
At least 10 Texas inmates are scheduled to die next year, including six in January.
Robert Jean Hudson was sentenced to death for the murder of Edith Kendrick and the attempted murder of her 9-year-old son.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. on May 6, 1999, Hudson telephoned Edith Kendrick, his ex-girlfriend. Hudson heard a man’s voice in the background and suspected that Edith had another man in her apartment, which upset him. When he arrived at her apartment and knocked on the door she would not open it. Edith was inside the apartment with Michael Spearman. Hudson began yelling and kicking the door, saying that he was going to kill both of them. Hudson kicked the door open and saw Edith standing next to the bed and Spearman getting up from the couch while pulling his pants up. Edith attempted to intervene between Spearman and Hudson, who began swinging a knife at her. Spearman ran out of a second exit and called 911 from a pay telephone.
As Hudson was slashing Edith, her eight-year-old son Colby got between Hudson and his mother. Hudson inflicted severe cuts on Colby’s throat, neck, and fingers, and the boy ran bleeding from the apartment. Edith fled to the stairs at the front balcony where Hudson stabbed her repeatedly.
Witness Michael Munoz testified that he saw the attack from his vehicle in the apartment parking lot. Munoz said he saw Edith come crashing out of the apartment onto the balcony, fall to her knees, and hit her head on the guardrail. According to Munoz, Hudson immediately followed, grabbed Edith’s hair, and pulled her backwards. Munoz testified that while Edith was on her back Hudson stabbed her six to eight times and that he raised his arm as high as he could before stabbing her. Edith was left in a large pool of blood and died from the multiple stab wounds, three of which penetrated her heart. Each of the stab wounds would have been separately fatal.
Police arrived on the scene quickly and found Hudson at a nearby convenience store. They took him back to Edith’s apartment where witnesses identified him. Inside the disarrayed apartment, police found blood splattered all over and an open purse on the couch. Spearman told police that Edith’s purse had contained cash and a new watch, and that it was not on the couch before Hudson arrived. At the police station, police found a ladies’ watch and $275 with blood on it in Hudson’s pocket. Police recovered the knife on the ground outside the apartment, and a witness who worked with Hudson testified that he had seen Hudson carrying a similar knife at work.
After being given his Miranda warnings, Hudson signed a written statement confessing to Edith’s killing. At the punishment phase of trial, the state called only two witnesses. A fingerprint technician introduced evidence of Hudson’s prior convictions, including burglary and a previous murder. A woman who worked at the jail commissary testified that Hudson had exposed himself and masturbated in front of her while he was being held pending trial. The defense called no witnesses at either the guilt/innocence or the punishment stage of trial. In 1986, Hudson was paroled after serving less than 2 years of a 5 year sentence for burglary. He was returned to prison in December 1988 for a 6-year sentence on a car theft conviction, but was paroled in April of the next year. He was sent to prison again in March 1992 on a 20-year sentence for forgery and was paroled after serving 6 and a half years.
Amnesty International has launched an urgent appeal to save the life of Robert Jean Hudson (Texas Death Row). Thank you everyone.
No more Texas executions
I am writing to urge you to prevent the execution of Robert Jean Hudson, who is scheduled to be put to death on November 20, 2008. Robert Hudson committed a terrible crime, and I have nothing but sympathy for the family and friends of the woman he killed, Edith Kendrick, but putting Robert Hudson to death now will not diminish the pain and suffering they have endured.
Robert Hudson has always admitted responsibility for the crime, but his attorneys at trial made little effort to present mitigating evidence that might have prevented him from receiving a death sentence. Family members of Robert Hudson could have testified to his good character and troubled childhood, including the fact that, from an early age, he has needed medication to treat anger management issues. But these family members were never called.
Robert Hudson’s lethal injection would be the last of 6 such executions in Texas this month, and I am very concerned at this rapid pace, particularly considering the many flaws in Texas’ capital punishment and criminal justice systems that have come to light in recent weeks and months. The large number of DNA exonerations that have emerged in Dallas and elsewhere in the state suggest that Texas should be more cautious and careful about carrying out the ultimate irreversible punishment.
I urge you not only to stop this execution, but to bring all executions in Texas to a halt while significant problems with Texas criminal justice remain unaddressed. Thank you for your consideration of this most serious matter.
Facebook (Robert Jean Hudson)
MySpace.Com (Robert Jean Hudson)
Dear Friends, Activists and prospective penfriends. Greetings from Texas Death Row, or should we call it Texas's life row?
I say this because being here in this place, a person goes through a life changing experience one way or the other. He or she tends to learn the true "meaning of life" and sees all life as meaningful and precious. Or he tends to go inside himself and start to hate all that is good and right with humankind. The diversity of its people and the beauty of it. It's a reason we are all different, and that difference bring joy not sorrow to the world. And that's what this isolation and deprivation takes away from you. Your humanest. And then it tends to drive you insane.
I know that's a painful thought but I see it everyday. Now, I'd like to thank you all, the good and decent people of our world for your tireless sacrifices. You all make these sacrifices every year in the name of life, liberty and true justice. Because justice is not a reaction to an injustice, but a standard by which we prove that an injustice has occured. And we all know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the death penalty is a grave injustice... So now we take the country with the greatest might on the face of the planet, shouldn't it also have the greatest capacity for compassion?
This is the government that is suppose to be "of the people, for the people, and by the people", right? But somewhere this translation has been lost. Now it's all about "of the money, by the money, for the money". And if you don't have any of this, then you are on the outside looking it. Now life has come to this in the year 2007. Now this is ashame. Because I thought we as a people had left the dark times in the past. However, because of good people around the world like you, we on death row have hope, and can look forward to a better tomorrow where one doesn't have to worry about a state sanctioning the deaths of its own citizens, just to further the political agendas and careers of another.
Because, this is all the death penalty is, a political tool for politicians to use. And by abolishing the death penalty, you take that tool away from them and they don't want that. But we will one day abolish the death penalty worldwide, and bring together all humankind into the light of day. And this starts with the unity, and a oneness of all humankind pulling together for a common goal. I have been sitting on death row for seven years, and I have lost a host of loved ones and family members, including my father. But I don't hate anyone for everything, because the world was set in motion before we all were even thought of, so I look to change my predicament through positive thinking and the love of others, who know that this is a wrong situation for the wrong reasons. And death is an extreme that no one deserves. I wouldn't wish this heavy a burden on my worst enemy. Because no one should have to suffer this kind of punishment. So who's the demon here?
Who I'd like to meet:
I am looking for friends who want to help in this struggle for life, who want to bring a smile to the faces of people in such a dreary place. My time is spent writing to the woman I love and friends. Because I refuse to let this isolation stop me from reaching out to people in a positive way, and loving life itself. I won't let my predicament dictate how I feel about my fellow man. My out look is still positive and I love people, and I love to bring joy to people's hearts. So if I am to be condamned for being that person then, so be it. They condemned God, or should I say his son for less, so who am I? His son too .... So, if there are friends out there who want to help me I'd appreciate it very much and I'll answer any and all letters honestly and in good faith. I'll return all correspondence written to me. I love sports, reading, music, philosophy, mythology, science, art, good jokes. I also like listening to dreams and mysteries and I hold friendship in the highest regard. So thank you again for keeping the struggle alive, and may we find unity, peace and love in our oneness with each other.
You can send me an email : email@example.com Or a letter : Robert Jean Hudson 999353 Polunsky Unit, 3872 FM 350 South Livingston, Texas 77351
Hudson v. Quarterman, 273 Fed.Appx. 331 (5th Cir. 2008) (Habeas).
Background: After state prisoner's jury conviction of capital murder and death sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, and state habeas relief was denied, prisoner filed federal habeas petition. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, 2007 WL 2735490, denied petition. Prisoner sought certificate of appealability.
Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Reavley, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) reasonable jurists would not have found debatable district court's application of deference under Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) to state habeas court's findings of fact without oral hearing;
(2) reasonable jurists would not have found debatable district court's determination that state habeas court's finding that petitioner failed to demonstrate prejudice was not an unreasonable application of Strickland standard; and
(3) reasonable jurists would not disagree with district court's determination that petitioner failed to show that he was involuntarily medicated and failed to explain how he was affected by administration of medication by state. Certificate of appealability denied.
Robert Jean Hudson was convicted of capital murder in a jury trial in Texas and sentenced to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence on direct appeal, and Hudson unsuccessfully sought both state and federal habeas relief. Hudson now seeks a certificate of appealability (COA) to appeal the district court's denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition. We DENY his request.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. on May 6, 1999, Hudson telephoned Edith Kendrick, his ex-girlfriend. Hudson heard a man's voice in the background and suspected that Kendrick had another man in her apartment, which upset him. When he arrived at her apartment and knocked on the door she would not open it. Kendrick was inside the apartment with Michael Spearman. Hudson began yelling and kicking the door, saying that he was going to kill both of them. Hudson kicked the door open and saw Kendrick standing next to the bed and Spearman getting up from the couch while pulling his pants up.
Kendrick attempted to intervene between Spearman and Hudson, who began swinging a knife at her. Spearman ran out of a second exit and called 911 from a pay telephone. As Hudson was slashing Kendrick, her eight-year-old son Colby got between Hudson and his mother. Hudson inflicted severe cuts on Colby's throat, neck, and fingers, and the boy ran bleeding from the apartment. Kendrick fled to the stairs at the front balcony where Hudson stabbed her repeatedly.
Witness Michael Munoz testified that he saw the attack from his vehicle in the apartment parking lot. Munoz said he saw Kendrick come crashing out of the apartment onto the balcony, fall to her knees, and hit her head on the guardrail. According to Munoz, Hudson immediately followed, grabbed Kendrick's hair, and pulled her backwards. Munoz testified that while Kendrick was on her back Hudson stabbed her six to eight times and that he raised his arm as high as he could before stabbing her. Kendrick was left in a large pool of blood and died from the multiple stab wounds, three of which penetrated her heart. Each of the stab wounds would have been separately fatal.
Police arrived on the scene quickly and found Hudson at a nearby convenience store. They took him back to Kendrick's apartment where witnesses identified him. Inside the disarrayed apartment, police found blood splattered all over and an open purse on the couch. Spearman told police that Kendrick's purse had contained cash and a new watch, and that it was not on the couch before Hudson arrived. At the police station, police found a ladies' watch and $275 with blood on it in Hudson's pocket. Police recovered the knife on the ground outside the apartment, and a witness who worked with Hudson testified that he had seen Hudson carrying a similar knife at work. After being given his Miranda warnings, Hudson signed a written statement confessing to Kendrick's killing. At the punishment phase of trial, the state called only two witnesses. A fingerprint technician introduced evidence of Hudson's prior convictions, including burglary and a previous murder. A woman who worked at the jail commissary testified that Hudson had exposed himself and masturbated in front of her while he was being held pending trial. The defense called no witnesses at either the guilt/innocence or the punishment stage of trial.
II. Standard of review
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) requires a state habeas petitioner to obtain a COA before the petitioner may appeal the district court's denial of relief. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c). A COA may be issued only if the petitioner “has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” Id. § 2253(c)(2); see Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336, 123 S.Ct. 1029, 1039, 154 L.Ed.2d 931 (2003). When, as in this case, the district court has rejected a petitioner's claims on the merits, the petitioner “must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484, 120 S.Ct. 1595, 1604, 146 L.Ed.2d 542 (2000). A petitioner “satisfies this standard by demonstrating that jurists of reason could disagree with the district court's resolution of his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 327, 123 S.Ct. at 1034. “The COA determination under § 2253(c) requires an overview of the claims in the habeas petition and a general assessment of their merits. We look to the District Court's application of AEDPA to petitioner's constitutional claims and ask whether that resolution was debatable amongst jurists of reason.” Id. at 336, 123 S.Ct. at 1039.
Hudson raises three arguments on appeal. He argues that (1) the district court improperly applied the AEDPA's standard of deference to the state habeas court's findings; (2) his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to investigate and present at the punishment phase mitigating evidence in the form of testimony from several family members; and (3) the Dallas County Sheriff's Department forcibly medicated him during trial, which prevented him from effectively assisting his counsel in his defense, interfered with his confrontation rights, and denied him due process of law. We consider each argument in turn.
A. AEDPA deference
In the district court, Hudson argued that the court should not apply the presumption of correctness ordinarily afforded a state court's findings of fact, and instead should review his claims de novo. He reasoned that the state habeas court's findings were not entitled to deference because the state court had adopted verbatim the respondent's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law without granting him a hearing. The district court found no merit to Hudson's claim and held that the presumption of correctness prescribed under the AEDPA for state court findings of fact did not depend on whether the state habeas court elected to hold an oral hearing.
In this court, Hudson challenges the district court's application of deference to the state court's determination. Under the AEDPA, a state court's adjudication of an issue on the merits is entitled to deference. See Hill v. Johnson, 210 F.3d 481, 485 (5th Cir.2000). Federal courts will defer to the state court's decision unless it “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States” or “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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Moreover, a state court's factual findings are presumed correct unless the petitioner rebuts the findings with clear and convincing evidence. § 2254(e)(1). The AEDPA's deferential scheme is mandatory and applies to all claims adjudicated on the merits in state court. Valdez v. Cockrell, 274 F.3d 941, 950 (5th Cir.2001) At the COA stage, this court asks “whether the District Court's application of AEDPA deference ... was debatable amongst jurists of reason.” Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 341, 123 S.Ct. at 1042.
The district court correctly held that deference does not require an oral hearing in the state court. “We have consistently recognized that, to be entitled to the presumption of correctness, a state court need not hold an evidentiary hearing; to the contrary, findings of fact based exclusively on affidavits are generally sufficient to warrant the presumption.” Carter v. Johnson, 131 F.3d 452, 460 n. 13 (5th Cir.1997). Hudson argues that Carter is inapplicable here because the only affidavits before the state habeas court were those that he presented purportedly reflecting trial counsel's failure to investigate mitigating evidence. However, a state habeas judge's findings may be entitled to deference even after a paper hearing when the same judge presided over both the trial and habeas proceedings. Armstead v. Scott, 37 F.3d 202, 208 (5th Cir.1994). This was case here. The state habeas judge was able to evaluate Hudson's numerous state habeas claims, including whether Hudson's affidavits sufficiently showed that counsel should have discovered and offered the specified mitigating evidence, informed by the court's knowledge of the trial proceedings and defense counsel's performance at trial. The lack of an oral hearing in state court thus does not defeat the presumption of deference in this case. See Valdez, 274 F.3d at 951 (holding that “a full and fair hearing is not a precondition to according § 2254(e)(1)'s presumption of correctness to state habeas court findings of fact nor to applying § 2254(d)'s standards of review”).
Hudson's assertion that deference was not required because the state court adopted the respondent's proposed findings and conclusions is similarly without merit. In Trevino v. Johnson, 168 F.3d 173, 180 (5th Cir.1999), a state prisoner claimed that his due process rights were violated because the trial court adopted the state's proposed findings of fact only three hours after they were filed in the court. We denied the petitioner a COA, concluding that a claim of infirmity in the state habeas proceeding does not present a constitutional ground for relief in federal court. Id. Hudson argues that the district court erroneously relied on Trevino to reject his argument against deference because he is not making a due process claim. Rather, he asserts that the state habeas court's adoption of the respondent's proposed findings of fact undermines whether deference should be accorded to the findings. He cites no authority in support of his assertion. More importantly, Hudson makes no showing that the state habeas court failed independently to consider and evaluate the state's proposed findings before adopting them as its own. The state habeas court's adjudication on the merits was entitled to deference under the AEDPA. See Valdez, 274 F.3d at 950. Hudson fails to show that reasonable jurists would find the district court's application of deference debatable. See Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 341, 123 S.Ct. at 1042.
B. Ineffective assistance of counsel
Hudson next argues that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance at the punishment phase of trial because counsel failed to conduct a meaningful investigation into his background to discover mitigating evidence and failed to present such evidence in mitigation. Hudson asserts specifically that counsel should have interviewed four of his family members: Clyde Crawford, his half-brother; Doris Walker, his cousin; Emmitt Williams, his father, who was incarcerated at the time of trial; and Lillie H. Walker, another unspecified relative. Although Hudson acknowledges that counsel talked to Crawford and Doris Walker, he argues that counsel did not ask any of the four relatives about his background.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants the right to the effective assistance of counsel. Sonnier v. Quarterman, 476 F.3d 349, 356 (5th Cir.2007). To obtain habeas relief on grounds of ineffective assistance, a petitioner must show both “that counsel's performance was deficient” and “that the deficient performance prejudiced the defense.” Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). A failure to establish either deficient performance or prejudice defeats the claim. Id. at 697, 104 S.Ct. at 2069.
To demonstrate deficiency, a defendant must show that “counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the ‘counsel’ guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment.” Id. at 687, 104 S.Ct. at 2064. To demonstrate prejudice, a defendant “must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Id. at 694, 104 S.Ct. at 2068. “A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.” Id. The court must “reweigh the evidence in aggravation against the totality of the available mitigating evidence.” Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 534, 123 S.Ct. 2527, 2542, 156 L.Ed.2d 471 (2003). “[T]he question is whether there is a reasonable probability that, absent the errors, the sentencer ... would have concluded that the balance of aggravating and mitigating circumstances did not warrant death.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 695, 104 S.Ct. at 2069.
Hudson argues that defense counsel failed to investigate his mental health. He contends that his four family members were available to testify and would have testified about his childhood problems with anger management, the fact that he was raised by extended family members, his mother's psychological problems, and his lack of a close relationship with his father. He contends that he had behavioral problems as a child for which he was prescribed medication to control his anger and that this information should have been discovered and presented by counsel as mitigating evidence.
An allegation of deficient performance of counsel is measured against an objective standard of “reasonableness under prevailing professional norms.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 688, 104 S.Ct. at 2065. “Generally accepted standards of competence require that counsel conduct an investigation into petitioner's background.” Smith v. Quarterman, 515 F.3d 392, 405 (5th Cir.2008). A reasonable investigation may include inquiring about the client's “medical history, educational history, employment and training history, family and social history, prior adult and juvenile correctional experience, and religious and cultural influences.” Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 524, 123 S.Ct. at 2537 (citing ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Counsel in Death Penalty Cases 11.8.6(C), at 133 (1989) (emphasis removed)). We have recognized that, under the ABA Guidelines, counsel should present “all reasonably available evidence in mitigation unless there are strong strategic reasons to forego some portion of such evidence.” Smith v. Quarterman, 471 F.3d 565, 570 (5th Cir.2006) (quotation marks and citation omitted).
Hudson included with his state and federal habeas petitions affidavits from his four family members, all of whom provided similar information about his childhood and averred that they were available to testify but were never asked by counsel about Hudson's background. We need not decide whether counsel's failure to investigate these family members and discover the information contained in the affidavits would rise to the level of deficient performance because this information lacks significance. Furthermore, Hudson testified outside the presence of the jury that he agreed with defense counsel's strategy not to present any witnesses at the punishment phase of trial. Hudson also acknowledged that counsel had spoken with several members of his family, but it is not clear from the record with whom counsel spoke.
A review of the affidavits and the totality of the evidence at trial fails to reveal the requisite prejudice to Hudson due to any deficiencies in counsel's failure to investigate or present the evidence of Hudson's background. Hudson's half-brother, Crawford, averred that as a child Hudson lived with his father's grandparents and also with Crawford and the boys' mother. He averred that Hudson had a normal childhood and that Hudson was courteous and respectful. He further stated that Hudson graduated from high school and went to college. He stated that Hudson was always employed, that Crawford introduced the victim to Hudson, and that Hudson got along well with the victim and with her children. Finally, he stated that Hudson had a good job at the time of his arrest and was well-liked.
Doris Walker, Hudson's cousin, averred that Hudson's mother was killed by a hit and run driver in 1992 FN1; that Hudson was raised by his grandparents and aunts, as well as by his mother and Walker; that Hudson received unspecified psychiatric care and medication in elementary school “to control his behavior”; that Hudson's mother had unspecified psychiatric problems and “would become hysterical at times”; that Hudson had no trouble finding work and had a good job at the time of his arrest in this case; and that prior to Hudson's arrest, the victim had called her home looking for Hudson.
FN1. The record shows that Hudson was born on March 4, 1963, and therefore was 29 years old in 1992.
Williams averred that he was Hudson's father; that his great grandparents raised Hudson because he was too young and Hudson's maternal grandparents did not want Hudson; that his great grandparents gave Hudson “a good Christian home”; that he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam, after which he developed drug and alcohol problems leading to his incarceration, and he became withdrawn from his son; that he had little contact with Hudson; that he was aware Hudson was prescribed medication to control “his problem managing his anger”; that the medication helped Hudson and was taken until Hudson graduated from high school; that when Hudson's great great grandmother died at about the time he graduated high school, Hudson became more withdrawn and began getting into trouble with the law; that Hudson lived with him for about a year and then went to live with Hudson's mother, who died in 1986 FN2; that Hudson was an obedient and respectful child; and that Hudson appeared able to control himself when he was on medication.
FN2. This is contrary to Walker's affidavit that Hudson's mother died in 1992. In any event, Hudson would have been 23 in 1986.
Finally, Lillie H. Walker averred that she is related to Hudson, although she did not state the relationship; that she has known Hudson for most of his life; that Hudson's mother was killed in 1992; that Hudson was raised by his grandparents and his aunts, as well as by his mother and step-father; that when Hudson was in elementary school he received unspecified psychiatric care and took unspecified medication “to control his behavior”; that Hudson's mother had “psychiatric problems and would become hysterical at times”; and that Hudson had no trouble finding work and had a good job at the time of his arrest.
The state habeas court held that counsel's performance in failing to discover and present this evidence caused no prejudice to Hudson. It found that evidence of Hudson's anger management issues would have been ineffectual because the anger issue did not appear severe or sympathetic, particularly in light of Hudson's “fairly stable upbringing through high school graduation.” The court also found that the evidence of positive character traits from Hudson's family would have appeared biased and of minimal benefit. The state habeas court specifically found no prejudice because the mitigating evidence was minimal in its quality and volume and did not present a sympathetic case. The court held that the statements about Hudson's medication to control his behavior were general in nature, unsubstantiated, and did not indicate that behavioral problems constituted a severe psychological problem that rendered Hudson less morally culpable. The state court concluded that Hudson failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the sentencer would have concluded that the balance of aggravating and mitigating circumstances did not warrant death. The district court held that the state habeas court's finding that Hudson failed to demonstrate prejudice was not an unreasonable application of the Strickland standard.
We conclude that reasonable jurists would not find the district court's assessment of Hudson's claims debatable, Slack, 529 U.S. at 484, 120 S.Ct. at 1604, because we believe that there is no reasonable probability that the background information in Hudson's affidavits would have caused the jury not to vote for a death sentence. We have previously noted that our consideration of this issue is illumined, although not necessarily controlled, by a comparison with cases in which the Supreme Court has determined that counsel's failure to discover and present mitigating evidence likely would have affected the outcome of the sentencing proceedings. Sonnier, 476 F.3d at 360; see Miniel v. Cockrell, 339 F.3d 331, 348 n. 10 (5th Cir.2003) (noting that mitigating evidence in petitioner's affidavits was mild in comparison with evidence supporting ineffective assistance claims in recent Supreme Court cases).
For example, in Wiggins, the petitioner's background evidence, which the Court characterized as “powerful,” showed that the petitioner suffered severe privation and abuse as a young child living with an alcoholic, absentee mother. 539 U.S. at 535, 123 S.Ct. at 2542. He and his siblings were frequently left alone and forced to beg for food and to eat paint chips and garbage. Id. at 517, 123 S.Ct. at 2533. He was physically tortured and beaten and repeatedly raped while in foster care. Id. at 535, 123 S.Ct. at 2542. The petitioner subsequently ran away from the abuse and began living homeless on the streets at a young age. Id. at 517, 123 S.Ct. at 2533. The Supreme Court called this the “kind of troubled history” that is relevant to assessing a defendant's moral culpability. Id. at 535, 123 S.Ct. at 2542. In light of the petitioner's “excruciating life history” and the absence of any record of violent conduct to offset the “powerful mitigating narrative,” the Supreme Court concluded that there was a reasonable probability that the jury, confronted with evidence of the petitioner's background, would have returned a different verdict. Id. at 536-37, 123 S.Ct. at 2543.
Similarly, in Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 395-96, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 1514, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000), the Supreme Court held that an attorney's decision not to present additional mitigating evidence was ineffective where the evidence included “voluminous” and “graphic[ ]” descriptions of the defendant's “nightmarish childhood.” The evidence showed that the petitioner's parents had been imprisoned for criminal neglect; that the home had feces and urine on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink; that the children were dirty and without clothing; and that four of the children were found under the influence of whiskey. Id. The petitioner also had been repeatedly beaten by his father, had been placed in foster care while his parents were in prison, and was returned to their custody upon their release. Id. Moreover, the evidence showed that the petitioner was “ ‘borderline mentally retarded.’ ” Id. at 396, 120 S.Ct. at 1514.
In Rompilla v. Beard, 545 U.S. 374, 391-92, 125 S.Ct. 2456, 2468, 162 L.Ed.2d 360 (2005), the Court held that counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to discover evidence of the petitioner's background showing that petitioner had been reared in a slum environment by severely alcoholic parents who physically and verbally abused him. The petitioner's parents kept him and his siblings isolated in a filthy home without indoor plumbing, forced him to sleep in an attic with no heat, and did not provide clothing for their children, who attended school in rags. Id. at 392, 125 S.Ct. at 2468-69. The petitioner also suffered from organic brain damage, fetal alcohol syndrome, and mental retardation. Id. at 392-93, 125 S.Ct. at 2469.
In contrast, Hudson's half-brother averred that Hudson had a normal childhood, graduated from high school, and attended college. Hudson's father stated that his great grandparents provided Hudson with a good home and that Hudson was an obedient and respectful child. Although the family members averred that Hudson took medication as a child to control his anger, the statements were non-specific and unsubstantiated by any medical records. Hudson averred in his own affidavit that he attended special education from second through eighth grade and that his mother could not provide him with a stable home after he went to live with her due to his grandmother's illness. However, the record shows that Hudson went on to attend college for at least two years as a drama major, and there were no allegations that Hudson was ever traumatized physically or verbally by his parents or by any one else. There also were no allegations that Hudson suffered any form of organic brain dysfunction or mental retardation. Although the affidavits alleged that Hudson's mother suffered vague psychiatric problems, Hudson reported on a psychological evaluation when he was first incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 1986 that there was no family history of mental illness. Dallas County Jail psychiatric records show that Hudson suffered from depression and insomnia, but there is no report of a history of anger control issues. Furthermore, unlike the petitioner in Wiggins, Hudson does have a prior history of violent acts because he previously pleaded guilty to murder.FN3
FN3. To the extent that Hudson's affidavits purported to show that he maintained positive work habits and had a close relationship with the victim, the state habeas court correctly noted that counsel was able to elicit this information effectively during cross-examination of the state's witnesses at trial.
The evidence at trial showed that Hudson broke down the victim's door while yelling that he was going to kill Kendrick and Spearman. Hudson repeatedly slashed and stabbed Kendrick and pulled her back to continue stabbing her as she fled from him. Hudson also attacked and severely injured Kendrick's young son by cutting him several times on the throat and neck. Testimony showed that Hudson repeatedly raised his arm as high as he could before stabbing Kendrick, who suffered slashing and stab wounds to her arms, leg, and chest. Kendrick was left bleeding so profusely that blood pooled around her and dripped from the balcony of her apartment.
On balance, we cannot say that a reasonable jurist would find debatable or wrong the district court's conclusion that Hudson failed to show prejudice from counsel's failure to investigate his four family members and to discover and present their mitigating evidence. Hudson failed to show that his background presented a life history such that there is a reasonable probability that the jury would have found Hudson less morally culpable and imposed a sentence other than death. See Sonnier, 476 F.3d at 360-61; see also Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 26-27, 123 S.Ct. 357, 361, 154 L.Ed.2d 279 (2002) (reversing Ninth Circuit's judgment that California Supreme Court's decision was unreasonable where the state court held that mitigating evidence of petitioner's dysfunctional family, psychological abuse, low self-esteem, and depression would not have overcome aggravating factors of the crime and evidence of prior offenses).
Hudson also argues that defense counsel failed to investigate and introduce evidence that would have mitigated his criminal history. As noted above, the state offered evidence at the punishment phase that Hudson had a prior murder conviction. The evidence was that Hudson had pleaded guilty to murder in 1987. FN4 Hudson argues that his trial counsel should have introduced evidence showing that the charge in that prior murder case had been initially dismissed for lack of evidence and that the conviction was obtained after the case was refiled. He also asserts that counsel should have offered evidence that Hudson was not the shooter in the prior murder case. He argues that there was evidence that a co-defendant had pleaded guilty in the case as part of a plea bargain and that an affidavit for an arrest warrant attached to a prosecution report showed that the co-defendant had shot the victim. Hudson contends that this evidence of his extraneous conduct in the previous murder case would have been admissible and would have mitigated his involvement in that prior offense.
FN4. Hudson states in his brief that he pleaded no contest to the charge. However, the judgment, which is dated June 12, 1987, shows that he pleaded guilty to the offense of murder.
Hudson's argument is unpersuasive. Defense counsel did attempt to mitigate Hudson's role in the prior conviction. Counsel emphasized to the jury that although Hudson was previously convicted of murder, he received a sentence of just five years as part of a plea agreement with the state. Counsel also pointed out the failure of the state to introduce any facts about the prior case to show whether it was violent in nature. Counsel specifically noted that Hudson could have received this low sentence for merely driving a car as part of the offense.
Even assuming arguendo that counsel's performance was deficient because he should have discovered further evidence about the offense, Hudson does not show prejudice and does not demonstrate that the district court's rejection of this claim is debatable. Hudson pleaded guilty to the murder charge. In that case, the arrest warrant affidavit to which Hudson directs us shows that Hudson's fingerprints were found in the victim's apartment where the victim was killed and that Hudson's co-defendant admitted that he and Hudson were both involved in the crime.FN5 In light of Hudson's guilty plea in the killing of another person, and his confession in the instant case, there is no reasonable basis to believe that the jury in this case would have felt inclined not to impose the death penalty for Kendrick's murder merely because Hudson did not pull the trigger when he was previously involved in taking another person's life. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 695, 104 S.Ct. at 2069. FN5. We note also that the prosecution report to which the affidavit was attached stated that it was Hudson who kicked in the victim's door before the co-defendant shot the victim.
C. Forced medication
Hudson next argues that the Dallas County Sheriff's Department forcibly medicated him during trial by prescribing four different drugs simultaneously, which had the effect of rendering him lethargic and unable to focus on the testimony or make rational decisions. He contends that the prescribed medication denied him his right to the effective assistance of counsel, his right of confrontation, and his right to due process.FN6
FN6. Although we have previously expressed some uncertainty whether a claim of involuntary medication is cognizable in habeas, Richardson v. Johnson, 256 F.3d 257, 259 (5th Cir.2001), we need not, and do not, resolve that question here.
The state habeas court extensively reviewed Hudson's medical records from the Dallas County Jail, where Hudson was held awaiting trial. The state court noted that Hudson was first prescribed antidepressant medication in May 1999 after he complained to a jail psychiatrist about depression and an inability to sleep. Hudson's trial began on February 28, 2000. The state court found that in the months prior to and during Hudson's trial, he was prescribed in varying amounts the antidepressants Paxil, Trazodone, and Remeron, all of which are used to treat depression and can cause drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, and/or abnormal dreams and thinking.
The state court found, however, that Hudson failed to show these drugs were forcibly administered. Instead, the court recognized a notation in the medical records showing that Hudson was permitted to keep the medications on his person, suggesting that he was self-medicating. The court further found no evidence in the record that Hudson ever requested that the medication be discontinued. Although Hudson had on at least one occasion refused medical treatment by a nurse, there was no indication Hudson ever attempted to refuse his medication.
The state court also found no showing by Hudson that the medication harmed him. There was no evidence that Hudson ever complained to the medical personnel about excessive drowsiness or lethargy or that he was unable to think. Instead, the medical records showed that Hudson frequently complained about an inability to sleep. He reported that he would sleep for only a few hours each night and had been that way his whole life. Other medical notations showed that Hudson complained that the medication was having no effect on him. The state court found that just four days before trial started, Hudson reported sleeping only from 10:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. and that he engaged in only occasional day-time napping. Therefore, the court found incredible Hudson's claims that the medication incapacitated him.
The court also noted that defense counsel never expressed any concern about Hudson's competency during trial. Moreover, the court found that the record did not support Hudson's claim that the medication effectively prevented him from being present at trial, and the court quoted from a long colloquy between Hudson and defense counsel during voir dire showing that Hudson was consulted and actually participated in certain decisions to excuse prospective jurors. The court further noted that it did not observe Hudson to be sleepy during the trial. The court concluded that Hudson failed to show he could not understand the proceedings and participate in his defense or that he was rendered incompetent due to his ingestion of medication.
The district court agreed that Hudson failed to show he was involuntarily medicated and failed to explain how he was affected by the administration of medication by the state. The district court found that Hudson offered no evidence to controvert the state court's findings, but merely asserted that because the medications were prescribed by the state while he was in state custody they were “in effect” involuntarily administered. The court concluded that the state habeas court's findings were supported by the record and were neither unreasonable nor contrary to Supreme Court law.
On appeal, Hudson argues that inmates have an interest in avoiding forcible ingestion of medication. He relies on Riggins v. Nevada, 504 U.S. 127, 112 S.Ct. 1810, 118 L.Ed.2d 479 (1992), and Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 110 S.Ct. 1028, 108 L.Ed.2d 178 (1990). In Riggins, the Supreme Court held that the forced administration of antipsychotic medication during Riggins' trial, without a finding that the medication was medically appropriate and necessary for the defendant's safety or the safety of others, or that there were no less intrusive means available to obtain an adjudication of guilt or innocence, violated Riggins' due process rights. Riggins, 504 U.S. at 135-36, 112 S.Ct. at 1815. In Harper, the Court held that prison inmates have a due process liberty interest in avoiding the involuntary injection of antipsychotic drugs unless the inmate is dangerous to himself or others and the treatment is in the inmate's medical interest. Harper, 494 U.S. at 227-28, 110 S.Ct. at 1039-40.
Here, Hudson continues to insist that his medication was forcibly administered. He asserts that his own affidavit and the jail medical records support his contention that he was “heavily medicated.” He repeats his claim that the mere prescription of medication by jail medical staff results in a “coercive effect.” Hudson cites no authority for this proposition, and he ignores the evidence cited by the state court and the district court that the medication was prompted by Hudson's own complaints and that Hudson was allowed to keep the medication on his person, thereby suggesting that whether he took it was up to him. He offers no evidence whatsoever to contradict the state habeas court's finding in this regard. Although he claims that the prescription of medication by state agents shows that the medication was “in effect[ ] administered involuntarily,” he ignores the evidence in the record that shows he knew how to refuse treatment. While in the Dallas County Jail Hudson signed a Refusal for Medical Assistance, declining to see the nurse. The same medical refusal form shows that a detainee could also refuse to take his prescription medication, which was not checked on the form. There is no evidence in the record that Hudson ever refused to take his medication or that he did not wish to take it.
Moreover, Hudson also ignores the evidence cited by the state court and the district court that he told the jail medical staff that the medication had no effect on him and that he had problems with insomnia his whole life. Hudson is correct that the dosages of the three medications were adjusted just before trial began. The record shows that on February 24, 2000, Hudson was prescribed 40 mg of Paxil, 30 mg of Remeron, and 200 mg of Trazodone to be taken daily. This represented an increase in the Paxil and Remeron and no change in the Trazodone. A note one month later in March 2000, however, states that while taking the same dosages of each drug Hudson still reported that his “sleep is poor” and that he has only “brief spells of sleeping” from midnight to 4:00 a.m. There is simply no indication in the record that Hudson's medication caused him to become sleepy, lethargic, or confused during his three-day trial, and Hudson offers nothing to contradict the findings of the state court or the district court.
Hudson also baldly asserts that the medication deprived him of the right to be present during his own trial. Mere conclusory allegations are insufficient to raise a constitutional issue in a habeas proceeding. Ross v. Estelle, 694 F.2d 1008, 1012 (5th Cir.1983); see also Yohey v. Collins, 985 F.2d 222, 224-25 (5th Cir.1993) (claims inadequately briefed are deemed abandoned on appeal). Moreover, Hudson ignores the state habeas court's extensive recitation of Hudson's colloquy with defense counsel during voir dire showing that Hudson discussed with counsel the defense's strategy and process for selecting jurors. At one point, Hudson indicated that he agreed defense counsel liked one prospective juror but that counsel had agreed with the state to excuse the juror because Hudson did not want the person on the jury. Hudson also twice indicated on the record that he agreed with counsel's strategy not to call defensive witnesses at the guilt/innocence and punishment phases of trial and that he also agreed that he would give up his right to testify in his own behalf. The colloquies with counsel show that Hudson was consulted during the voir dire and trial process and was able to participate in assisting with his defense.
Hudson fails to show that reasonable jurists would disagree with the district court's assessment of any of his claims or that his claims deserve encouragement to proceed further. See Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 327, 123 S.Ct. at 1034. Accordingly, we DENY Hudson's request for a COA.