Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Howard v. State

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 19, 2019

Rico P. Howard, Petitioner,
v.
State of Minnesota, Respondent.

          Rico P. Howard, MCF-Rush City, pro se

          Brittany D. Lawonn and Jean E. Burdorf, Hennepin County Attorney's Office, for Respondent State of Minnesota

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          HILDY BOWBEER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the State of Minnesota's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 7] Rico P. Howard's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [Doc. No. 1]. Howard filed his habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction of second-degree murder and 363-month sentence. (Pet. at 1 [Doc. No. 1].) Howard is incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City, Minnesota. The motion to dismiss was referred to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and District of Minnesota Local Rule 72.1 for the issuance of a report and recommendation. The Court concludes that Howard is not entitled to habeas relief because all of his claims are barred by the one-year statute of limitations established by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). Therefore, the Court recommends that the petition be dismissed, the motion to dismiss be granted, and no certificate of appealability be granted.

         I. Background

         Howard pleaded guilty to and was convicted of second-degree murder in Hennepin County District Court. State v. Howard, No. A15-1391, 2016 WL 1397213, at *1 (Minn.Ct.App. Apr. 11, 2016). He was sentenced on June 1, 2015, to 363 months in prison. Id. at *2. He appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial court erred when it denied (1) his request for substitute counsel and (2) his motion for a downward durational departure. Id. at *1. The Court of Appeals affirmed in both respects, concluding that the motion for substitute counsel was untimely, that his guilty plea essentially waived his substitute counsel argument, and that his plea was voluntary. Id. at *3-4. Additionally, the court of appeals determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant Howard a downward durational departure at sentencing. Id. at *4. Howard filed a petition for review in the Minnesota Supreme Court, which denied the petition on June 29, 2016. The Minnesota Court of Appeals entered judgment on August 1, 2016. (Resp't App. at 79 [Doc. No. 8].) Howard asserts that he filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court that was denied on April 28, 2017. (Pet. at 3.)

         Meanwhile, on August 26, 2015, Howard filed a request for a restitution hearing to challenge the trial court's award of $7, 408.50 to the victim's fiancé and $7, 408.50 to the Minnesota Crime Victims Reparations Board. Howard v. State, 909 N.W.2d 595, 597 (Minn.Ct.App. 2018). The state district court did not hold a restitution hearing, but decreased the fiancé's award to $1, 400 and amended the restitution order. Id. On January 12, 2017, Howard filed a postconviction motion seeking to vacate the amended restitution order, which the trial court denied. Id. Howard appealed, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the decision and remanded the matter to the district court to schedule a restitution hearing. Id. at 597-98.

         Howard filed a second postconviction petition on June 26, 2017, asserting he had pleaded guilty under duress from his attorneys. (Resp't App. at 119-24.) On November 29, 2017, the state district court denied the petition for lack of jurisdiction, in light of Howard's then-pending direct appeal of his conviction. (Id. at 140-42). In the alternative, the court found the claim barred by State v. Knaffla, 243 N.W.2d 737, 741 (Minn. 1976). (Id. at 142-43.)

         Howard filed his federal habeas petition pursuant to § 2254 on January 9, 2019. [Doc. No. 1.] He raises four grounds for relief: (1) the trial court erred when it denied his request for a downward departure; (2) the trial court erred when it denied him substitute counsel; (3) his attorney manipulated him into pleading guilty and thus his plea was not voluntary; and (4) new evidence will prove his actual innocence. (Pet. at 5-10 [Doc. No. 1].) The first three grounds relate to claims that were the subject of Howard's direct appeal. Howard believes that his petition is timely because his state postconviction petition tolled the applicable one-year statute of limitations. (Pet. at 14 [Doc. No. 1].)

         The State of Minnesota filed its response on February 13, 2019. [Doc. No. 6.] The State contends that all of Howard's claims are barred by the one-year statute of limitations, that Howard has not exhausted his fourth claim, and that all claims fail on the merits.

         II. Discussion

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) established a one-year statute of limitations for state prisoners to file habeas corpus petitions seeking federal court review of their convictions or sentences. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).

(d)(1) 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 limitation period shall run 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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.