United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge
Zane Jack Fields murdered Mary Catherine Vanderford in 1988
and filed this habeas corpus action in 1995. Petitioner filed
his initial Petition in 1997, his First Amended Petition in
2001, and his Second Amended Petition in 2012. (Dkt. 65, 89,
pending is Petitioner's Motion to Amend and proposed
Third Amended Petition. (Dkt. 327.) Having carefully reviewed
the record, including the state court record, the Court
concludes that oral argument is unnecessary. D. Idaho Loc.
Civ. R. 9.2(h)(5). Accordingly, the Court enters the
following Order denying Petitioner's Motion to Amend.
Standard of Law
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply to habeas corpus
proceedings to the extent that they are not inconsistent with
established habeas practice and procedure. See Rule
12 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. By statute, an
application for habeas relief may be amended “as
provided in the rules of procedure applicable to civil
actions.” 28 U.S.C. § 2242.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 governs the amendment of civil
pleadings. Because Petitioner has previously amended his
Petition and Respondent has not agreed to further amendment,
Petitioner may now amend only with leave of court.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “The Court should freely give
leave when justice so requires.” Id.
public policy favors amendment, a court retains the
discretion to deny leave to amend after considering factors
such as previous amendment, undue delay, bad faith, prejudice
to the opposing party, and futility of amendment. Bonin
v. Calderon, 59 F.3d 815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995). These
factors need not be given equal weight. Id.
habeas case that has been initiated after the enactment of
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”), a request for leave to amend must also
be construed in light of the provisions and policies of
AEDPA, which is designed to promote finality, comity, and
federalism. Williams (Michael) v. Taylor, 529 U.S.
420, 436 (2000).
following reasons, the Court concludes that the factors
identified in Bonin v. Calderon weigh against
allowing Petitioner to proceed on yet another amendment.
Petitioner has already amended his petition twice. Therefore,
this factor weighs against allowing yet another amendment.
this case has been rife with undue delay. A large part of
this delay has been caused by Petitioner, and the Court has
repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of
this litigation. The Court recognizes that some of the delay
has been caused by the Court's massive caseload, the fact
that one judge is responsible for all of this District's
capital habeas corpus cases, and the District's lack of a
full complement of judges. The Court also recognizes that
Idaho's unique procedures in capital cases- intended
supposedly to streamline litigation of those cases by
consolidating direct appeal and initial post-conviction
proceedings and by instituting short filing deadlines-only
encourage the filing of multiple state post-conviction
proceedings, which inevitably delay federal proceedings.
Thus, the number of years this case has been pending and the
number of post-conviction petitions filed by Petitioner in
state court do not, by themselves, constitute undue delay.
the Court finds that Petitioner has been deliberately
choosing to litigate this case more slowly than necessary.
For example, the Court finds that most, if not all, of the
additional allegations in the proposed amendment could have
been discovered, in the exercise of reasonable diligence,
prior to the filing of Petitioner's Second Amended
Petition in 2012. For example, Petitioner states that, in
late 2013, “an off-hand comment in an inmate interview
led to a significant break.” (Dkt. 327-2 at 8.) This
“break” came in the form of testimony from
inmates and correctional officers regarding the layout and
structure of the cell blocks in which the inmate witnesses
testified that Petitioner confessed to them. However, the
layout of the areas in which Petitioner was confined prior to
trial is not a “new” fact-it was obviously known
by Petitioner long before 2013.
the bad faith factor-closely related to the undue delay
factor in this case- weighs slightly against Petitioner,
though this is not the worst case of gamesmanship the Court
has ever seen. In arguing that the state would not be
prejudiced by further amendment, Petitioner acknowledges that
“the factual arguments raised in the proposed
amendments” were known, at the very latest, when
Petitioner filed his reply brief in support of his motion for
an evidentiary hearing on procedural default-on February 6,
2014. (Dkt. 327-2 at 11; see also Dkt. 313.).
Therefore, even if the Court were to accept the proposition
that Petitioner could not have discovered the additional
facts included in the ...