United States District Court, E.D. Washington
STEVEN E. NEELY, Petitioner,
WASHINGTON STATE, Respondent.
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING HABEAS PETITION
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Steven E. Neely, a prisoner currently housed at the Spokane
County Jail, brought this pro se Petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, while incarcerated at the Coyote Ridge
Corrections Center. 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, 435 (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. Padilla, 542 U.S. at 436. Failure
to name a proper respondent deprives federal courts of
personal jurisdiction. See Stanley, 21 F.3d at 360.
challenges a 2018 Spokane County guilty plea to first degree
child molestation. He was sentenced to 68 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 5-13. 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, 842
(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).
not appear from the face of the Petition 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.
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 ...