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Chatterton v. Blades

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 24, 2017

RANDY BLADES, [1] Respondent.



         Pending before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Idaho state prisoner Patrick Chatterton, challenging Petitioner's Twin Falls County conviction of felony driving under the influence (“DUI”). (Dkt. 3.) Respondent has filed a Motion for Summary Dismissal, arguing that Claim 1 is noncognizable (meaning that it cannot be heard on federal habeas review), that the Petition is barred by the one-year statute of limitations, and that all of Petitioner's claims are procedurally defaulted. (Dkt. 14.) The Motion is now ripe for consideration by the Court.

         The Court takes judicial notice of the records from Petitioner's state court proceedings, which have been lodged by Respondent. (Dkt. 13.) See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b); Dawson v Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 n.1 (9th Cir. 2006).

         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. § 636(c). (Dkt. 15.) 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 this case with prejudice.


         In the Fifth Judicial District Court in Twin Falls County, Idaho, Petitioner pleaded guilty to felony DUI, along with a persistent violator enhancement. (State's Lodging A-1 at 2.) The judgment of conviction was entered on May 1, 2013. Petitioner was sentenced to a unified term of fifteen years in prison with five years fixed. (Id. at 4.) Petitioner filed a late notice of appeal, which was dismissed by the Idaho Supreme Court as untimely on December 3, 2013. (State's Lodging A-2, B-3.) The remittitur was issued on January 6, 2014.

         Petitioner states that, in the meantime, on August 28, 2013, he filed a motion for reduction of sentence under Idaho Criminal Rule 35, which was denied on September 3, 2013. (Dkt. 3 at 9.) Petitioner did not appeal the denial of this motion. On March 4 or March 9, 2015, Petitioner filed a second Rule 35 motion.[2] (Dkt. 3 at 9; Dkt. 19 at 4.)

         The second Rule 35 motion alleged that a blood draw, which was done without a warrant and which led to the DUI charge in his case, was unconstitutional under Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S.Ct. 1552 (2013). (Dkt. 19 at 4.) In McNeely, the Supreme Court held that the natural metabolization of alcohol in a person's blood does not present “a per se exigency that justifies an exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement for nonconsensual blood testing in all drunk-driving cases” and that, therefore, exigency “must be determined case by case based on the totality of the circumstances.” Id. at 1556. The trial court denied the Rule 35 motion on March 12, 2015, stating that, because Petitioner claimed that his conviction (rather than his sentence) was illegal, the “proper mechanism” to challenge that conviction was a petition for state post-conviction relief. (Id. at 5.)

         Petitioner filed such a petition on March 23, 2015, again claiming that the warrantless blood draw that led to his DUI charge was unconstitutional under McNeely. (State's Lodging C-1 at 5-12.) On April 27, 2015, the state district court dismissed the petition as untimely because it was not filed within one year of the date Petitioner's conviction became final. (Id. at 34-37, 52, citing Idaho Code § 19-4902.)

         Petitioner appealed. However, Petitioner's appointed counsel later moved to withdraw, finding no meritorious issues; the Idaho Supreme Court granted the motion. (State's Lodging D-1 through D-3.) Petitioner voluntarily dismissed the appeal, and the remittitur was issued on February 5, 2016. (State's Lodging D-4 through D-6.)

         Petitioner states that he then filed a state petition for writ of habeas corpus. The petition was dismissed on March 8, 2016, because, under Idaho law, a challenge to the validity of a conviction cannot be brought in a state habeas petition, but instead must be raised in a post-conviction petition.[3] (Dkt. 3 at 10-11.)

         Petitioner filed the instant federal Petition in this Court, at the earliest, on April 28, 2016.[4] Petitioner asserts the following claims: (1) violation of the Fourth Amendment based on the warrantless blood draw; (2) violation of due process based on Petitioner's inability “to access new information regarding U.S. Supreme Courts [sic] decision concerning 4th amendment ‘warrantless, ' unreasonable search and seizures”; (3) ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial counsel's advice regarding the persistent violator enhancement; and (4) violation of due process and the Double Jeopardy Clause based on Petitioner's conviction of both the underlying felony DUI charge and the persistent violator enhancement. (Dkt. 3 at 6-14; Dkt. 7 at 2-3.)

         The Court previously reviewed the Petition and allowed Petitioner to proceed on his claims to the extent those claims “(1) are cognizable in a federal habeas corpus action, (2) were timely filed in this Court, and (3) were either properly exhausted in state court or subject to a legal excuse for any failure to exhaust in a proper manner.” (Dkt. 7 at 3.)


         The Rules Governing § 2254 Cases (“Habeas Rules”) call for 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, ” as well as those records subject to judicial notice, “that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the [federal] district court.” Habeas Rule 4; see Fed. R. Evid. 201(b); Dawson, 451 F.3d at 551 n.1. 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).

         Respondent argues that Claim 1 is not cognizable and that Petitioner's claims are barred by the one-year statute of limitations. For the following reasons, the Court agrees and will dismiss the Petition with prejudice.[5]

         1.Claim 1 is Not Cognizable in this Federal Habeas Proceeding

         Claim 1 asserts a violation of the Fourth Amendment based on the nonconsensual, warrantless blood draw that led to Petitioner's felony DUI prosecution. However, the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule is “not a personal constitutional right” but, rather, a practical way to deter police conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment. Hence, Fourth Amendment claims generally are not cognizable in federal habeas corpus proceedings. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 486 (1976). The Stone rule is based on the principle that social costs of the exclusionary rule are heavy-the rule “deflects the truthfinding process and often frees the guilty.” Id. at 490. On collateral review of a criminal conviction, “the contribution of the exclusionary rule, if any, to the effectuation of the Fourth Amendment is minimal, and the substantial societal costs of application of the rule persist with special force.” Id. at 494-95.

         Therefore, so long as the state courts provided the petitioner an opportunity for full and fair litigation of his Fourth Amendment claim in state court, a federal court cannot grant habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Id. at 494. To determine whether a petitioner had a full and fair opportunity to challenge his Fourth Amendment claim in state court, the Court “inquire[s] into the adequacy and fairness of available state court procedures for the adjudication of Fourth Amendment claims.” Sanna v. Dipaolo, 265 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 2001). If the Court determines that the available state court procedures are adequate, the inquiry ends there. Id. at 8-9. That is, if “a state prisoner has had an opportunity to litigate his Fourth Amendment claims by means of such a set of procedures, a federal habeas court lacks the authority, under Stone, to second-guess the accuracy of the state court's resolution of those claims.” Id. at 9. Stated another way, “[t]he relevant inquiry is whether petitioner had the opportunity to litigate his claim, not whether he did in fact do so or even whether the claim was correctly decided.” Ortiz-Sandoval v. Gomez, 81 F.3d 891, 899 (9th Cir. 1996); see also ...

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