Ward v. United States, No. 19-6626 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In 28 U.S.C. 2241 proceedings, petitioner sought habeas corpus relief from his military court convictions and sentence, claiming violations of his Fifth Amendment right to due process and Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel.
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the section 2241 petition, but recognized that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is the proper basis for the dismissal of both claims. In regard to petitioner's contention that his Fifth Amendment due process claim was not accorded full and fair consideration by the military court, the court held that dismissal of the claim was proper where the propensity instruction given during his court-martial proceedings was insufficiently prejudicial to entitle him to habeas corpus relief. For similar reasons, dismissal of the Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance claim is proper. In this case, petitioner cannot show a reasonable probability that a challenge to the propensity instruction on direct appeal would have been successful.