United States District Court, D. Idaho
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
W. DALE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jody Allen Miller has filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus challenging Petitioner's state court conviction.
See Dkt. 2. 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 Rules”).
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.
First Judicial District Court in Benewah County, Idaho,
Petitioner entered an Alford plea to second-degree
murder. The judgment of conviction was entered on February
17, 2012. Petitioner was sentenced to a unified term of 25
years in prison with 12.5 years fixed. Petitioner did not
file a direct appeal but did seek state post-conviction
relief. Dkt. 2 at 1-4.
instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Petitioner brings
twelve claims. Claim 1 asserts ineffective assistance of
counsel for failing to convey a previous plea offer to
Petitioner. Claim 2 asserts that Petitioner's
pre-arraignment confession was obtained in violation of the
Fifth Amendment. In Claim 3, Petitioner asserts that a minor
child's statement was obtained in violation of the Fifth
Amendment. Claim 4 asserts a due process violation based on a
contaminated knife handle. In Claim 5, Petitioner asserts
that his attorney rendered ineffective assistance by failing
to adequately explain the waiver of Petitioner's right to
a speedy trial. Claim 6 asserts ineffective assistance of
counsel for failing to keep Petitioner apprised of
counsel's pretrial preparation. Claims 7 and 8 appear to
assert ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to
adequately investigate lab reports, other scientific
evidence, and recordings-perhaps with respect to the
discovery process. Claim 9 asserts ineffective assistance
based on failure to secure the exclusion of certain evidence.
Claim 10 asserts a denial of Petitioner's right to
present a defense, apparently as a result of ineffective
assistance of counsel. In Claim 11, Petitioner asserts that
the prosecutor committed misconduct and also may be intending
to assert an equal protection violation based on
Petitioner's treatment with respect to his co-defendants.
Finally, Claim 12 alleges that Idaho Code § 19-4908,
which is Idaho's prohibition on successive
post-conviction petitions, violates the Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendments. Id. at 6-22.
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 Procedural Default
habeas petitioner must exhaust his or her remedies in the
state courts before a federal court can grant relief on
constitutional claims. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel,
526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). To do so, the petitioner must
invoke one complete round of the state's established
appellate review process, fairly presenting all
constitutional claims to the state courts so that they have a
full and fair opportunity to correct alleged constitutional
errors at each level of appellate review. Id. at
845. In a state that has the possibility of discretionary
review in the highest ...