Howard v. Hobbs
ORDER denying 7 Petitioner's Motion for Default Judgment; granting 9 Petitioner's Motion for Copies and directing the Respondent to file a responsive pleading to the Petition 1 on or before 01/23/2012. Signed by Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray on 01/06/2012. (kcs)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
CURTIS RAY HOWARD
RAY HOBBS, Director,
Arkansas Department of Correction
On November 15, 2011, the Court entered an Order (docket entry #5) directing
the Clerk of Court to serve a copy of the habeas Petition on Respondent and the
Arkansas Attorney General by mail, and directing Respondent to file a responsive
pleading within twenty-one days of service.1
On January 3, 2012, Petitioner filed a Motion for Default Judgment and Brief
in Support.2 (Docket entries #7 and #8). Petitioner requests the entry of default
habeas relief due to Respondent’s failure to file a responsive pleading to the Petition.
After allowing an additional three days for service by mail, Respondent’s
responsive pleading was due on or before December 9, 2011.
Petitioner also filed a Motion (docket entry #9) requesting a file-marked copy
of his Motion for Default Judgment.
On January 5, 2012, Respondent filed a Response (docket entry #11) to
Petitioner’s Motion for Default Judgment. Respondent’s counsel states that neither
Respondent nor the Arkansas Attorney General was mailed the habeas Petition, and
that the first time they knew of the existence of this case was when Petitioner mailed
the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office a copy of his Motion for Default Judgment.3
It is unnecessary for the Court to resolve whether, in fact, Respondent Hobbs
and the Arkansas Attorney General were mailed a copy of the Petition on November
15, 2011. Even assuming that Respondent was served, this is not the type of
“extraordinary delay” that might warrant “default” habeas relief. See Gordon v.
Duran, 895 F.2d 610, 612 (9th Cir.1990) (“The failure to respond to claims raised in
a petition for habeas corpus does not entitle the petitioner to a default judgment”);
Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 138 (6th Cir.1970) (“[Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a)] has no
application in habeas corpus cases”); Ruiz v. Cady, 660 F.2d 337, 340-41 (7th Cir.
1981) (default judgment in a habeas case is “especially rare” and an “extreme”
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
Petitioner’s Motion for Default Judgment (docket entry #7) is DENIED.
According to an administrative “Certificate of Mailing” entered on the docket
sheet, the Clerk mailed copies of the Petition to the Arkansas Attorney General and
Respondent Hobbs on November 15, 2011. (Docket entry #6).
Petitioner’s Motion for Copies (docket entry #9) is GRANTED. The
Clerk is directed to mail to Petitioner a copy of his Motion for Default Judgment
(docket entry #7).
Respondent shall file a responsive pleading to the Petition (docket entry
#1) on or before January 23, 2012.
Dated this 6th day of January, 2012.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?