Williams v. Falk
ORDER dismissing this action with prejudice, and denying leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal, by Judge Christine M. Arguello on 7/17/14. 11 Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint is denied, and no certificate of appealability will issue. (dkals, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 14-cv-00951-BNB
CORNELIUS T. WILLIAMS,
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Applicant, Cornelius T. Williams, is in the custody of the Colorado Department of
Corrections at the Sterling Correctional Facility. Mr. Williams has filed pro se an
Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He has paid the
$5.00 filing fee.
On April 30, 2014, Magistrate Judge Boland directed the Respondent to file a
Preliminary Response addressing the affirmative defenses of failure to exhaust state
court and administrative remedies and the timeliness of the Application. Respondent
filed a Preliminary Response on May 21, 2014, asserting the affirmative defense of
failure to exhaust state court remedies. (ECF No. 12). Applicant was thereafter allowed
twenty-one days to file a Reply. Mr. Williams did not reply, but instead filed a Letter with
the Court on June 9, 2014 (ECF No. 13), which is non-responsive to the exhaustion
defense asserted by Respondent.
The Court must construe liberally the Application because Mr. Williams is not
represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the Court should not be an
advocate for a pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. The § 2241 Application will
be dismissed for the reasons stated below.
Mr. Williams alleges in the Application that he commenced a nine-month prison
education program in January 2012 but was expelled in August 2012 for “noncompliance and displaying negative behavior” without receiving a prior warning, in
violation of his Fourteenth Amendment right to procedural due process. (ECF No. 1, at
2). Applicant alleges that he received an informal hearing before the expulsion. He
further asserts that prison officials advised him that the expulsion was a non-grievable
classification decision. Mr. Williams claims that he has been denied due process
because “most of [his] education earn time has been taken as well as [his] regular and
good time, too.” (ECF No. 1, at 2). He alleges that he was sanctioned with “8 days loss
of good time.” (Id. at 3). For relief, he seeks the restoration of good- and earned-time
Respondent argues in the Preliminary Response that Mr. Williams has failed to
exhaust available state court remedies for his due process claim based on the loss of
good time credits. Respondent further maintains that the Application is time-barred.
A habeas petitioner under § 2241 is required to exhaust both state court and
administrative remedies. Hamm v. Saffle, 300 F.3d 1213, 1216 (10th Cir. 2002); Montez
v. McKinna, 208 F.3d 862, 866 (10th Cir. 2000). A habeas petitioner “must have first
fairly presented the substance of his federal habeas claim to state courts.” Hawkins v.
Mullin, 291 F.3d 658, 668 (10th Cir. 2002); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 278 (1971)
(“Fair presentation” requires that the “substance of a federal habeas corpus claim” must
have been presented to the state courts.). The exhaustion requirement is satisfied if the
petitioner presents his claim through one “complete round of the State's established
appellate review process.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 92 (2006) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted). A state prisoner bringing a federal habeas corpus
action bears the burden of showing that he has exhausted all available state remedies.
See Miranda v. Cooper, 967 F.2d 392, 398 (10th Cir. 1992).
Mr. Williams challenges his expulsion from the prison education program in
August 2012 which resulted in the loss of good– and earned– time credits. Applicant’s
remedy under state law was a petition for review under Colo. R. Civ. P. 106.5 or
106(a)(4) filed in the state district court. See Kodama v. Johnson, 786 P.2d 417 (Colo.
1990); Baldauf v. Roberts, 37 P.3d 483, 484-85 (Colo. App. 2001); Gerdees v. Director,
Colorado Dept. Of Corrections, 226 P.3d 1261, (Colo. App. 2010) (review under Colo.
R. Civ. P. 106.5). A petition for judicial review of a governmental body’s quasi-judicial
decision must be filed within 28 days after the final decision. See C.R.C.P. 106(b);
106.5(a) (incorporating by reference, the provisions of Colo. R. Civ. P. 106(b)).
Mr. Williams’ state court civil and criminal cases have been captured in the
documentation submitted by Respondents. (ECF No. 12-1). The documentation
reflects that Mr. Williams has not filed a Rule 106 or Rule 106.5 action in the state
district court. (Id.).
Normally, a federal habeas court will dismiss an unexhausted claim without
prejudice so that the petitioner can return to state court and exhaust his available
remedies. However, if state court remedies are no longer available because the
prisoner failed to comply with the deadline for seeking review, the prisoner's procedural
default functions as a bar to federal habeas review. Woodford v. Ngo,
126 S.Ct. 2378, 2387 (2006); see also Gray v. Netherland, 518 U.S. 152, 162 (1996)
(such a “procedural bar . . . gives rise to exhaustion [and] provides an independent and
adequate state-law ground for the [sanction imposed]”); Coleman v. Thompson, 501
U.S. 722, 735 n. 1 (1991) (stating that if “the court to which the petitioner would be
required to present his claim in order to meet the exhaustion requirement would now
find the claims procedurally barred,” then the petitioner is considered to have
procedurally defaulted his claims and federal habeas review is precluded). A procedural
default may be excused if the petitioner can “demonstrate cause for the default and
actual prejudice as a result of the alleged violation of federal law, or demonstrate that
failure to consider the claims will result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice.” Bland v.
Sirmons, 459 F.3d 999, 1012 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting Coleman, 501 U.S. at 750).
On June 19, 2014, Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland ordered Applicant to show
cause, in writing and within twenty-one (21) days, why the Application should not be
dismissed as procedurally barred. (ECF No. 14). The Court may raise the defense of
procedural default sua sponte so long as the petitioner is afforded notice and an
opportunity to respond. See Hardiman v. Reynolds, 971 F.2d 500, 505 (10th Cir. 1992).
Mr. Williams has not responded to the show cause order. Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that the Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (ECF No.
11), filed on May 1, 2014, is DENIED as futile. The motion does not assert a new claim
for relief, but rather attempts to bolster the allegations of the Application without
addressing the issues of exhaustion of state court remedies and procedural default. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that the Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, filed by Applicant Cornelius T. Williams on April 2, 2014 is DENIED
and this action is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE because the claims asserted in the
Application are procedurally barred.1 It is
FURTHER ORDERED that no certificate of appealability will issue because
jurists of reason would not debate the correctness of this procedural ruling and Mr.
Williams has not made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal is
denied for the purpose of appeal. The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith. See
Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438 (1962). If Mr. Williams files a notice of appeal
he must also pay the full $505 appellate filing fee or file a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit within thirty days in
accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 24.
DATED at Denver, Colorado, this 17th day of
July , 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/Christine M. Arguello
CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, District Judge for
LEWIS T. BABCOCK, Senior Judge
United States District Court
The Court need not address Respondent’s additional argument that the Application is time-barred
under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). The Court notes however, that Mr. Williams was still attempting to properly
exhaust administrative remedies in March 2014. (ECF No. 13, at 2). The one-year period does not
commence until after a petitioner has exhausted his available administrative remedies. See Dulworth v.
Evans, 442 F.3d 1265, 1268 (10th Cir.2006) (holding that when a petitioner “timely and diligently exhausts
his administrative remedies, [the] one-year limitation period does not commence until the decision
rejecting his administrative appeal becomes final.”).
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