Dunkerley v. State of Alabama

Filing 39

ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations re 36 Report and Recommendation. For the reasons set forth, Petitioner's objections are OVERRULED and the R&R is ADOPTED.. Signed by Senior Judge Charles R. Butler, Jr on 7/7/2014. (adk)

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IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  DISTRICT  COURT  FOR  THE   SOUTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  ALABAMA   SOUTHERN  DIVISION     PETER  JAMES  DUNKERLEY,     Petitioner,     v.     DEWAYNE  ESTES,     Respondent,           )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )   )           CIVIL  ACTION  NO.   13-­‐00331-­‐CB-­‐M     ORDER   Petitioner  Peter  James  Dunkerley  has  filed  an  objection  (Doc.  37)  to  the   Magistrate  Judge’s  Report  and  Recommendation,  made  pursuant  to  28  U.S.C.  §   636(b)(1)(B),    which  recommends  that  Dunkerley’s  habeas  petition  be  denied.    For   the  reasons  set  forth  below,  the  Court  overrules  Petitioner’s  objections  and  adopts   the  Report  and  Recommendation.   Background     Petitioner  has  raised  four  claims  in  his  §  2254  petition  challenging  the   constitutionality  of  his  state  conviction  for  possession  of  child  pornography.    None   of  those  claims  were  raised  on  direct  appeal  in  state  court,  but  Petitioner  did  raise   them  in  his  state  Rule  32  collateral  attack.    In  denying  Petitioner’s  Rule  32  appeal,   the  Alabama  Court  of  Criminal  Appeals  found  three  of  the  four  claims  were   procedurally  barred  under  state  law.    The  appellate  court  did  not  address   Petitioner’s  fourth  claim  because  he  did  not  pursue  it  in  the  Rule  32  appeal.   Petitioner  did  not  file  a  petition  for  writ  of  certiorari  with  the  Alabama  Supreme   Court  and,  therefore,  failed  to  exhaust  his  Rule  32  appeal.     The  Magistrate  Judge  found  all  four  claims  raised  in  Petitioner’s  §  2254   habeas  petition  to  be  barred  by  the  doctrine  of  procedural  default.    The  first  three   claims  were  procedurally  defaulted  for  two  alternative  reasons.    First,  the  Alabama   Court  of  Criminal  Appeals  found  that  the  procedural  default  applied,  and  federal   courts  are  bound  by  that  determination.    See  Harris  v.  Reed,  489  U.S.  255  (1989).     Second,  by  failing  to  petition  the  Alabama  Supreme  court  for  a  writ  of  certiorari,   Petitioner  failed  to  exhaust  those  claims,  which  are  now  barred  by  procedural   default.  See  McNair  v.  Campbell,  416  F.3d  1291,  1305  (11th  Cir.  2005)  (“It  is  well   established  that  when  a  petitioner  has  failed  to  exhaust  his  claim  by  failing  to  fairly   present  it  to  the  state  courts  and  the  state  court  remedy  is  no  longer  available,  the   failure  also  constitutes  a  procedural  bar.”)  The  Magistrate  Judge  found  the  fourth   claim  to  be  procedurally  barred  for  failure  to  exhaust  because  that  claim  was  not   raised  at  all  in  the  Rule  32  appeal  to  the  Alabama  Court  of  Criminal  Appeals.    See  id.       The  Magistrate  Judge  rejected  Petitioner’s  attempts  to  overcome  procedural  default   based  on  “cause  and  prejudice”  or  “actual  innocence”.       Discussion     Petitioner  does  not  object  to  the  Magistrate  Judge’s  initial  conclusion  that  the   claims  were  procedurally  defaulted.    Instead,  his  objections  are  focused  on  the   exceptions  to  procedural  default.    Petitioner  argues  that  the  confiscation  of  his  legal   papers  by  prison  officials  demonstrates  cause  for  his  procedural  default.    As   Petitioner’s  evidence  shows,  those  papers  were  not  confiscated  from  him  but  from   another  inmate-­‐-­‐a  “prison  law  clerk”  to  whom  he  had  given  his  papers  for   assistance.    That  inmate  was  placed  in  segregation  for  disciplinary  reasons  and  took     2   with  him  legal  papers  belonging  to  other  inmates,  including  Petitioner.    “’[C]ause’   under  the  cause  and  prejudice  test  must  be  something  external  to  the  petitioner,   something  that  cannot  fairly  be  attributed  to  him.”    Coleman  v.  Thompson,  501  U.S.   722,  753  (2001).  Petitioner’s  decision  to  entrust  his  legal  papers  to  another  inmate   who  proved  to  be  untrustworthy  does  not  satisfy  the  “cause”  requirement.    See   Cabrera  v.  Page,  172  F.Supp.2d  966,  983-­‐84  (N.D.  Ill.  2001)(“mistakes  of  a  prison   law  clerk”  do  not  constitute  “cause”  for  procedural  default),  rev’d  on  other  grounds,   324  F.3d  527  (7th  Cir.  2003).    Even  if  Petitioner  could  demonstrate  “cause”  for  (and   prejudice  from)  his  failure  to  file  a  petition  for  certiorari,  that  would  address  only   one  basis  for  the  Magistrate  Judge’s  procedural  default  findings  as  to  Claims  One   through  Three.    The  Magistrate  found  that  procedural  default  also  applied  for  an   alternative  reason,  that  is,  because  the  Alabama  Court  of  Criminal  Appeals,  on  Rule   32  appeal,  had  found  those  claims  to  be  procedurally  defaulted  under  state  court   rules.1     Next,  Petitioner  contends  that  his  claims  are  not  subject  to  procedural  default   under  the  “miscarriage  of  justice”  exception  because  he  is  actually  innocent.  “[T]he   miscarriage  of  justice  exception  is  concerned  with  actual  as  compared  to  legal   innocence.”  Calderon  v.  Thompson,  523  U.S.  538,  559  (1998)  (internal  citations  and   quotations  omitted).  The  Supreme  Court  has  sought  to  ensure  that  the  exception   “would  remain  ‘rare’  and  would  only  be  applied  in  the  ‘extraordinary  case,’  while  at   the  same  time  ensuring  that  the  exception  would  extend  relief  to  those  who  were   truly  deserving.”    Schlup  v.  Delo,  513  U.S.  298,  321  (1995).  Because  of  the  narrow                                                                                                                   1  Specifically,  the  claims  were  barred  under  state  court  rules  because  they   were  not  raised  on  direct  appeal.     3   scope  of  the  exception,  Petitioner  must  rely  on  new  evidence  to  demonstrate  that  he   is  “”factually  innocent  rather  than  legally  innocent.”    San  Martin  v.  McNeil,  633  F.3d   1257,  1268  (11th  Cir.  2011).    Petitioner  himself  “points  out  that  he  has  never  alleged   any  new  evidence  in  his  petition  nor  relied  on  Schulp  v.  Delo  [sic]  in  his  habeas   petition.”    (Obj.  ¶  26,  Doc.  37.)2     Finally,  Petitioner  objects  to  the  Magistrate  Judge’s  “refusal  to  consider  [his]   request  that  he  be  allowed  to  amend  his  petition.”    (Id.  ¶  28.)    The  Magistrate  Judge   did  not  err  by  failing  to  grant  leave  to  amend.    The  proper  method  for  requesting   leave  to  amend  a  complaint  is  by  filing  a  motion  for  leave  to  amend.    Long  v.  Satz,   181  F.3d  1275,  1279  (11th  Cir.  1999).    Furthermore,  “[a]  motion  for  leave  to  amend   should  either  set  forth  the  substance  of  the  proposed  amendment  or  attach  a  copy  of   the  proposed  amendment.”    Id.    Petitioner  did  not  fulfill  either  of  these   requirements.    He  did  not  file  a  motion  for  leave  to  amend.    Instead,  the  request  for   leave  to  amend  is  contained  within  Petitioner’s  response  addressing  the  issue  of   procedural  default  (Doc.  33).    That  document  contains  two  vague  statements   regarding  the  need  to  amend,  neither  of  which  set  forth  the  substance  of  the   proposed  amendment.  (Petr’s  Resp.  p.  14,  ¶  13  &  p.  15,  Doc.  33.)  Because  Petitioner   failed  to  file  a  separate  motion  for  leave  to  amend  and  failed  to  provide  the                                                                                                                   2  Petitioner  insists  that  the  Magistrate  Judge  misconstrued  his  actual   innocence  claim,  but  it  appears  that  Petitioner  has  misunderstood  the  difference   between  legal  and  factual  innocence.    In  his  response  brief  addressing  procedural   default  (Doc.  33),  Petitioner  argued  that  he  is  actually  innocent  because  the  statute   under  which  he  was  convicted  is  unconstitutional.    That  is  a  claim  of  legal   insufficiency  and,  as  such,  does  not  satisfy  the  actual  innocence  exception.    See   Bousley  v.  United  States,  523  U.S.  614  (1998)  (factual  innocence  is  not  “mere  legal   insufficiency”).     4   substance  of  the  amendments  he  proposed  to  make,  he  was  not  entitled  to  amend   his  petition.   Conclusion     For  the  reasons  set  forth  above,  Petitioner’s  objections  are  OVERRULED,  and   the  Magistrate  Judge’s  Report  and  Recommendation  is  ADOPTED  as  the  opinion  of   this  Court.     DONE  and  ORDERED  this  the  7th  day  of  July,  2014.                                           s/Charles  R.  Butler,  Jr.       Senior  United  States  District  Judge   5  

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