United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING HABEAS PETITION
Stanley A. Bastian United States District Judge
the Court is Petitioner's pro se Petition Under
28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person
in State Custody, ECF No. 1. Petitioner is an inmate at the
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center pursuant to a Douglas County
Superior Court judgment and sentence. The $5.00 filing fee
has been paid. For the following reasons, the Court dismisses
the petition for federal habeas relief.
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 relief is the person having
custody of the petitioner. Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542
U.S. 426, 434 (2004); Stanley v. California Supreme
Court, 21 F.3d 359, 360 (9th Cir. 1994), as
amended (May 18, 1994). Petitioner filed a motion to
substitute the proper respondent, Jeffery A. Uttecht,
Superintendent of the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center. ECF
No. 3. That motion is granted.
challenges his 2019 Douglas County guilty plea to
first-degree child molestation, second-degree child
molestation, communication with a minor for immoral purposes,
and indecent exposure. He received sentences of 29 months, 60
months, and 120 months. Petitioner indicates that he did not
appeal from the judgment of conviction. ECF No. 1.
grounds for relief, Petition 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 United States 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 in his petition lack merit.
outset, a prisoner must adequately apprise the appropriate
state courts of the factual and legal bases of their claims
in a procedurally appropriate manner. 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
The prisoner must exhaust the state court remedies available
to him before a federal court may grant habeas relief to him.
28 § U.S.C. 2254(b)(1); Baldwin v. Reese, 541
U.S. 27, 27 (2004). Before he presents those claims to a
federal court, exhaustion generally requires that a prisoner
gives the state courts an opportunity to act on his claims.
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 844
(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 present the
state courts with a thorough description of the facts and
specific legal bases for each federal claim-the “fair
presentation” standard. Baldwin, 541 U.S. at
27; Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275-76 (1971).
Specifically, the petitioner must alert the state court that
he is “asserting claims under the United States
Constitution.” Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364,
368 (1995). Mere similarity between a claim raised in state
court and a claim raised in a federal habeas petition is
insufficient. Duncan, 513 U.S. at 366.
fairly present a claim, the petitioner “must give the
state courts one full opportunity to resolve any
constitutional issues.” O'Sullivan, 526
U.S. at 845. In doing so, the petitioner must present claims
to the state court in a manner that will permit their
consideration in the normal course of things. Castille v.
Peoples, 489 U.S. 346 (1989). Once a federal claim has
been fairly presented to the state courts, the exhaustion
requirement is satisfied. See Picard, 404 U.S. at
shown in the Petition, Petitioner has not exhausted his state
court remedies as to each of his grounds for relief.
Petitioner affirmatively represents that he did not exhaust
his state court remedies. First, Petitioner checked
“No, ” when answering any question as to taking
action in state court, such as: “Did you appeal from
the judgment of conviction?” and “Other than the
direct appeals listed above [(none are listed)], have you
previously filed any other petitions, applications, or
motions concerning this judgment of conviction in any state
court?” ECF No. 1 at 2-3. Second, regarding all four
grounds for relief that Petitioner listed, Petitioner wrote,
“The State of Washington doesn't have
jurisdictional authority to decide on the United States
Constitution in matters, which are outside its Jurisdictional
or Statutory governing limits”-answering, “If you
did not raise this issue in your direct appeal,
explain why.” ECF No. 1 at 5- 12.
Petition and Petitioner's statements establish that he
did not exhaust state remedies and his claim is not properly
before this Court.
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.”
ECF No. 1 at 5; see U.S. Const. amend. V. He claims
“no bill of indictment” was brought against ...