United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
T. SCHULTZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Richard Willmar
Rapatt's Amended 78-page petition for habeas corpus
relief filed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2254 [ECF No. 9].
Rapatt also filed 414 pages of exhibits and other supporting
materials [ECF No. 10]. The Court previously directed Rapatt
to file an amended petition because his original filing was
not filed on the Court's standard habeas corpus form and
it omitted critical information [ECF No. 7]. Rapatt again
chose not to use the Court's standard habeas petition,
but he did supply the Minnesota State Court exhaustion
information missing from his original filing. For reasons
explained herein, the Court recommends denial of Rapatt's
amended petition because it presents no valid claims for
2015, Richard Willmar Rapatt was tried before a Minnesota
court for eight counts related to income tax. The district
court found him guilty of six of the eight counts and
sentenced him to a 13-month prison sentence, stayed for five
years, on the condition that he serve 90 days in jail. Prior
to his state court sentencing he tried to stall the process
by filing for various forms of appellate relief. Ultimately,
the state district court proceeded to sentence him to move
the case along and to allow him to fully pursue appellate
challenges. See State of Minnesota v. Rapatt, No.
56-CR-15-606 (Minn. D. Ct. 2015).
pursued a direct appeal, as well as state post-conviction
proceedings. His direct appeal failed because he never filed
a comprehensive brief on his own behalf. See State of
Minnesota v. Rapatt, No. A16-1932 (Minn.Ct.App. 2017)
(dismissing his direct appeal because Rapatt insisted on
pursuing mandamus and he failed to file a standard direct
appeal brief at the court's direction). His
postconviction appeal also failed because the Court found
that Minnesota courts had sufficient evidence to justify the
convictions, and his jurisdictional or territorial arguments
were not valid. See Rapatt v. State of Minnesota,
No. A17-2033, 2018 WL 4201185 (Minn.Ct.App. 2018) (affirming
the post-conviction court's finding that there was no
error in the state court proceedings). The Supreme Court of
Minnesota declined to issue a petition for review.
then petitioned this Court for habeas corpus relief [ECF Nos.
1, 9]. His verbose pleadings are difficult to follow, but in
essence, Rapatt alleges that the Minnesota courts did not
have jurisdiction over him and/or the tax prosecution was
faulty because he did not receive a form of notice that he
believes was a prerequisite to those proceedings.
Rapatt's amended petition is before this Court for a
Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636
and Local Rule 72.1. This Court has conducted a preliminary
review of Mr. Rapatt's habeas petition under Rule 4 of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts and recommends denial of Mr. Rapatt's
amended habeas corpus petition.
initial matter, the Court notes that Rapatt may no longer be
in physical custody of the State of Minnesota, but by his own
assertions he is still subject to probation under the
supervision of Glenn Whiteford. Ongoing supervision is
sufficient to keep habeas proceedings alive because Rapatt
still has a conceivable interest in being relieved from
supervision. See Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7
(1998) (an individual is still incarcerated by way of parole
for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2254). Thus, Rapatt's
petition was not rendered moot by his release from detention.
Rapatt alleges that the Minnesota courts did not have
jurisdiction over him for many reasons. The most prominent
claim is that he is somehow not a citizen of the state of
Minnesota or he is not a citizen of the United States.
Minnesota Court of Appeals could not address this claim on
direct appeal because the direct appeal was dismissed when
Rapatt refused to file a traditional appellate brief.
However, the issue was tangentially presented to the
post-conviction court, which noted:
As we understand it, Rapatt argues that because the
completion of a Minnesota state tax return requires a
taxpayer to file a federal tax return and he was not required
to file a federal tax return, he was not required to file a
state tax return. The underlying basis for his assertion that
he was not required to file a federal income tax return is
that he did not consent to being taxed by any government
entity. […] As the postconviction court reasoned, the
power of taxation has nothing to do with consent and
everything to do with territorial sovereignty.
Rapatt v. State of Minnesota, Case No. A17-2033,
2018 WL 4201185 (Minn.Ct.App. Sept. 4, 2018).
Mr. Rapatt's challenge fares no better in federal court
for two reasons. As an initial matter, Mr. Rapatt's
challenge is primarily one rooted in Minnesota state law, not
federal law. Minnesota courts define the jurisdictional
limits of the Minnesota judiciary, and this Court does not
have authority to question the state court's
interpretation of state law. Evenstad v. Carlson,
470 F.3d 777, 782 (8th Cir. 2006). To the extent Mr. Rapatt
contends he was owed some kind of notice, that is a question
of state law that is not properly before this Court. Mr.
Rapatt also contends that because the state court did not
have any authority, it somehow infringed upon his federal
rights, but he also contests that he is not a United States
citizen and is merely a national. These assertions are
incongruent. He cannot be exempt from federal rights and
privileges (such as following tax norms) while also reaping
the benefits of federal review of his state rights.
Rapatt was afforded due process protections available under
federal habeas corpus provisions, he has not stated a valid
due process claim that he was wronged in state court.
Minnesota law provides that “[a] person may be
convicted and sentenced under the law of this state if the
person…commits an offense in whole or in part within
this state.” Minn. Stat. § 609.025(1). Rapatt does