United States District Court, D. Idaho
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
W. DALE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Carl Robert Betancourt has filed a Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus challenging Petitioner's state court
conviction. See Dkt. 1. The Court now reviews the
Petition to determine whether it is subject to summary
dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2243 and Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases (“Habeas
Standard of Law for Review of Petition
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. Habeas Rule 4.
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.
Fifth Judicial District Court in Jerome County, Idaho,
Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft, in
violation of Idaho Code § 18-2407(1)(b). The judgment of
conviction was entered in July of 2013. Petitioner was
sentenced to a unified term of 14 years in prison with 2.5
years fixed. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal but did
pursue state post-conviction relief. Dkt. 1 at 1-3.
instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Petitioner brings
four claims. Claim 1 asserts a violation of due process based
on the sentencing court's use of an unconstitutionally
obtained pre-sentence investigation report
(“PSI”), which allegedly deprived the court of
jurisdiction. Id. at 6. Claim 2 asserts ineffective
assistance of counsel based on counsel's
“allow[ing] court to proceed with sentencing”
using the unconstitutionally obtained PSI; Claim 2 also might
be alleging that counsel did not assert Petitioner's
Fifth Amendment right to be free from compelled
self-incrimination. Id. at 7. Claim 3 asserts a
Fifth Amendment violation based on the sentencing court's
failure to warn Petitioner of his right to remain silent
during the PSI investigation. Id. at 8. And Claim 4
asserts that the sentencing court “abused its
authority” and violated the Constitution by failing to
resentence Petitioner. Id. at 9.
may proceed on the Petition to the extent that the claims (1)
are cognizable in a federal habeas corpus action, (2) were
timely filed in this Court, and (3) were either properly
exhausted in state court or are subject to a legal excuse for
any failure to exhaust in a proper manner. It is necessary
for the Court to review portions of the state court record to
resolve preliminary procedural issues, and it would also be
helpful to receive briefing from Respondent. 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 will provide relevant portions of
the state court record to this Court.
Potentially Applicable Standards of Law
Petitioner is pro se and because the Court finds that focused
briefing from the parties would be beneficial in this case,
the Court provides the following standards of law that might,
or might not, be applicable to the Petition.
Statute of Limitations
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”) requires a petitioner to seek federal
habeas corpus relief within one year from “the date on
which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct
review or the expiration of the time for seeking such
review.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). However,
the one-year statute of limitations can be tolled (or
suspended) under certain circumstances. AEDPA provides for
tolling for all of “[t]he time during which a properly
filed application for State post-conviction or other
collateral review ... is pending.” 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(2). A motion to reduce a sentence that is not a part
of the direct review process and that requires re-examination
of the sentence qualifies as a collateral review application
that tolls the one-year statute of limitations. Wall v.
Kholi, 562 U.S. 545, 555-56 (2011). Thus, to the extent
that a petitioner properly filed an application for
post-conviction relief or other collateral challenge in state
court, the one-year federal limitations period stops running
on the filing date of the state court action and resumes when
the action is completed.
statute of limitations can also be equitably tolled under
exceptional circumstances. “[A] petitioner is entitled
to equitable tolling only if he shows (1) that he has been
pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some
extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented
timely filing.” Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S.
631, 649 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). In
addition, AEDPA's statute of limitations is subject to an
actual innocence exception. A petitioner who satisfies the
actual innocence gateway standard may have otherwise
time-barred claims heard on the merits. McQuiggin v.
Perkins, 133 S.Ct. 1924, 1931-32 (2013); Lee v.
Lampert, 653 F.3d 929, 937 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc).
Actual innocence in this context means “factual
innocence, not mere legal insufficiency.” Bousley
v. United States, 523 U.S. 614, 624 (1998).
Exhaustion and ...