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Alexander v. Smith

311 Fed. Appx. 875 (2009)

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Alexander v. Smith

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

311 Fed. Appx. 875 (2009)

Facts

In a habeas corpus proceeding, Gregory Alexander (plaintiff) raised 13 claims challenging his first-degree-murder conviction. One of those claims concerned admission of testimony from an informant, Antonio Postell. Although Alexander and Postell were incarcerated on different floors of the jail, they communicated through the ventilation system. Postell testified at trial that Alexander made incriminating comments to him about the murder, and Postell claimed that he had no prior agreement with the government to elicit Alexander’s statements. Postell later recanted his testimony during Alexander’s federal habeas proceedings and claimed that prosecutors did promise Postell something to elicit Alexander’s statements. Alexander argued that his trial counsel was ineffective by failing to object to Postell’s testimony as a violation of Alexander’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The district court denied Alexander’s habeas corpus petition. It ruled that Postell’s recantation testimony was incredible, adopting the magistrate judge’s factual findings that Postell never had a prior agreement with the government to inform on Alexander, that Postell had no other history as a jailhouse informant, and that the government could not have foreseen that Alexander and Postell would communicate between the jail’s ventilation system. Alexander appealed the denial of his habeas petition.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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