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Jackson v. Carlin

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 23, 2016

PONY LEO JACKSON, Petitioner,
v.
TEREMA CARLIN, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court

         Pending before the Court is Petitioner Pony Leo's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, which asserts 16 claims. (Dkt. 1.) Respondent has filed a Motion for Summary Dismissal, which is now ripe for adjudication. (Dkt. 12, 23, 25.)

         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 Respondent's Motion in part and dismissing Claims 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 16 with prejudice. The Court will deny the Motion without prejudice with respect to Claim 14.

         BACKGROUND

         The facts underlying Petitioner's conviction are set forth clearly and accurately in Jackson v. State, Docket No. 42116, Op. 504 (Idaho Ct. App. May 26, 2015) (unpublished), which is contained in the record at State's Lodging D-4. The facts will not be repeated here except as necessary to explain the Court's decision.

         Petitioner was convicted by a jury in the Seventh Judicial District in Clark County, Idaho, of two counts of lewd conduct with a minor child under the age of sixteen, in violation of Idaho Code § 18-1508. (State's Lodging D-4 at 2-3.) Petitioner was sentenced to twenty years in prison with ten years fixed. Petitioner's convictions were affirmed, and he did not obtain postconviction relief.

         Claims 1 through 10 of the instant Petition assert ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Claim 11 appears to assert both actual innocence and ineffective assistance of counsel. Claims 12 through 15 assert prosecutorial misconduct, and Claim 16 asserts ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel. (Pet., Dkt. 1; Initial Review Order, Dkt. 7, at 2-3.)

         In her Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal, Respondent argues that Claims 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, and 16 are procedurally defaulted and that Claims 11 and 16 are also noncognizable in this federal habeas corpus action. (Dkt. 12.)

         DISCUSSION

         1. Standards 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.[1] Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); Dawson v Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 (9th Cir. 2006). Where appropriate, a respondent may file a motion for summary dismissal, rather than an answer. White v. Lewis, 874 F.2d 599, 602 (9th Cir. 1989).

         2.Claims 11(a) and 16 Are Not Cognizable in this Federal Habeas Corpus Action

         A. Claim 11(a): Actual Innocence

         In Claim 11, Petitioner alleges that he is actually innocent. (Pet. at 54, Dkt. 1-4 at 6.) The Court will refer to this claim as Claim 11(a). Because Petitioner uses the phrase “ineffective assistance of counsel” in discussing this claim, he may also be attempting to assert that his counsel was ineffective in failing to establish Petitioner's innocence at trial. The Court will refer to this claim as Claim 11(b).

         Claim 11(a) is subject to summary dismissal because a freestanding claim of actual innocence is not cognizable in a non-capital habeas corpus case. Stephenson v. Blades, 2014 WL 3509448, at *7 (D. Idaho July 14, 2014); see Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 400 (“Claims of actual innocence based on newly discovered evidence have never been held to state a ground for federal habeas relief absent an independent constitutional violation occurring in the underlying state criminal proceeding . . . . This rule is grounded in the principle that federal habeas courts sit to ensure that individuals are not imprisoned in violation of the Constitution-not to correct errors of fact.”).

         B. Claim 16: Ineffective Assistance of Postconviction Counsel

         Claim 16 asserts that Petitioner's postconviction counsel rendered ineffective assistance. The Court will summarily dismiss this claim because there is no federal constitutional right to counsel during state postconviction proceedings. Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551, 554 (1987); Bonin v. Vasquez, 999 F.2d 425, 430 (9th Cir. 1993).[2]

         3.Claims 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11(b) Are Procedurally Defaulted, andPetitioner Has Not Shown Cause and Prejudice, or Actual Innocence, to ...


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