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McNeilly v. Hammer

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 10, 2014

JUDAH STEPHEN McNEILLY, Petitioner,
v.
STEVE HAMMER, Warden, Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

FRANKLIN L. NOEL, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1.) The case has been referred to this Court for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons discussed below, it is recommended that this action be summarily dismissed without prejudice pursuant to Rule 4 of The Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases In The United States District Courts.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner is a prisoner at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City, Minnesota. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence that was imposed in the State District Court for Hennepin County, Minnesota. Petitioner was sentenced after a jury found him guilty on multiple counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct. (Petition, p. 1.)

After Petitioner was convicted and sentenced, he filed a direct appeal. Petitioner claimed that his conviction should be reversed because of two instances of alleged prosecutorial misconduct, and because the trial court judge barred him from introducing certain allegedly exculpatory evidence. The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected all of Petitioner's claims on the merits and affirmed his conviction. State v. McNeilly, No. A11-1849, (Minn.App. 2012), 2012 WL 5834449 (unpublished opinion). The Minnesota Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for further review on January 29, 2013.

Petitioner's current habeas corpus petition lists three grounds for relief. These claims, repeated verbatim and in their entirety, are as follows:

(1) "The Minnesota Court of Appeals acted contrary to the United States Supreme Court Darden v. Wainwright , 477 U.S. 168 (1986) and Berger v. U.S. , 295 U.S. 78 (1935) decisions."

(2) "By improperly restricting Petitioner's right to present evidence of significant probative value, the Minnesota State Courts acted contrary to Washington v. Texas , 288 U.S. 14 (1967)."

(3) "Since the U.S. Constitution Mandates that an accused be given a jury trial in the district wherein the crime was committed, Petitioner's appellate counsel performance did not amount to the effective assistance of counsel on appeal as Smith v. Robbins , 528 U.S. 259 (2000) required, when counsel failed to grievance trial counsel failure to challenge venue of trial."

(Petition, Attachment A.)

The Court finds that Petitioner's current habeas corpus petition cannot be addressed on the merits, because he has not exhausted his state court remedies for all of the claims he is attempting to raise. It appears that Grounds One and Two of the current petition might have been presented in Petitioner's direct appeal in the Minnesota state courts.[2] However, it is readily apparent that Petitioner's third claim for relief - i.e., that he was deprived of his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel on his direct appeal - has never been raised in any state court proceeding. Therefore, Petitioner has not satisfied the exhaustion of state court remedies requirement prescribed by federal law and the United States Supreme Court.

II. DISCUSSION

It is well established that a federal court will not entertain a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a state prisoner unless the prisoner has first exhausted all available state court remedies for all of his claims. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel , 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999); Rose v. Lundy , 455 U.S. 509 (1982). This exhaustion of state remedies requirement is based on the principles of comity and federalism; its purpose is to ensure that state courts are given the first opportunity to correct alleged errors raised by state prisoners. O'Sullivan , 526 U.S. at 844; Rose , 455 U.S. at 518-19; Duncan v. Henry , 513 U.S. 364, 365-66 (1995) (per curiam). To satisfy the exhaustion of state ...


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