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Anderson v. Blades

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 13, 2018

WAYNE D. ANDERSON II, Petitioner,
v.
RANDY BLADES, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief U.S. District Court Judge.

         Pending before the Court is an Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Idaho state prisoner Wayne D. Anderson II, challenging his Canyon County conviction for lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen years of age. (Dkt. 7.) On May 30, 2017, United States Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale reviewed the initial Petition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243 and Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases (“Habeas Rules”), and determined that it appeared that Petitioner's claims were subject to summary dismissal as noncognizable. (Dkt. 5.) Judge Dale gave Petitioner an opportunity to amend the Petition.

         On August 29, 2017, Judge Dale reviewed Petitioner's Amended Petition and concluded that Claim 2 was noncognizable and that Claim 1, as written, was also noncognizable. (Dkt. 8.) However, because Claim 1 was capable of being construed as a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel's advice to Petitioner to plead guilty, Judge Dale stated that the Claim would be so construed. Petitioner was not permitted to proceed on Claim 2, which alleged that he was denied his right to self-representation after his post-conviction attorney allegedly rendered ineffective assistance. (Id.)

         The Ninth Circuit then issued its decision in Williams v. King, 875 F.3d 500, 503 (9th Cir. 2017), which held that magistrate judges lack the authority to dispose of claims if an unserved party does not consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction. Pursuant to Williams, this case was later reassigned to the undersigned district judge “for de novo review of the Amended Petition and for consideration of Respondent's Motion for Summary Dismissal, ” because it was “unclear whether the later appearance and consent of Respondent [could] cure [Judge Dale's] previous disposition of Claim 2 without consent from all named parties.” (Dkt. 25 at 2.)

         This Court has independently reviewed the initial and amended petitions, as well as Judge Dale's Initial and Successive Review Orders. Although that review has been de novo, the undersigned agrees with Judge Dale's analysis and conclusion that the initial petition did not state any cognizable claim.

         The Court also agrees with Judge Dale's analysis and conclusion that Claim 1 of the Amended Petition was not cognizable as written but that it should be construed as a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel's advice to plead guilty. Additionally, this Court construes Claim 1 as also alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel's performance with respect to Petitioner's motion to withdraw the guilty plea. Finally, because federal habeas relief does not lie for errors during state post-conviction proceedings, the Court agrees that Claim 2 is subject to summary dismissal as noncognizable. See Franzen v. Brinkman, 877 F.2d 26, 26 (9th Cir. 1989) (per curiam).

         The Court must now consider Respondent's Motion for Summary Dismissal, which asserts that-in addition to Claim 2 being noncognizable-Claim 1 is subject to summary dismissal as procedurally defaulted. (Dkt. 14.) 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).

         Having carefully reviewed the record, including the state court record, the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary. See D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting the Motion for Summary Dismissal and dismissing this case with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         The facts underlying Petitioner's conviction are set forth clearly and accurately in State v. Anderson, 322 P.3d 312 (Idaho Ct. App. 2014), which is also contained in the record as State's Lodging B-5. The facts will not be repeated here except as necessary to explain the Court's decision.

         In the Third Judicial District Court in Canyon County, Idaho, Petitioner was charged with one count of lewd conduct with a minor under the age of sixteen, one count of sexual abuse of a child under the age of sixteen, and “two mandatory minimum sentencing enhancements ... on the basis that he previously was convicted of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen.” (State's Lodging D-4 at 1-2.) Petitioner entered an Alford plea[1] to the lewd conduct charge and one sentencing enhancement in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges; the State also agreed not to charge Petitioner with intimidating a witness, based on a letter Petitioner wrote to his wife, and to recommend that the fixed portion of Petitioner's sentence be limited to 15 years in prison. (Id.; State's Lodging A-3 at 48-49, 53-55, 76-82; State's Lodging A-4 at 6-7.)

         Before his sentencing hearing, Petitioner moved to withdraw his guilty plea. The trial court denied the motion; the court also denied Petitioner's motion for reconsideration. (State's Lodging A-3 at 97-101, 105-07; State's Lodging A-6, Tr. of 07/16/12 Hrg. at 2-11.) Petitioner received a unified sentence of 40 years in prison with 15 years fixed. (State's Lodging A-3 at 117-18.)

         On direct appeal, Petitioner argued that, under Idaho law, the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Petitioner's motion to withdraw his plea and that the sentence was excessive. (State's Lodging B-2; B-4.) The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction and sentence, and the Idaho Supreme Court denied review. (State's Lodging B-5; B-7.)

         Petitioner then filed a pro se petition for state post-conviction relief, asserting that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance with respect to the guilty plea and the motion to withdraw that plea. (State's Lodging C-2 at 4-15.) The state district court appointed counsel to represent Petitioner, but Petitioner later sought to fire his attorney and to represent himself; Petitioner also sought an extension of time. (Id. at 27, 104-05.) The court ...


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