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Addai v. Schmalenberger

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 9, 2015

Elijah Addai, Petitioner - Appellant
v.
Robyn Schmalenberger, Warden, North Dakota State Penitentiary, Respondent - Appellee

Submitted October 9, 2014

Page 529

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 530

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of North Dakota - Bismarck.

Elijah Addai, Petitioner - Appellant, Pro se, Bismarck, ND.

For Elijah Addai, Petitioner - Appellant: Paul Henry Myerchin, BORMANN & MYERCHIN, Bismarck, ND.

For Robyn T. Schmalenberger, Warden, North Dakota State Penitentiary, Respondent - Appellee: Ken R. Sorenson, Assistant Attorney General, ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Bismarck, ND.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN and BYE, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 531

BYE, Circuit Judge

Elijah Addai appeals the district court's[1] order denying his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas petition. In his petition, and on appeal, Addai asserts that a brief, consensual courtroom closure during his state court trial violated his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel consented to the closure. We find the district court properly denied Addai's petition and affirm.

I

On August 19, 2007, Addai and a friend gathered with several other people at an apartment in Fargo, North Dakota. David Delonais and his cousin were also present. Arguments erupted and tensions rose leading to a fight between Delonais, Delonais's cousin, Addai, and Addai's friend. During the fight, Delonais stabbed Addai's friend in the head and ran away. Addai followed, caught, and stabbed Delonais. Delonais died at the hospital as a result of his injuries. On August 20, 2007, Addai was charged with one count of class AA felony murder, in violation of North Dakota Century Code section 12.1-16-01(1)(a) for the murder of Delonais. Addai was tried in the District ...


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