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Anderson v. Walz

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 1, 2019

BYRON KENNETH ANDERSON, Petitioner,
v.
TIM WALZ, Governor; KEITH ELLISON, Attorney General; TONY LOUREY, Commissioner of DHS; and STATE OF MINNESOTA Respondents.[1]

          ORDER ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Nancy E. Brasel United States District Judge

         This is a habeas action brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 by Petitioner Byron Kenneth Anderson (“Anderson”). [ECF No. 1.] In a Report and Recommendation dated November 29, 2018 [ECF No. 16 (“R&R”)], United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Cowan Wright recommended denying the petition. Anderson filed an objection to the R&R. [ECF No. 17 (“Pet.'s Obj.”)], and the Governor, Commissioner of DHS, and the State of Minnesota (“Defendants”) filed a response to Anderson's objection. [ECF No. 19.] This Court now reviews the R&R.

         BACKGROUND

         Anderson, a pro se plaintiff, is currently being civilly detained by the State of Minnesota after a finding that he is sexually dangerous. See In re Civil Commitment of Anderson, No. A12-1111, 2012 WL 5476173 (Minn.Ct.App. Nov. 13, 2012); In re Civil Commitment of Anderson, No. A06-2008, 2007 WL 824019 (Minn.Ct.App. Mar. 20, 2007). Prior to his civil commitment, Anderson was convicted of two state court criminal sexual offenses-one in Pope County and one in Stearns County. State v. Anderson, 520 N.W.2d 184, 185-86 (Minn.Ct.App. 1994). Anderson argues that, as part of his plea agreement, the state agreed to not pursue civil commitment if Anderson completed an appropriate training program while incarcerated. In 2016, Anderson brought a claim in state court to revoke his plea agreement. See Anderson v. State, No. A17-1104, 2018 WL 1997087 (Minn.Ct.App. Apr. 30, 2018). The district court dismissed his claim as untimely and the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed. Id. Then, in October 2018, Anderson filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with this Court, alleging the government breached the Stearns County plea agreement. [ECF No. 1.][2]

         ANALYSIS

         I. Standard of Review

         The Court reviews the portions of the R&R to which Anderson objects de novo. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         II. Whether Anderson is “In Custody” For Purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3)

         The R&R first points out that Anderson cannot seek habeas relief because he is not “in custody” as required by the federal habeas statute. (R&R at 3.) Anderson did not directly object to this determination, and so the Court reviews it for clear error. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72; Montgomery v. Compass Airlines, LLC, 98 F.Supp.3d 1012, 1017 (D. Minn. 2015) (“Objections which are not specific but merely repeat arguments presented to and considered by a magistrate judge are not entitled to de novo review, but rather are reviewed for clear error.”). This court may only consider habeas petitions from individuals who are “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). The Supreme Court has “interpreted the statutory language as requiring that the habeas petitioner be ‘in custody' under the conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition is filed.” Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490-91 (1989) (emphasis added). Anderson's detainment by the State of Minnesota is due to his civil commitment, and not a criminal conviction. Because Anderson is not “in custody” as required by § 2241, the R&R did not clearly err in dismissing his petition.

         III. Whether Anderson's Petition is Timely

         The R&R also notes that Anderson's petition is untimely. (R&R at 3.) Anderson argues his habeas petition is not time-barred for three reasons. First, he argues “[t]he State did not breach the terms of the contract until the final commitment order was entered in 2007.” (Pet's Obj. at 7.) Section 2244(d)(1) provides that “[a] 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court.” The period runs from the latest of:

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing a application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made ...

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