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Matthew T. Weaver v. Icio Warden Carlin

March 9, 2012

MATTHEW T. WEAVER, PETITIONER,
v.
ICIO WARDEN CARLIN, RESPONDENT.



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

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

Pending before the Court is Respondent's Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal, seeking dismissal of Claims One, Two, Three, and Five on procedural grounds. (Dkt. 19.) Petitioner Matthew Weaver has filed a Motion to Proceed Forward and Deny Respondent's Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal, and Respondent has filed a Response. (Dkt. 21, 22.)

Having reviewed the record, including the state court record, the Court finds that the parties have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs and record and that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Therefore, in the interest of avoiding further delay, the Court shall decide this matter on the written motions, briefs and record without oral argument. D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner Matthew T. Weaver (Petitioner) and his wife Frances were charged with and convicted of felony injury to child, regarding injuries to their minor son, in the Third Judicial District Court in Canyon County, Idaho. (State's Lodging A-1.) After serving time in prison, Petitioner was granted a new trial because of an erroneous jury instruction. (State's Lodgings B-2 to B-4.) Petitioner chose to represent himself at his second trial, was convicted of the charge, and sentenced to a term of incarceration of eight years determinate with two years indeterminate (with credit for time served on the prior vacated conviction). (State's Lodgings C-1, p. 78; C-7, pp. 1268, 1285-88.)

On direct appeal, Petitioner's counsel, Greg Silvey, filed an opening brief for Petitioner. (State's Lodging D-4.) Petitioner disagreed with counsel's strategy on appeal, and terminated his representation. (State's Lodging D-5.) Petitioner filed various motions to augment the appellate record and to augment the appellate briefing. (State's Lodgings D-9, D-12, D-19, D-21, D-22, D-25.) Petitioner's motions to augment were denied, but Petitioner was permitted to file a supplemental brief addressing new claims not included in the appellate brief filed by counsel. (State's Lodging D-27.) Petitioner's supplemental brief raised 189 issues and subparts. (Id.; State's Lodgings D-43, p. 8.)

In addressing Petitioner's briefing, the Idaho Court of Appeals determined that Petitioner had waived all claims for which he failed to provide supporting argument in his supplemental brief. (The Court of Appeals made it clear that Petitioner did not have to provide legal citations, but only supporting argument, in his brief.) (State's Lodging D-43 p. 8 n.2.)

The Court of Appeals addressed the merits of two claims raised in counsel's initial brief, and it addressed the merits of only five of 189 claims raised in the pro se supplemental brief: (1) whether Petitioner's waiver of counsel was valid; (2) whether the trial court erred in admitting evidence that Petitioner had previously been convicted of and served prison time for the same offense; (3) whether the trial court erred in denying Petitioner's motion to dismiss the indictment based upon instructional error at the grand jury proceedings; (4) whether the State was required to dismiss the indictment and "begin anew" after his case was remanded for retrial; (5) whether the trial court erred in denying Petitioner's request to remove his squeaky leg restraint at trial to avoid having jurors hear or see it; (6) whether the state presented perjured testimony; and (7) whether the trial court erred by denying Petitioner's motion for funds to hire expert witnesses. (State's Lodging D-43.)

The Court of Appeals denied relief on all claims considered. (Id.) Petitioner filed a petition for review, motion to amend judgment, and brief. (State's Lodgings D-44 to D-46.) The Idaho Supreme Court denied the petition for review on April 9, 2008. (State's Lodging D-47.) The Court of Appeals issued its remittitur the same day. (State's Lodging D-48.)

On May 22, 2008, Petitioner filed an application for post-conviction relief in the state district court. (State's Lodging E-1, p. 1.) The application was dismissed on February 24, 2011. (State's Lodging E-1, p. 2.) Petitioner did not file an appeal.

Petitioner's current federal Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed on June 14, 2010. (Dkt. 3.) Respondent's Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal is now at issue.

STANDARD OF LAW

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases authorizes the Court to summarily dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus when "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." In such case, the Court construes the facts in a light most favorable to the petitioner. It is appropriate for the Court to take judicial notice of court dockets from state court proceedings. Fed. R. Evid. 201(b); Dawson v Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 (9th Cir. 2006).

Habeas corpus law requires that a petitioner "exhaust" his state court remedies before pursuing a claim in a federal habeas petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). To exhaust a claim, a habeas petitioner must fairly present it as a federal claim to the highest state court for review in the manner prescribed by state law. See O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999). Unless a petitioner has exhausted his state court remedies relative to a particular claim, a federal district court cannot grant relief on that claim, although it does have the discretion to deny the claim. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2).

State remedies are considered technically exhausted, but not properly exhausted, if a petitioner failed to pursue a federal claim in state court and there are no remedies now available. Boerckel, 526 U.S. at 848. A claim may also be considered exhausted, though not properly exhausted, if a petitioner pursued a federal claim in state court, but the state court rejected the claim on an independent and adequate state law procedural ground. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731-732 (1991). Under these circumstances, the claim is considered "procedurally defaulted." Coleman, 501 U.S. at 731. A procedurally defaulted claim will not be heard in federal court unless the petitioner shows either that there was legitimate cause for the ...


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