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Jason Paul Heinze v. Pam Sonnen

November 7, 2011

JASON PAUL HEINZE, PETITIONER,
v.
PAM SONNEN,*FN1 RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Edward J. Lodge U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

Pending before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Motion to Expedite filed by Petitioner Jason Paul Heinze (Petitioner). (Dkt. 1, 9.) Earlier in this matter, United States Magistrate Judge Mikel H. Williams issued an Initial Review Order notifying Petitioner that his Petition appeared subject to dismissal. (Dkt. 7.) Petitioner has filed an Affidavit in response to the Order. (Dkt. 8.)

The Court now reviews the record to determine whether the Petition is subject to summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243 or Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.

REVIEW OF PETITION, INITIAL REVIEW ORDER, AND AFFIDAVIT

1. Standard of Review

A habeas corpus petition must allege that the petitioner is held in custody under a state court judgment and that such custody violates the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Upon the filing of a habeas corpus petition, the Court is required to review the petition upon receipt to determine whether it is subject to summary dismissal. Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.

Summary dismissal of the petition is appropriate where "it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court." Id. Judge Williams has analyzed each legal ground upon which Petitioner asserts entitlement to relief. This Court agrees with Judge Williams's thorough analysis of the laws as they apply to Petitioner's claims.

The conviction at issue is one count of forgery, to which Petitioner pled guilty in the Fourth Judicial District Court in Ada County, Idaho in Case No. CR-FE-2004-0000129 (formerly Case No. H0400129). In Petitioner's Affidavit, he avers that he was sentenced under the Unified Sentencing Act to a term not to exceed six years. He violated his probation twice, the second time in 2006, at which time his probation was revoked. Petitioner requested either credit for time spent on probation or refund of the cost of supervision at the time of revocation. The State declined to do either, requiring him to serve his original prison term with no credit for time served on probation and no refund of costs.

In his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Petitioner alleges constitutional violations arising from the revocation, including failure of the State to credit his sentence with 750 days spent on probation and/or to refund the money spent on parole supervision.

2. Discussion

While it appears that Petitioner has not exhausted his state court remedies properly before filing his federal Petition, the Court agrees with Judge Williams that it is more judicially efficient in this case to address the merits of Petitioner's claims rather than address the preliminary procedural issue of exhaustion. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2). To obtain federal habeas corpus relief from a state court judgment, where the facts are not at issue and the petitioner is asserting that he is entitled to relief as a matter of law, the petitioner must show that the state court's adjudication of the merits of his federal claim "resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1).

In his argument presented in the Affidavit (Dkt. 8), Petitioner confuses the liberal standard for pleading with the strict standard for habeas corpus relief. While Petitioner is given much leeway in the manner in which he brings his claims, he cannot obtain relief unless he meets the statutory standard, which is a showing that his conviction is contrary to clearly established federal law, as determined by the United States Supreme Court. Because the Court is aware that inmates do not have access to legal research materials, the Court independently researches the questions presented in each petition to ensure that the petition is decided correctly.

A. Supremacy Clause

Petitioner argues that the failure of the State to credit his sentence with time spent on probation is a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. See Art. VI, ยง 2. The Supremacy Clause provides that, where state and federal laws conflict, federal laws are given ...


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