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Green v. Neville

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 22, 2017

ALESHA ANN GREEN, Petitioner,
v.
LIZ NEVILLE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          Honorable Ronald E. Bush United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Idaho state prisoner Alesha Ann Green (“Petitioner”), challenging Petitioner's Ada County convictions on two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine. (Dkt. 3.) Respondent has filed a Motion for Summary Dismissal, arguing that Claim 3(c) is noncognizable and that Petitioner's remaining claims are procedurally defaulted. (Dkt. 14.) The Motion is now ripe for adjudication.

         The Court takes judicial notice of the records from Petitioner's state court proceedings, which have been lodged by Respondent. (Dkt. 9, 10, 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. 12.) 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.

         BACKGROUND

         Following a jury trial in the Fourth Judicial District Court in Ada County, Idaho, Petitioner was convicted on two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine.[1] Petitioner received concurrent sentences of twelve years in prison with five years fixed on one count, and twelve years in prison with three years fixed on the second count. (Dkt. 3 at 1-2.)

         Petitioner appealed, arguing that the indeterminate portions of her sentences were excessive. (State's Lodging D-2.) The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Idaho Supreme Court denied review. (State's Lodging D-5, D-7.)

         Petitioner then filed a state petition for post-conviction relief. (State's Lodging E-1 at 4-7.) The post-conviction court granted Petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel and appointed the Ada County Public Defender to represent Petitioner. (Id. at 21.) Because the same public defender's office had represented Petitioner at trial, the court stated that, for post-conviction proceedings, the public defender “may choose to appoint conflict counsel.” (Id.) The public defender's office chose not to appoint conflict counsel because the attorney assigned to Petitioner's case was not Petitioner's trial attorney. (State's Lodging F-4 at 2.) Petitioner, through counsel, filed an amended petition alleging several claims, including ineffective assistance of trial counsel. (State's Lodging E-1 at 29-31.) The state district court dismissed the petition. (Id. at 173-77.)

         Petitioner appealed the dismissal of her post-conviction petition, asserting a single claim-that the post-conviction court erred by failing to adequately inquire into a potential conflict of interest, given that Petitioner's post-conviction counsel worked for the same public defender's office as Petitioner's trial counsel. (State's Lodging F-1.) Petitioner acknowledged that there is no constitutional or statutory right to counsel in post-conviction proceedings, but argued nonetheless that her “interest in securing assistance to adequately present her postconviction claims extend[ed] to an interest in having conflict-free post-conviction counsel.” (Id. at 8.)

         The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Petitioner did not have a right to conflict-free post-conviction counsel because (1) the Sixth Amendment does not apply during post-conviction proceedings and because (2) non-capital post-conviction petitioners do not have a statutory right to counsel. (State's Lodging F-4 at 2-3.) The Idaho Supreme Court denied review.

         In the instant federal habeas corpus petition, Petitioner asserts the following claims:

Claim 1: Ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel alleged failure to (a) investigate and present witnesses, (b) thoroughly research and present evidence, (c) appear at sentencing, (d) properly question witnesses, (e) failing to call Petitioner's accuser at trial, and (f) explain a plea offer.
Claim 2: Ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel's alleged mishandling of witnesses and other evidence that “would have proven [Petitioner's] innocence.” Claim 3(a): Violation of due process based on an allegedly biased judge, who had a conflict of interest or was prejudiced against Petitioner based on the judge's previous sentencing of Petitioner's daughter.
Claim 3(b): Violation of the Sixth Amendment right to conflict-free counsel based on counsel's previous ...

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