United States District Court, E.D. Washington
PAUL L. SHOALS, JR., Petitioner,
JEFFERY A. UTTECHT, Respondent.
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING HABEAS PETITION
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Paul L. Shoals, Jr., a prisoner at the Coyote Ridge
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.
challenges a 2018 Spokane County guilty plea to possession of
a controlled substance. He was sentenced to twelve months and
one day of incarceration. Petitioner indicates that he did
not appeal. ECF No. 1 at 3.
grounds for relief, Petitioner argues that the State of
Washington has no jurisdiction to decide federal
constitutional matters. ECF No. 1 at 6-13. 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
(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 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
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.” See Gaines
v. State of Washington, 277 U.S. 81, 86 (1928).
Consequently, Petitioner's assertions to the contrary
presented in his four grounds for federal habeas relief are
it plainly appears from the petition and the attached
exhibits that Petitioner is not entitled to relief in this
Court, IT IS ORDERED the petition,
ECF No. 1, is DISMISSED
pursuant to Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts.
IS SO ORDERED. The Clerk of Court is directed to
enter this Order, enter judgment, provide copies to
Petitioner, and close the file. The Court certifies that
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), an appeal from this
decision could not be taken in good faith, and there is no
basis upon which to issue a certificate of appealability. 28