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Montoya v. Jones

October 12, 2010

CARLOS MONTOYA, PETITIONER,
v.
WARDEN KIM JONES, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This habeas corpus case has been reassigned to the undersigned District Judge because not all parties consented to a United States Magistrate Judge exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. 20.)

Currently pending before the Court is Respondent's Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal. (Dkt. 17.) The Court finds that decisional process would not be aided by oral argument, and it will resolve this matter on the record after consideration of the parties' written submissions. D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Respondent's Motion, and Claims 1 through 4 in the Petition will be dismissed.

BACKGROUND

After a jury trial in state court, Petitioner was convicted of three counts of lewd conduct with a child under sixteen, and he was sentenced to three concurrent terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole. (State's Lodging A-1, pp. 48-64.) His convictions and sentences were affirmed by the Idaho Court of Appeals on direct appeal, and the Idaho Supreme Court declined to review the case. (State's Lodgings B-6, B-7.)

Petitioner next submitted an application for post-conviction relief. (State's Lodging C-1, pp. 1-8.) The state district court denied the application, and Petitioner's appeal from that decision was still pending when he filed his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in federal court. (Dkt. 5.) Magistrate Judge Larry M. Boyle conducted an initial review of the Petition and stayed the federal case until the state court appeal was completed. (Dkt. 8.) On August 25, 2009, the case was reopened. (Dkt. 12.)

In his Petition, Petitioner claims that (1) the prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct, and the trial court failed to correct the misconduct, depriving Petitioner of his right to a fair trial; (2) Petitioner's life sentences violate the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment in the Eighth Amendment; (3) Petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated; (4) Petitioner was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel; and (5) a fatal variance between the charging document and the jury instructions violated Petitioner's rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Dkt. 5, pp. 2-5.)

Respondent has filed a Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal, arguing that Petitioner did not fairly present Claims 1 through 4 to the Idaho Supreme Court and that those claims must be dismissed as procedurally defaulted. (Dkt. 17.) Petitioner has submitted a Reply/Obj[section] to Respondent's Brief (Dkt. 19), and the Court is now prepared to issue its ruling.

STANDARD OF LAW

1. Fair Presentation

A habeas petitioner must first exhaust his state court remedies before a federal court can grant relief on a constitutional claim. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). To exhaust state court remedies properly, the petitioner must have fairly presented his constitutional claims, giving the state courts a full and fair opportunity to correct the alleged error at each level of appellate review. Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27 (2004).

The mere similarity between a state law claim and a federal claim does not constitute fair presentation of the federal claim, and general references in state court to broad constitutional principles, such as due process, equal protection, and the right to a fair trial, are likewise insufficient. See Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365-66 (1995) (similarity of claims is insufficient); see also Hiivala v. Wood, 195 F.3d 1098, 1106 (9th Cir. 1999) (appeal to broad principles insufficient). The petitioner must ordinarily cite the federal constitutional provision that supports his claim, federal cases that apply the constitutional rule, or state court cases that clearly analyze the federal claim. Lyons v. Crawford, 232 F.3d 666, 670 (9th Cir. 2000); Peterson v. Lampert, 319 F.3d 1153, 1158 (9th Cir. 2003). Additionally, if the petitioner fundamentally alters the claim by pleading new ...


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