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Moore v. Little

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 17, 2015

ALBERT MOORE, Petitioner,
v.
STEVE LITTLE, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

RONALD E. BUSH, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court is Petitioner Albert Moore's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Dkt. 3.) This case was previously stayed to allow Petitioner to exhaust his claims in state court and has since been reopened. Petitioner has filed a Motion to Proceed and Amend. (Dkt. 37.) In addition, Respondent has filed a Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal. (Dkt. 40.) Petitioner has filed a response to Respondent's Motion, along with a document entitled "Motion to Rule in Accordance with the United States Constitution." (Dkt. 43.) These motions are now ripe for adjudication.

The 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. ยง 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73. (Dkt. 11.) Having carefully 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 oral argument is unnecessary. See D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting the Motion and dismissing with prejudice all of Petitioner's claims other than Claim 2(e).

BACKGROUND

The Court takes judicial notice of the records from Petitioner's state court proceedings, lodged by Respondent on August 30, 2013, and April 15, 2014. (Dkt. 15, 18, 31.) See Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); Dawson v. Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 (9th Cir. 2006).

In September 2006, Petitioner was charged in Ada County with misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI). The charge was later amended to a felony based on Petitioner's two previous DUI convictions: one from Idaho and one from North Dakota. State v. Moore, 231 P.3d 532, 535 (Idaho Ct. App. 2010) (" Moore I "). This felony charge is the subject of the instant habeas petition. The case was delayed for various reasons.

While this first DUI case was pending, Petitioner was charged with a second felony DUI. Petitioner went to trial on this second DUI and argued that the North Dakota conviction could not be used to enhance the second DUI charge to a felony because the statute upon which that conviction was based did not substantially conform to Idaho's DUI statute. The trial court disagreed, and the jury convicted Petitioner of the second DUI, enhanced to a felony based in part on the North Dakota conviction.

After Petitioner's conviction in the second DUI case, he entered a conditional Alford plea[1] in the first DUI case, reserving the right to appeal the issues of (1) whether the North Dakota conviction could be used to enhance the DUI charge to a felony, and (2) whether his speedy trial rights were violated. (State's Lodging C-2 at 77-78.) Petitioner was sentenced on each conviction to concurrent unified terms of six years imprisonment, with one year fixed. Moore I, 231 P.3d at 536. Petitioner appealed both judgments, and although the cases were briefed separately, they were consolidated for purposes of argument and decision.

In the second DUI case, Petitioner argued that (1) the North Dakota statute under which Petitioner was convicted was not substantially conforming to Idaho's DUI statute and, therefore, the North Dakota conviction could not be used to enhance the DUI to a felony; (2) the North Dakota conviction was unconstitutional; (3) the judgment of conviction regarding the North Dakota DUI was not properly certified or authenticated; and (4) a North Dakota bench warrant should have been excluded as irrelevant and unduly prejudicial. (State's Lodging B-1.) In the first DUI case, Petitioner argued that (1) his federal and state constitutional rights to a speedy trial, as well as his statutory rights to a speedy trial, were violated; and (2) the first DUI case should be remanded in the event Petitioner prevailed in the second DUI case. Petitioner also reasserted his arguments regarding the North Dakota conviction. (State's Lodging D-1.)

With respect to the second DUI case, the Idaho Court of Appeals ruled that the North Dakota DUI statute did substantially conform to Idaho's DUI statute and that it thus could be used to enhance the second DUI charge; the court also rejected Petitioner's argument that the North Dakota conviction was unconstitutional. Id. at 543-44. However, the court also ruled that the evidence of the North Dakota conviction admitted at trial had not been properly authenticated pursuant to the Idaho Rules of Evidence and, therefore, was inadmissible. Hence, the judgment in the second DUI case was vacated.[2] (Id. at 536-38.)

With respect to the first DUI case, the Idaho Court of Appeals rejected Petitioner's speedy trial arguments. However, the Idaho Court of Appeals remanded the case "for determination as to whether [Petitioner] was entitled to withdraw his conditional guilty plea [in the first case] because of the vacation of the judgment of conviction in the second case." (State's Lodging H-11 at 2.) This decision was issued on April 12, 2010. Neither Petitioner nor the state petitioned the Idaho Supreme Court for review. (State's Lodging B-8.)

On remand, the state trial court concluded that the reservation of rights in the first DUI case-in which he pleaded guilty-did not encompass the evidentiary error identified by the court of appeals in the second DUI case. State v. Moore, 268 P.3d 471, 472 (Idaho Ct. App. 2011) (" Moore II "). The court ruled, therefore, that Petitioner would not be permitted to withdraw his plea. Id.

Intending to provide a written document from which Petitioner could appeal, the trial court stated that it would "impose the sentence [in the first DUI case] as earlier set out in the Court's judgment" and issued an amended judgment. Id. However, the amended judgment mistakenly included a sentence of five years with one year fixed, instead of the original sentence of six years with one year fixed. Id. Neither Petitioner nor the state appealed the amended judgment. Id.

The state did, however, file a motion "to correct [the] apparent clerical mistake" in the amended judgment. (State's Lodging E-1 at 34.) The trial court then entered a second amended judgment, imposing the original sentence of six years with one year fixed. (Id. at 44-46.) Petitioner filed a motion for reduction of sentence under Idaho Criminal Rule 35, which the court denied. (State's Lodging E-1 at 63-65.)

On appeal from the second amended judgment, Petitioner argued only that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter that judgment. (State's Lodging F-1.) The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed the second amended judgment on December 21, 2011, concluding that Idaho Criminal Rule 36 authorized the trial court to correct the sentence. Moore II, 268 P.3d at 474. The Idaho Supreme Court denied review. (State's Lodging F-6.)

Petitioner filed a state postconviction petition in the first DUI case, raising a number of claims. (State's Lodging 67-72.) However, when appealing the state district court's denial of the postconviction petition, Petitioner specifically argued only that his defense counsel was ineffective for failing to obtain transcripts involving the North Dakota conviction; Petitioner claimed that if counsel had done so, the conviction would not have been found to be substantially conforming, and Petitioner would have prevailed on that ground in his first appeal. (State's Lodging J-4.) The Idaho Court of Appeals noted that although Petitioner nominally appealed the dismissal of five of his postconviction relief claims, he did not provide argument regarding any claim other than the transcript-related ineffective assistance claim. (State's Lodging J-7 (" Moore IV ") at 5 n.1.) The court therefore affirmed the dismissal of those other claims. The court of appeals also affirmed, on the merits, the dismissal of Petitioner's transcript-related ineffectiveness claim. (Id. at 5-6.) The court of appeals' decision was issued on April 15, 2013, and the Idaho Supreme Court denied review. (State's Lodging J-10.)

While his postconviction appeal was still pending, Petitioner filed a pro se motion for correction of an illegal sentence under Idaho Criminal Rule 35, but he also requested that his conviction be vacated. (State's Lodging K-1 at 10-18.) Although it is difficult to discern precisely what Petitioner was arguing in the Rule 35 motion, ...


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