United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the June 7, 2019 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) of United States Magistrate Judge
Leo I. Brisbois. (Dkt. 17.) The R&R recommends denying
Petitioner Peter Louis John's petition for a writ of
habeas corpus and dismissing the matter without prejudice.
John and Respondent Kris Rish filed timely objections to the
R&R. For the reasons addressed below, the Court overrules
both parties' objections, adopts the R&R, and
dismisses this case without prejudice.
September 23, 2014, John was convicted in Ramsey County
District Court of aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
John appealed his conviction to the Minnesota Court of
Appeals, which affirmed the conviction in all respects.
See State v. John, No. A15-0303, 2016 WL 1288370
(Minn.Ct.App. Apr. 4, 2016). The Minnesota Supreme Court
denied John's petition for further review.
subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief in
Ramsey County District Court. The district court denied the
petition on the ground that John's claims were
procedurally barred because he failed to raise them on direct
appeal. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed, see John
v. State, No. A17-1098, 2018 WL 700258 (Minn.Ct.App.
Feb. 5, 2018), and the Minnesota Supreme Court denied
John's petition for further review.
20, 2018, John filed the instant habeas corpus petition.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He asserts five claims in
support of granting habeas relief: the Minnesota courts erred
in applying the Knaffla rule as a ground for denying
John's post-conviction petition in the state-court
proceedings, and the trial court erroneously admitted
John's pre-Miranda statements to the police,
excluded evidence of a potential alternative
perpetrator's other criminal activity,  precluded John
from cross-examining a police officer about the officer's
prior act of dishonesty, and failed to instruct the jury that
other individuals were accomplices.
R&R concludes that John did not raise in the state courts
two of the habeas claims that he raises here. According to
the R&R, although John referred to
reverse-Spreigl evidence in his Minnesota Supreme
Court petition for further review, John did not identify any
federal constitutional right, statutory provision, or case
law on which his claim for relief was based. In addition, the
R&R observes that John's petition for further review
did not refer to any violation of the federal Confrontation
Clause based on his inability to cross-examine a police
officer about the officer's prior act of dishonesty.
Thus, the R&R concludes that these claims are
John's petition contains both exhausted and unexhausted
claims, the R&R recommends dismissing the habeas petition
for failure to exhaust. The R&R identifies two options
for the petitioner: either abandon the unexhausted claims and
file an amended petition before the deadline for objections
or seek dismissal without prejudice and exhaust the
unexhausted claims in state-court proceedings. Both John and
Rish filed timely objections to the R&R.
party files and serves specific written objections to a
magistrate judge's R&R, the district court reviews
de novo those portions of the R&R to which an
objection is made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3). In doing so, the
district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C);
accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3).
Because John is proceeding pro se, the Court
liberally construes his petition and objections. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam).
John's First Objection to the R&R
first objects to the R&R's conclusion that he failed
to refer to a specific federal constitutional right,
statutory provision, or case law when he presented his
reverse-Spreigl claim to the Minnesota Supreme
habeas petitioner in state custody is required to exhaust all
available state-court remedies before bringing any claim in
federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1). To exhaust
state-court remedies as to a federal habeas claim, the
petitioner must have “fairly presented” the
“substance” of that federal claim in state
courts. Jones v. Jerrison, 20 F.3d 849, 854 (8th
Cir. 1994) (internal quotation marks omitted). In doing so,
the petitioner must have presented to the state courts
“the same facts and legal theories” that are
later presented to a federal court. Id. The claim
also must refer to a “specific federal constitutional
guarantee, as well as a statement of the facts that entitle
the petitioner to relief.” Gray v. Netherland,
518 U.S. 152, 162-63 (1996). Without more, “a general
appeal to a constitutional guarantee as broad as due process
[fails] to present the ‘substance' of such a claim
to a state court.” Id. at 163.
petition alleges that the state trial court erroneously
excluded reverse-Spreigl evidence of a potential
alternative perpetrator. John presented this claim to both
the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme
Court in his respective appeal and petition for further
review. But John did ...