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Soper v. Woolf

United States District Court, D. Idaho

November 7, 2014

THOMAS MORGAN SOPER II, Petitioner,
v.
JIM WOOLF, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

CANDY W. DALE, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court is Respondent's Motion for Summary Dismissal, which is now fully briefed. (Dkts. 16, 21, 25.) Also pending is Petitioner's Motion to Order Release of Transcript, and several other motions. (Dkt. 23, 18, 24, 27.) Both parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all proceedings in this case in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. 11.)

Having reviewed the record, including the state court record, the Court finds 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, the Court will decide this matter on the written motions, briefs, and record without oral argument. D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). The Court enters the following Order, granting the Motion for Summary Dismissal.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Petitioner pleaded guilty to and was convicted of one count of felony driving under the influence, in the Fifth Judicial District Court in Cassia County, Idaho. The judgment of conviction was entered on April 17, 2012. (State's Lodging A-20, A-19.) Petitioner filed a Rule 35 motion to reconsider the sentence on July 30, 2012. (State's Lodging A-23). The state district court denied the motion to reconsider on August 3, 2012. (State's Lodging A-26.)

Even though the time period for appeal is only 42 days, Petitioner did not file a notice of appeal in his criminal case until January 22, 2013, which was 280 days after judgment was entered, and 172 days after the order denying the motion to reconsider was entered. (State's Lodging A-27.) Petitioner was appointed counsel for the appeal. The Idaho Supreme Court conditionally dismissed the appeal as untimely. (State's Lodging B-1.) Through counsel, Petitioner filed a response to the order of conditional dismissal, recognizing that the notice of appeal was untimely, but reiterating that Petitioner would like to proceed with the appeal. (State's Lodging B-2.) The Idaho Supreme Court concluded that the notice of appeal was untimely and dismissed the action. (State's Lodging B-3.) The remittitur was issued on May 9, 2013. (State's Lodging B-4.) Petitioner did not file a petition for post-conviction relief in the state court.

Petitioner filed his federal Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on July 12, 2013. (Dkt. 3.) He brought four claims: (1) a Fourth Amendment claim that the arresting officer failed to show him the arrest warrant or inform him of the nature of the pending charges; (2) a Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel claim that his counsel did not contest the fact that Petitioner was served with an unlawful warrant 143 days after his arrest, and that his counsel coerced him to plead guilty; (3) an Eighth Amendment claim that he was unlawfully imprisoned with no knowledge of the charges at the time of his arrest, and that his bail was set excessively high at $75, 000 and later revoked; and (4) a Fourteenth Amendment claim that the State failed to abide by its own statutory commands, amounting to an arbitrary deprivation by the State.

The Court has already determined that Claim 3, unlawful imprisonment and excessive bail, is not cognizable on post-conviction federal habeas corpus review and is subject to dismissal for failure to state a federal claim upon which relief can be granted.

MOTION FOR SUMMARY DISMISSAL

In the Motion for Summary Dismissal, Respondent asserts that all of Petitioner's claims are procedurally defaulted because he failed to properly present them to the Idaho Supreme Court.

1. 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 attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court." The Court may also take judicial notice of relevant state court records in determining whether to dismiss a petition. Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); Dawson v Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 (9th Cir. 2006). Where appropriate, a respondent is permitted to file a motion for summary dismissal, rather than an answer. White v. Lewis, 874 F.2d 599, 602 (9th Cir. 1989).

A habeas petitioner must exhaust his remedies in the state courts before a federal court can grant relief on constitutional claims. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). This means that the petitioner must invoke one complete round of the state's established appellate review process, fairly presenting all constitutional claims to the state courts so that they have a full and fair opportunity to correct alleged constitutional errors at each level of appellate review. Id. at 845. In a state that has the possibility of discretionary review in the highest appellate court, like Idaho, the petitioner must have presented all of his federal claims in a petition seeking review before that court. Id. at 847.

When a habeas petitioner has not fairly presented a constitutional claim to the highest state court, and it is clear that the state court would now refuse to consider it because of the state's procedural rules, the claim is said to be procedurally defaulted. Gray v. Netherland, 518 U.S. 152, 161-62 (1996). Procedurally defaulted claims include those within the following circumstances: (1) when a petitioner has completely failed to raise a particular claim before the Idaho courts; (2) when a petitioner has raised a claim, but has failed to fully and fairly present it as a federal claim to the Idaho courts; and (3) when the Idaho courts have rejected a claim on an adequate and independent state procedural ground. Id .; Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 32 (2004); Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991).

To be an "adequate" state ground, a state court's procedural bar must be one that is "clear, consistently applied, and well-established' at the time of the petitioner's purported default." Martinez v. Klauser, 266 F.3d 1091, 1093-94 (9th Cir. 2001) (quoting Wells v. Maass, 28 F.3d 1005, 1010 (9th Cir. 1994)). A state procedural bar is "independent" of federal law if it does not rest on federal grounds and is not intertwined with federal grounds. Bennett v. Mueller, 322 F.3d 573, 581 (9th Cir. 2003).

2. Discussion of Claims that Were, or Could Have Been, Presented on Direct Appeal

The following claims could have been presented on direct appeal: Claim 1, the Fourth Amendment claim that the arresting officer failed to show him the arrest warrant or inform him of the nature of the pending charges; and Claim 4, the failure of a state to abide by its ...


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