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Frank Reginald Wall v. Kootenai County

March 1, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Mikel H. Williams United States Magistrate Judge


Pending before the Court in this habeas corpus matter is Respondents' Motion for Summary Dismissal.*fn1 (Dkt. 16.) The parties have consented to a United States Magistrate Judge entering all orders, including final judgment, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. 12.) 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 set forth below, the Court will grant Respondents' Motion, and this case will be dismissed.


This case began with an ongoing dispute between Petitioner and his neighbors in Kootenai County about excessive noise coming from his dog kennel. The County revoked Petitioner's kennel license, which meant that he could no longer keep more than five dogs on his property, but he continued to house and maintain nineteen dogs. Eventually, Petitioner was charged with a misdemeanor of operating a kennel without a license, pursuant to a Kootenai County ordinance. (State's Lodging B-6, p. 1.)

Petitioner represented himself at a bench trial in state magistrate court. (State's Lodging A-2.) The magistrate judge found Petitioner guilty and sentenced him to six months in jail, with a $1,000 fine, but the judge suspended ninety days of jail time and $500 of the fine, and placed him on unsupervised probation for two years. (Id. at 97.) The judge further ordered that if Petitioner came into compliance with the county ordinance within thirty days by removing fourteen dogs from his property, the remaining jail term would also be suspended. (Id. at 98.) Petitioner appealed to the district court, however, and the sentence was automatically stayed. (Id.)

The district court judge allowed Petitioner to argue his case and then affirmed the magistrate judge. In doing so, the district judge noted:

The appeal from Judge Marano's decision isn't an appeal from the Board of County Commissioners or any decision that they might have taken.

I've really tried my best to find what the issues are that I could rule on if I had sufficient argument. Entrapment, that was never raised before the Magistrate.

You mentioned that today in your oral argument. I didn't see it mentioned in your brief, but it wasn't raised before the Magistrate. A lack of Miranda rights isn't pertinent to this issue. A lot of complaints about how the county deputies, commissioners, prosecutors handled things. This is not - this isn't a civil case. If you want to file a tort claim, you can, but I can't deal with 99 percent of what you've alleged here. (State's Lodging A-3, pp. 36-37.)

Petitioner next proceeded to the Idaho appellate courts, and the Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed the district court. The Idaho Court of Appeals noted that Petitioner "appears to be asking this Court to grant him injunctive and monetary relief from the judgment entered upon his conviction for operating a dog kennel without a license," and it agreed with the district court that Petitioner's requested relief was not appropriate in a criminal case. (State's Lodging B-6, pp. 2-3.) The two issues that may have arguably been relevant to a criminal matter-a vague claim of entrapment and a claim that Petitioner's kennel was "grandfathered" under an earlier ordinance-were dismissed on procedural grounds because one was not raised below (entrapment) and the other was not supported by argument or authority (grandfathering). (Id.) The Idaho Supreme Court declined to review the case. (State's Lodging B-9.)

On February 1, 2010, Petitioner initiated this matter by filing a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Dkt. 1, pp. 1-15.) In his Petition, Petitioner has again raised a wide assortment of complaints against state and county officials, which this Court has liberally construed as follows:

(1) misconduct by law enforcement officials by "taking evidence without a subpoena, and criminal trespassing for same after being given notification according to state statutes with visible signs, etc., stating 'No Trespassing' and bright orange markings" (construed as a claim arising under the Fourth Amendment); (2) the denial by State officials of "[Petitioner's] Constitutional Rights by generally 'taking sides' on the issue of barking dogs" and "refusing to enforce laws broken by neighbors" (construed as a due process claim arising under the Fourteenth Amendment); (3) prosecutorial misconduct by "causing" Petitioner to waive his right to a jury trial, interfering with his testimony and witnesses, and having a "get [Petitioner]" attitude (construed as Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial claim and a due process claim arising under the Fourteenth Amendment); and (4) errors by the trial judge in (a) admitting inadmissible evidence, (b) threatening Petitioner for failing to answer a question, (c) allowing "the prosecuting attorney to be (definitely) out of order," and (d) failing to conduct a site visit. (Dkt. 5, p. 2.) The Court also advised Petitioner that his claims might be subject to dismissal on grounds not readily apparent at that time. (Id. at 3.)

Respondents have filed a Motion for Summary Dismissal. Respondents contend that all of the claims in the Petition should be dismissed because Petitioner did not properly exhaust his state court remedies by raising the same claims in the state courts, and the time to do so has passed. (Dkt. 16, pp. 1-2.) ...

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