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Wheeler v. Ramirez

United States District Court, D. Idaho

October 29, 2019

BRADLEY WHEELER, Petitioner,
v.
AL RAMIREZ, [1] Respondent.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          DAVID C. NYE, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Petitioner Bradley Wheeler filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging his state court convictions and sentences. Dkt. 1. The 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 Cases.

         REVIEW OF PETITION

         1. Standard of Law

         Federal 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 court.” Id.

         2. Background

         In a criminal action in the Fifth Judicial District Court in Canyon County, Idaho, Petitioner was convicted by jury of battery on a correctional officer and of being a persistent violator. He received no relief in his state court direct appeal. It appears that Petitioner has filed a state post-conviction action in state court, but it is unclear whether it is completed.

         3. Review of Claims

         Petitioner's first claim is that Deputy Regis, the victim in the criminal case, attacked Petitioner, not the other way around. Deputy Regis allegedly stole Petitioner's personal property at the same time. Petitioner asserts that an outside investigator should have been brought in to investigate. Petitioner has not stated a federal legal basis for this claim. Actual innocence is not a cognizable habeas corpus claim. Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 404-05 (1993) (“[O]ur habeas jurisprudence makes clear that a claim of ‘actual innocence' is not itself a constitutional claim, but instead a gateway through which a habeas petitioner must pass to have his otherwise barred constitutional claim considered on the merits.”).

         Petitioner's second claim is that he was denied camera footage of Deputy Regis stealing his property. After Petitioner filed a motion in court for disclosure of the camera footage, the prosecutor told the judge it no longer existed because it had been erased. A correctional officer told Petitioner that it was impossible to erase the camera footage. Again, Petitioner has not stated a federal claim with these factual allegations, or shown Property damage and personal injuries cannot be remedied in a federal habeas corpus matter-which is solely about wrongful custody. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488-500 (1973).

         Petitioner's third claim is that the state district court denied multiple motions for mistrials in his case. Petitioner has not provided any facts or federal legal basis for this claim.

         The fourth and final claim is that Petitioner told his attorney to poll the jury, but his attorney refused to do so. Petitioner alleges that several jurors told him while he was testifying that he was completely innocent and not to worry. Petitioner presumably brings this claim as a Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

         Petitioner may proceed on his claims to the extent that he previously stated a federal claim on the same set of facts in his direct appeal and/or post-conviction case in the Idaho Supreme Court, and his claims are otherwise brought in a procedurally proper manner in this action (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.

         4. Standards of Law for Habeas Corpus Action

         Given Petitioner's status as a pro se litigant, the Court provides the following habeas corpus standards of law which may apply to ...


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