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Eddington v. Tewalt

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 10, 2020

RONALD SCOTT EDDINGTON, Petitioner,
v.
JOSH TEWALT, IDOC Director, Respondent.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Honorable Ronald E. Bush, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         Petitioner Ronald Scott Eddington (Petitioner) has filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging his state court conviction. (Dkt. 1.) Federal habeas corpus relief is available to petitioners who are held in custody under a state court judgment that violates the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).

         The Court is required to review each newly-filed habeas corpus petition to determine whether it is should be served upon the respondent, amended, or summarily dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If “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, ” the petition will be summarily dismissed. Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.

         Having reviewed the Petition, the Court concludes that Petitioner may proceed to the next stage of litigation in this matter.

         REVIEW OF PETITION

         1. Background

         Petitioner was convicted of second degree kidnaping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in a criminal action in the Fourth Judicial District Court in Ada County, Idaho. His judgment of conviction was entered on or about March 18, 2014. Petitioner followed his conviction with a direct appeal and a post-conviction action, neither of which was successful. He now petitions the Court for habeas corpus relief.

         2. Discussion

         In the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Petitioner brings three Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims: first, that trial counsel had an actual conflict of interest when he represented both Petitioner and his mother simultaneously on related criminal charges; second, that trial counsel pressured Petitioner to plead guilty because there was a conflict of interest; and third, that trial counsel failed to investigate the discovery he obtained in the case, such as failing to listen to the audio recordings of police interviews of Petitioner's ex-wife, and counsel failed to prepare adequately for sentencing because of the conflict of interest.

         Petitioner has stated colorable federal claims upon which he can proceed. It is unclear whether Petitioner has properly exhausted his claim in the state court system or whether the claims are timely. The Court does not have the full record before it to make a final determination on these procedural matters. The Court will order the Clerk of Court to serve the Petition upon Respondent, who will be permitted to file an answer or a pre-answer motion for summary dismissal.

         3. Standards of Law

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

         A. Exhaustion of State Court Remedies

         Habeas corpus law requires that a petitioner “exhaust” his state court remedies before pursuing a claim in a federal habeas petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). To exhaust a claim, a habeas petitioner must fairly present it as a federal claim to the highest state court for review in the manner prescribed by state law. See O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999). Unless a petitioner has exhausted his state court remedies relative to a particular claim, a federal ...


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