United States District Court, D. Idaho
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
HONORABLE RONALD E. BUSH CHIEF U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Majid Kolestani, also known as Nastaran Kolestani, filed a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging her state
court conviction and an Application to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis. (Dkt. 1.) All named parties have consented to the
jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge to enter
final orders in this case. (Dkt. 7.) See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73.
Court now reviews the Petition to determine whether the
claims are subject to summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2243 or Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254
Standard of Law
habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is available
to petitioners who show that they are held in custody under a
state court judgment and that such custody violates the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The Court is required to
review a habeas corpus petition upon receipt to determine
whether it is subject to summary dismissal. See Rule
4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. Summary
dismissal is appropriate where “it plainly appears from
the face of the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
Majid Kolestani, a transgender Iranian refugee also known as
Nastaran Kolestani, is being held in the custody of the Idaho
Department of Correction (IDCO). In 2009, Petitioner was
charged with first degree murder and a weapon enhancement in
a Twin Falls County, Idaho criminal action, arising from the
shooting death of her husband. Petitioner pleaded guilty to
first degree murder in exchange for dismissal of the weapon
enhancement. Petitioner also agreed to forgo the right to
file a direct appeal and a Rule 35 motion for leniency in
sentencing. Petitioner was sentenced to 18 fixed years of
imprisonment with life indeterminate. See Kolestani v.
Idaho, 2018 WL 6715873 (Idaho Ct. App. 2018).
filed a post-conviction action, bringing claims of an
involuntary plea and ineffective assistance of counsel. Her
action was summarily dismissed, and the Idaho Court of
Appeals affirmed dismissal. The Idaho Supreme Court denied
the petition for review. See id. Petitioner then
filed this federal habeas corpus action.
Review of Claims
brings the following claims. First, she asserts that her plea
agreement was not knowing, voluntary, or intelligent, and
that her counsel was ineffective in directing her to sign
it-alleged violations of the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth
Amendments. Second, she asserts that she did not knowingly
and intelligently waive her Fifth Amendment right to decline
police interrogation during their investigation, because she
was under the influence of pain medication and had a language
barrier. Third, she alleges that she was denied her Sixth
Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel on several
grounds surrounding her guilty plea. Fourth, Petitioner
asserts that her defense counsel had a conflict of interest,
also based on grounds related to her guilty plea.
may proceed on her claims to the extent that they are
federally cognizable and are in a procedurally proper posture
(or if not, legal or equitable excuses apply to excuse the
default of any of the claims). Therefore, the Court will
order the Clerk to serve a copy of the Petition on counsel
for Respondent, who may respond either by answer or
pre-answer motion and who shall provide relevant portions of
the state court record to this Court.
Request for Appointment of Counsel
seeks appointment of counsel, citing her language barrier and
lack of legal training. There is no constitutional right to
counsel in a habeas corpus action. Coleman v.
Thompson,501 U.S. 722, 755 (1991). A habeas petitioner
has a right to counsel, as provided by rule, if counsel is
necessary for effective discovery or if an evidentiary
hearing is required in his case. See Rules 6(a)
& 8(c) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. In
addition, the Court may exercise its discretion to appoint
counsel for an indigent petitioner in any case where required
by the interests of justice. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(h); 18
U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B). Whether counsel should be
appointed turns on a ...