United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Honorable Candy W. Dale, United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
filed by Idaho prisoner Nicholas David Johnson
(“Petitioner”), challenging Petitioner's
state court conviction for second-degree murder. (Dkt. 3.) On
July 6, 2018, after the parties had 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) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73-the
Court dismissed two of Petitioner's four claims.
(See Initial Review Order, Dkt. 8, at 3-5; see
also Dkt. 7.)
Court takes judicial notice of the records from
Petitioner's state court proceedings, which have been
lodged by Respondent. (Dkt. 10.) See Fed. R. Evid.
201; Dawson v Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 n.1 (9th
has filed a Motion for Summary Dismissal, which is now ripe
for adjudication. (Dkt. 11.) 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.
facts underlying Petitioner's conviction are set forth
clearly and accurately in State v. Johnson, Docket
No. 39573, Op. 737 (Idaho Ct. App. Nov. 1, 2013)
(unpublished), which is contained in the record at
State's Lodging B-4. The facts will not be repeated here
except as necessary to explain the Court's decision.
a jury trial in the Third Judicial District Court in Canyon
County, Idaho, Petitioner was convicted of second-degree
murder and sentenced to life in prison with fifteen years
fixed. The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction and
sentence. (State's Lodging B-4.) The Idaho Supreme Court
denied review and issued the remittitur on November 22, 2013.
(State's Lodging B-7, B-8.)
his direct appeal was still pending, Petitioner filed a
motion for a new trial and later an amended motion for a new
trial. With Petitioner's agreement, the state district
court treated the motion as a petition for post-conviction
relief. (State's Lodging C-1 at 5-14.) Petitioner later
filed an amended post-conviction petition. (Id. at
49-69.) The state district court dismissed the petition, and
the Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed. (Id. at
475-501; State's Lodging D-4.) After allowing Petitioner
to file an untimely petition for review, the Idaho Supreme
Court denied review and issued the remittitur on January 20,
2017. (State's Lodging D-7, D-9, D-10.)
filed his federal habeas petition in this Court on April 5,
2018. (Dkt. 3.) The Court has construed the
Petition as asserting the following claims:
Claim 1 asserts a due process violation based on the trial
court's admission of autopsy photographs into evidence.
Claims 2 asserts ineffective assistance of trial counsel
based on counsel's alleged (a) failure to inform
Petitioner of a plea offer, (b) waiver of a preliminary
hearing, “which precluded Petitioner from presenting
opening evidence of self defense, ” (c) failure to call
Petitioner's girlfriend as a defense witness, (d) failure
to meet and communicate adequately with Petitioner, and (e)
failure to provide Petitioner with a complete copy of
Claim 3 asserts a constitutional violation during
post-conviction proceedings based on the state district
court's summary dismissal of Petitioner's
post-conviction petition and the state appellate court's
affirmance of that dismissal.
Claim 4 asserts ineffective assistance of direct appeal
counsel for failing to raise trial counsel's
ineffectiveness as an issue on appeal.
(Initial Review Order, Dkt. 8, at 2-3 (internal citations and
footnote omitted).) Petitioner has not objected to this
Court previously reviewed the Petition and allowed Petitioner
to proceed on Claims 1 and 2. The Court dismissed Claim 3 as
noncognizable. (Id. at 3, citing Franzen v.
Brinkman, 877 F.2d 26, 26 (9th Cir. 1989) (per curiam)).
The Court also dismissed Claim 4, holding (a) that direct
appeal counsel was not ineffective for failing to bring a
trial ineffectiveness claim, because Idaho courts generally
require ineffective assistance claims to be brought in
post-conviction proceedings rather than on direct appeal
(id. at 4, citing Matthews v. State, 839
P.2d 1215, 1220 (Idaho 1992)), and (b) that the Idaho
courts' preference for hearing ineffective assistance
claims on collateral review does not unconstitutionally
deprive a petitioner of counsel (id. at 4-5, citing
Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551, 554 (1987),
and Bonin v. Vasquez, 999 F.2d 425, 430 (9th Cir.
now argues that Petitioner's claims are barred by the
one-year statute of limitations. The Court
agrees. Because Petitioner (1) is entitled to
statutory tolling only through the completion of his state
post-conviction proceedings and (2) is not entitled to
equitable tolling as to render his Petition timely, the Court
will dismiss the Petition with prejudice.