United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING HABEAS PETITION
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Chad James Specht, a prisoner at the Airway Heights
Corrections Center, brings this pro se Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The $5.00 filing fee has been paid.
names the State of Washington as Respondent. ECF No. 19 at 1.
However, the proper respondent in a federal petition seeking
habeas corpus relief is the person having custody of the
petitioner. Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426
(2004); Stanley v. Cal. Supreme Court, 21 F.3d 359,
360 (9th Cir. 1994). If the petitioner is incarcerated, the
proper respondent is generally the warden of the institution
where the petitioner is incarcerated. See Ortiz-Sandoval
v. Gomez, 81 F.3d 891, 894-95 (9th Cir. 1996). Failure
to name a proper respondent deprives federal courts of
personal jurisdiction. See Stanley, 21 F.3d at 360.
challenges his 2018 Spokane County guilty plea to the charge
of First Degree Assault - Domestic Violence. He was sentenced
to 115 months incarceration. Petitioner indicates that he did
not appeal. ECF No. 1 at 2.
grounds for relief, Petitioner argues that the State of
Washington has no jurisdiction to decide federal
constitutional matters. ECF No. 1 at 5-12. It has long been
settled that state courts are competent to decide questions
arising under the U.S. Constitution. See Baker v.
Grice, 169 U.S. 284, 291 (1898) (“It is the duty
of the state court, as much as it is that of the federal
courts, when the question of the validity of a state statute
is necessarily involved, as being in alleged violation of any
provision of the federal constitution, to decide that
question, and to hold the law void if it violate that
instrument.”); see also Worldwide Church of God v.
McNair, 805 F.2d 888, 891 (9th Cir. 1986) (holding that
state courts are as competent as federal courts to decide
federal constitutional matters). Therefore, Petitioner's
arguments to the contrary lack merit.
before a federal court may grant habeas relief to a state
prisoner, the prisoner must exhaust the state court remedies
available to him. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b); Baldwin v.
Reese, 541 U.S. 27 (2004). Exhaustion generally requires
that a prisoner give the state courts an opportunity to act
on his claims before he presents those claims to a federal
court. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845
(1999). A petitioner has not exhausted a claim for relief so
long as the petitioner has a right under state law to raise
the claim by available procedure. See id.; 28 U.S.C.
the exhaustion requirement, the petitioner must have
“fairly present[ed] his claim in each appropriate state
court (including a state supreme court with powers of
discretionary review), thereby alerting that court to the
federal nature of the claim.” Baldwin, 541
U.S. at 29; see also Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364,
365-66 (1995). A petitioner fairly presents a claim to the
state court by describing the factual or legal bases for that
claim and by alerting the state court “to the fact that
the ... [petitioner is] asserting claims under the United
States Constitution.” Duncan, 513 U.S. at
365-366; see also Tamalini v. Stewart, 249 F.3d 895,
898 (9th Cir. 2001) (same). Mere similarity between a claim
raised in state court and a claim in a federal habeas
petition is insufficient. Duncan, 513 U.S. at
to fairly present a claim, the petitioner “must give
the state courts one full opportunity to resolve any
constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the
State's established appellate review process.”
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845. Once a federal
claim has been fairly presented to the state courts, the
exhaustion requirement is satisfied. See Picard v.
Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275 (1971). It does not appear
from the face of the Petition or the attached documents that
Petitioner has exhausted his state court remedies as to each
of his grounds for relief. Indeed, Petitioner affirmatively
represents that he did not exhaust his state court remedies.
FRIVOLOUS GROUNDS FOR FEDERAL HABEAS RELIEF
asserts that the Washington state constitution contradicts
the federal constitution regarding the Fifth Amendment right
to “presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.”
He claims “no bill of indictment” was brought
against him rendering his arrest, conviction and imprisonment
seems to argue that because the state courts have defied
“federally established procedures and processes for the
adjudication of crimes” only “a court of federal
jurisdiction” has jurisdictional authority over his
claims. His bald assertion that “due process of the law
was ignored” is unsupported by his factual allegations.
United States Supreme Court stated long ago:
“Prosecution by information instead of by indictment is
provided for by the laws of Washington. This is not a
violation of the Federal Constitution.” Gaines v.
State of Washington, 277 U.S. 81, 86 (1928).
Consequently, Petitioner's assertions to the ...