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Alwinger v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. Oregon

July 2, 2015

JERI TAYLOR, Respondent.


PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner, an inmate in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections, filed a petition for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. §2254 alleging four grounds for relief. Petition (#2). Respondent now moves to deny relief and dismiss this proceeding on the ground that petitioner did not exhaust state remedies with respect to his claims. Response (#25).

The trial court found petitioner guilty on one count of Sexual Penetration in the First Degree and sentenced petitioner to 300 months incarceration. Exhibit 101.

Petitioner appealed asserting one assignment of error - that "[t]he sentencing court erred in imposing a 300-month mandatory minimum' sentence pursuant to ORS 137.700(2)(b)(F) on count one." Exhibit 106, p. 5. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed in a written opinion, and adhered to that decision on reconsideration. Exhibits 108 and 111. Petitioner did not seek Oregon Supreme Court review.

Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR) alleging several grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel and "state misconduct." Exhibit 113. The PCR court denied relief, the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion and the Oregon Supreme Court denied review. Exhibits 137 and 138.

The petition in this case alleges four claims for relief. Respondent argues that petitioner "never presented any of these claims to the Oregon Supreme Court in a manner in which they would be considered on the merits, " and is procedurally defaulted from doing so now.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1), an application for a writ of habeas corpus "shall not be granted" unless "the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State[.]" Exhaustion occurs when a petitioner has given the state courts a "full and fair" opportunity to consider and resolve all federal claims. Keeney v. Tomayo-Reyes, 504 U.S. 1, 10 (1992); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275-76 (1971) If a petitioner can present a claim to the state's Supreme Court, he must do so to properly exhaust that claim. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 844-45 (1999).

To "fairly present" a federal claim in state court, a habeas petitioner must "include reference to a specific federal constitutional guarantee, as well as a statement of facts that entitle the petitioner to relief." Gray v. Netherland, 518 U.S. 152, 162-63 (1966); see also, Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 32 (2004) and Castillo v. McFadden, 399 F.3d 993, 1000 (9th Cir. 2005).

Furthermore, the petitioner must have presented their federal claim to the state courts in a procedural context in which the claims merits will be considered. Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 351-52 (1989) (claim not fairly presented when raised for the first time on petition for review to the state Supreme Court); Roettgen v. Copeland, 33 F.3d 36, 38 (9th Cir. 1994); Turner v. Compoy, 827 F.2d 526, 529 (9th Cir. 1987).

Accordingly, a claim is "fairly presented" to the state courts only if it was properly presented to (1) the state's Supreme Court, (2) as a federal question, (3) in the correct petition or brief, and (4) in a proper procedural context so that its merits will be considered.

If a petitioner has failed to present a federal constitutional claim to the state's highest court ( i.e., has failed to exhaust state remedies) and can no longer do so because of a procedural bar, that claim is procedurally defaulted. Boerckel, 526 U.S. at 848, citing Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731-32 (1991). Once a petitioner has procedurally defaulted a claim, federal habeas corpus review is barred unless the petitioner can demonstrate: (1)cause for the procedural default, and (2) actual prejudice from the failure. Edwards v. Carpenter, 529 U.S. 446, 451 (2000), Coleman, 501 U.S. at 750; see also Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. 72 (1977); Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 748 (1986); Hughes v. Idaho Bd. of Corr., 800 F.2d 905 (9th Cir. 1986).

Cause for a procedural default exists only if a petitioner can "show that some objective factor external to the defense impeded counsel's efforts to comply with the State's procedural rule." Murray, 477 U.S. at 488. Prejudice exists only if a petitioner shows that the procedural default "worked to [petitioner's] actual and substantial disadvantage." United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 170 (1982). Demonstrating a mere possibility of prejudice is insufficient. Id.

Procedural defaults may also be excused by demonstrating a "fundamental miscarriage of justice." Edwards v. Carpenter, 529 U.S. 446, 451 (2000). To establish the fundamental miscarriage of justice exception to the exhaustion requirement requires a showing of actual innocence. Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 329 (1995); Calderon v. Thompson, 523 U.S. 538, 559 (1998).

In Grounds One and Two petitioner alleges that his confession was "coerced" and that there was "no evidence to support penetration only hearsay and the coerced confession. On direct appeal, petitioner raised only one claim concerning the proportionality of his sentence - and did not seek review by the Oregon Supreme Court. ...

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