Submitted: March 9, 2017
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri - St. Louis
RILEY, Chief Judge,  GRUENDER, Circuit Judge, and
SCHREIER,  District Judge.
GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.
White was convicted of first-degree murder, armed criminal
action, and first-degree assault following a jury trial in
Missouri state court. White petitioned for a writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, arguing that the State
failed to disclose that a key prosecution witness received
favorable consideration in exchange for his testimony. The
district court denied White's petition, and we
morning of June 21, 2002, three men with guns approached the
house of Freddie Chew. Chew drew his gun and fired one shot
at the men. In response, the men shot and killed Chew.
Jeffrey Shockley, a friend of Chew who was present at the
scene, later identified White as one of the shooters.
testified at White's trial in January 2004. At the time,
Shockley had state felony charges pending against him for
possession of cocaine and unlawful use of a weapon. On
cross-examination, Shockley admitted that these state charges
were pending. On re-direct, he testified that he had not
received a deal from the State and did not expect to
"get anything" in exchange for his testimony. The
jury found White guilty of all charges, and he was sentenced
to life without parole. Later, Shockley pleaded guilty to his
state felony charges and received a suspended imposition of
sentence and one year of unsupervised probation.
direct appeal, White argued that a delay in his prosecution
violated his right to a speedy trial, that the trial court
erred in overruling his objections to the jury instructions,
and that the trial court erred in preventing defense counsel
from cross-examining Shockley about whether he was returning
to his house to obtain drugs to sell. The Missouri Court of
Appeals affirmed White's conviction. White then filed a
motion for state post-conviction relief with the Missouri
trial court under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15, alleging
ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied the
motion, and the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed.
February 2008, White filed a federal habeas petition,
reasserting the four grounds for relief previously raised in
the state courts. After White filed his habeas petition, one
of his fellow prisoners, Darryl Smallwood, provided him with
an internal public defender conflict-of-interest form
regarding his co-defendant, Juane Kennell. Kennell's
counsel had written on the form that he "learned that
[Shockley's counsel] has negotiated a deal for Jeff
Shockley to testify against [Kennell] . . . as well as
possibly another defendant, Christopher White."
White's counsel then obtained Shockley's guilty plea
transcript, which did not mention a plea agreement but which
revealed that the State had paid to relocate Shockley from
basis of the conflict-of-interest form and the guilty plea
transcript, White amended his habeas petition in September
2009. He added a claim that the State violated Brady v.
Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by failing to disclose the
existence of a deal with Shockley, and he added a claim that
the State violated Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264
(1959), by failing to correct Shockley's testimony that
he did not receive a deal. White also maintained his speedy
trial and ineffective assistance claims but abandoned his
other two claims. By affidavit, White asserted that he had
received the conflict-of-interest form in January 2009.
district court held that White's Brady and
Napue claims were not time-barred under the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
("AEDPA") because they were brought within one year
of January 2009, which the court determined was "the
date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims
presented could have been discovered through the exercise of
due diligence." See 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(D). Nevertheless, the district court denied
White's amended petition, holding that all of White's
claims failed on the merits.
timely filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment,
contending that his habeas petition was denied before he had
completed discovery on his Brady claim. As a result,
the district court granted White an evidentiary hearing.
During the hearing, White and Smallwood both mentioned that
Smallwood had given the conflict-of-interest form to White in
2007 or 2008. Shockley's former defense counsel, Robert
Taaffe, testified that he never obtained a plea agreement for
Shockley and that there was no "secret deal."
Rather, he explained that around the time the
conflict-of-interest form was dated, the State had made an
offer to Shockley, but Shockley declined the offer because it
required him to testify against his brother in another
case. Nevertheless, based on his notes from the
time he represented Shockley, Taaffe suggested that the
prosecutor in White's case "hinted at a nolle,
" meaning that the charges would be dismissed. The
prosecutor also testified and unequivocally denied making any
the hearing, the State disclosed expense records showing
that, in 2002, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Victim
Services Unit had paid for Shockley to stay at a hotel for
one week and later paid him just over $1, 000 to help him
relocate to an apartment in another neighborhood. Despite
this additional evidence, the district court denied
White's motion to alter or amend the judgment. Once
again, the court held that ...