United States District Court, E.D. Washington
WILLIAM E. HUGHES, Petitioner,
STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent.
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING HABEAS CORPUS
SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
William E. Hughes, a prisoner at the Coyote Ridge Corrections
Center, brings this pro se Petition Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus By a Person in State
Custody, ECF No. 1. The $5.00 filing fee has been paid.
initial defect with the petition is that it fails to name a
proper party as a respondent. 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 (9th Cir. 1996). Failure to name a proper respondent
deprives federal courts of personal jurisdiction. See
Stanley, 21 F.3d at 360.
acknowledges his error and submitted a Motion to Substitute
Respondent, ECF No. 5. Based on the disposition of this
action, however, the motion will be denied as moot.
challenges a Lincoln County guilty plea to unspecified
charges. He received a sentence of twenty-seven plus three
months' confinement. Petitioner indicates that he did not
appeal from the judgment of conviction. ECF No. 1 at 2.
grounds for relief, Petitioner argues that the State of
Washington has no jurisdiction to decide federal
constitutional matters. Id. 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 corpus relief to a
state prisoner, the prisoner must exhaust the state court
remedies available to him or her. 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 or her claims before he or she
presents those claims to a federal court. O'Sullivan
v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838 (1999). A petitioner has not
exhausted a claim for relief so long as he or she has a right
under state law to raise the claim by an available procedure.
See id.; 28 U.S.C. § 2254(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 a
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
365-66; see also Tamalini v. Stewart, 249 F.3d 895,
898 (9th Cir. 2001) (same). Mere similarity between a claim
raised in a state court and a claim in a federal habeas
corpus 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 appears from the
face of the petition, the attached documents, and the
supplement received on June 18, 2019, ECF No. 4, that
Petitioner has not exhausted his state court remedies as to
each of his grounds for relief. Indeed, Petitioner
affirmatively represents that he did not exhaust his state
FOR FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS RELIEF
asserts that the Washington State Constitution contradicts
the U.S. Constitution regarding the Fifth Amendment right to
“presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.” ECF
No. 1. He claims “no bill of indictment” was
brought against him, rendering his arrest, conviction, and
imprisonment illegal. Id.
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. Id. His bald assertion that “due