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Steltz v. Kelly

United States District Court, D. Oregon

April 8, 2019

ADAM STELTZ, Petitioner,
v.
BRANDON KELLY, Superintendent, Oregon State Penitentiary, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MALCOLM F. MARSH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner, an inmate at Snake River Correctional Institution, brings this habeas corpus proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Currently before the Court are Petitioner's Amended Habeas Corpus Petition (ECF No. 19), Motion for Stay (ECF No. 46), and Motion to Add Further Claims (ECF No. 48); and Respondent's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 51). For the reasons set forth below, this Court denies Petitioner's motions, grants Respondent's motion to dismiss, and denies Petitioner's amended habeas corpus petition.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2011, a jury convicted Petitioner of three counts of first-degree sodomy, one count of first-degree sexual penetration, one count of first-degree sexual abuse, and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse. Pet'r's Am, Pet. at 1-2 (Marion County No. 10C46694). The convictions arose out of allegations that Petitioner sexually assaulted two fellow inmates. Counts 1-3 relate to inmate "JR5" and counts 4-7 relate to inmate "TV." Resp't Notice of Mootness (ECF No. 54), Att. 2 at 1-2. The trial court imposed a combined sentence of 400 months. Pet'r's Am. Pet. at 2.

         The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions, but reversed and remanded a portion of his sentence on the basis that the trial court should have merged Petitioner's convictions on counts 6 and 7 (second-degree sexual assault) with counts 4 and 5 (first-degree sodomy). State v. Steltz, 259 Or.App. 212, 221 (2013), rev. denied, 354 Or. 814 and 355 Or. 751 (2014).

         Petitioner thereafter sought state post-conviction relief (PCR). The PCR Court granted relief as to counts 4-7 (pertaining to inmate JV) because trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. Pet'r's Am. Pet., Att. A at 3-4. The PCR court remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings. Id. at 4. Petitioner appealed the denial of post-conviction relief on his remaining claims and the appeal was dismissed on August 10, 2018. Steltz v. Amsberry, No. A163838 (docket sheet).

         On remand, the Marion County Circuit Court dismissed counts 4-7 due to the unavailability of a witness. Resp't Notice of Mootness, Att. 1. On February 4, 2019, however, a grand jury returned a new indictment again charging Petitioner with two counts of sodomy in the first degree and two counts of sexual abuse in the second degree against inmate JV. Pet'r's Resp. to Mootness (ECF No. 57) at 1-3; State v. Steltz, Marion Cry. No. 19CR08554.

         In the instant proceeding, Petitioner alleges that his retrial on the sodomy and sex abuse charges violates his right to be free from double jeopardy. Pet'r's Am. Pet. at 3-4. Respondent moves to dismiss the amended habeas petition on the basis that Petitioner's retrial does not constitute double jeopardy. Resp't Mot. to Dismiss at 3-4.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Petitioner's Motion to Stay

          Petitioner moves this Court to stay Marion County No. 10C46694. Pet'r's Mot. to Stay at 1. This Court denies Petitioner's motion as moot because the Marion County Circuit Court has dismissed the pending charges in No. 10C46694.

         Further, if the Court construes Petitioner's motion to be directed at the new indictment filed in Marion County No. 19CR08554, the motion is denied because, as set forth below, Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that his retrial violates the Double Jeopardy Clause and this Court therefore declines to interfere with an ongoing state criminal proceeding. Cf Readylink Healthcare, Inc. v. State Comp. Ins. Fund, 754 F.3d 754, 758 (9th Cir. 2014) (holding that a federal court should abstain from entering an order if it has the practical effect of enjoining an ongoing state criminal proceeding that implicates important state interests and the movant has an adequate opportunity to raise his constitutional claims in that proceeding).

         II. Petitioner's Motion to Add Further Claims

         Petitioner has filed a motion captioned "Motion to Add Further Claims of Double Jeopardy, Torture & Deleted Transcripts, Property Withheld by U.S. Attorneys at Least to Preserve for 9th Circuit Court's & U.S. Court's Supreme, Pursuant to 5th-l4th U.S. Constitution Due Process, Equal Protection of Laws" (ECF No. 48). Although it is difficult to decipher, it appears Petitioner seeks to add claims based on allegations that (1) his court-appointed habeas counsel denied him due process and equal protection of the laws; (2) state judges Claudia Burton and Thomas Hart altered computer records and video recordings to hide the fact that "two punishments" were imposed on counts 4-7 due to "merger errors;" (3) Marion County jail staff assaulted him; ...


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