United States District Court, D. Oregon
LOREN A. BOWERS, Petitioner,
JEFF PREMO, Respondent.
Kristina Hellman Assistant Federal Public Defender Attorney
F. Rosenblum Deputy Attorney General Kristen E. Boyd
Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Respondent
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
PAPAK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is currently in the custody of the Oregon Department of
Corrections, He brings this habeas corpus proceeding pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below,
Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No.
2) should be DENIED, and Judgment should be entered
dismissing this action.
December 4, 2007, Petitioner pleaded guilty to two counts of
Aggravated Murder, for the killing of Nicole Hutchings.
Resp't Exs. (ECF No. 18), Ex. 104. On December 6, 2007,
the Deschutes County Circuit Court sentenced Petitioner to
life without the possibility of parole. Resp't Ex. 105.
Petitioner did not directly appeal his convictions.
Petitioner did file a petition for state post-conviction
relief ("PCR"). Resp't Ex. 106. Following an
evidentiary hearing, the PCR trial court denied relief, based
on the following findings and conclusions:
A. Petitioner has failed to establish any errors on the part
of his attorneys. Because no error has been shown, there is
no showing that his defense was compromised.
B. The court finds credible the sworn statements of
petitioner's attorneys that he was shown all the
discovery. That discovery included statements from witnesses
who saw petitioner and his co-defendant with the victim the
night she disappeared. They saw her leave with them. They saw
petitioner and co-defendant return without her and burn
clothing, and/or a back pack in a wood stove. Petitioner has
made statements to witnesses that "it's done"
when he returned without the victim, C. The state obtained a
warrant to place a "wire" on the witness Shannon,
which warrant was submitted to Judge Sullivan and was
supported by ample evidence. During this recorded
conversation, Petitioner made many incriminating statements.
D. The police then took the Petitioner into custody and he
made more incriminating statements. The court concludes that
all of this overwhelming evidence was presented to petitioner
by his attorneys. There was no defense strategy because there
was no defense.
E. All of petitioner's statements and claims about the
lack of cooperation by his lawyers are not credible. A motion
for change of venue almost certainly would have been denied.
And, in any event, would not have changed the strength of the
F, The court does not believe that Petitioner was berated by
either of his attorneys or the judge during the settlement
conference. The petitioner acknowledged during his plea
hearing that he knew what he was doing and doing so
voluntarily. Any statements or exhibits [to] the effect that
he was unduly pressured are not believable.
G. The court finds that an adequate investigation was
conducted on Petitioner's behalf. The idea that some
letter of apology from some police authority at some earlier
time, even if true, would have made any difference is
laughable. So, any delay in looking for a "box"
which may have contained such a letter was not error.
H. There were no motions that should have been filed because
the petitioner made a rational and voluntary decision to
accept a "true life" sentence so as to avoid a very
likely death sentence.
I. With regard to any issues not specifically addressed
above, the court relies upon and adopts the facts and law in
defendant's trial memorandum as those of the court,
Petitioner has failed to meet his burden of proof. This
judgment determines all issues presented, If either party
contends that it is entitled to costs, application may be
made pursuant to statute.
Bowers v. Belleque, Marion County Circuit Court No.
08C21838; Resp't Ex. 147 at 2-3. On appeal, the Oregon
Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion, and the Oregon
Supreme Court denied review. Bowers v. Belleque, 267
Or.App. 424, 341 P.3d 252 (2014); 357 Or. 324, 354 P.3d 696
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Petitioner raises two
grounds for relief, each containing multiple sub-parts. In
Ground One, Petitioner alleges the following trial counsel
First Claim for Relief [Ground One]
Petitioner's conviction was wrongfully obtained and is
void in violation of ORS 138.530. Specifically, petitioner
was denied effective assistance of trial counsel in violation
of the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution and in violation of Article I,
§§ 11 and 16 of the Oregon Constitution in one or
more of the following particulars.
1. Counsel failed to provide Petitioner with the information
necessary to ensure that Petitioner's decision to forego
trial and enter into a plea agreement was knowingly and
2. Counsel failed to conduct a reasonable and adequate
investigation into the law and facts of the case, including,
but not limited to, failing to interview key witnesses and
failing to secure a box of items from Petitioner's
residence, which included possible [exculpatory evidence].
3. Counsel failed to ensure the Petitioner's plea was
knowing and voluntarily made; Petitioner asserts that he was
pressured to take a plea by his counsel, as well as the
Court, during a settlement conference, which Petitioner did
not want, but was forced to attend without any prior
preparation from counsel. Petitioner was berated by the Court
and terrified with threats of being sentenced to death row,
without interjection of the protection of counsel, Letters
asking Petitioner to plea and promises to see his children
were use[d] to pressure Petitioner to plea.
4. Trial counsel failed to file appropriate motions,
including but not limited to:
a. Motion to Suppress statements given to police agents,
including officers and detectives;
b. Motions to Suppress telephoned recordings made without
c. Motion to controvert the order allowing interception of