Beaver v. Kirkegard et al
ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 6 in full. A certificate of appealability is DENIED. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 5/11/2017. Mailed to Beaver. (TAG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
GREAT FALLS DIVISION
JEFFREY D. BEAVER,
ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND
LEROY KIRKEGARD; TIM FOX,
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
STATE OF MONTANA; and THE
MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF
Petitioner Jeffrey Beaver filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pro se
alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment rights against unfair searches and
seizures. (Doc. 2.) Beaver argues that the Montana Supreme Court incorrectly
applied a legal standard when it denied his Fourth Amendment claim. Id. at 3–4.
United States Magistrate Judge John Johnston entered Findings and
Recommendations in this matter on April 25, 2017. (Doc. 6.) Neither party filed
When a party makes no objections, the Court need not review de novo the
proposed Findings and Recommendations. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149-52
(1986). This Court will review Judge Lynch’s Findings and Recommendations,
however, for clear error. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Commodore Bus. Mach.,
Inc., 656 F.2d 1309, 1313 (9th Cir. 1981).
Judge Johnston recommends that the Court deny habeas relief. (Doc. 6 at 9.)
Judge Johnston notes that the United States Supreme Court in Stone v. Powell, 428
U.S. 465, 494, determined that “where the State has provided an opportunity for
full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim, a state prisoner may not be
granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that the evidence obtained in an
unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at his trial.” Judge Johnston
reasons that this doctrine bars habeas relief in this instance in light of the extensive
litigation of Beaver’s Fourth Amendment claim in various Montana courts. (Doc. 6
Judge Johnston cites the Stone doctrine for the proposition that the Court
must decline to weigh in on whether state courts correctly decided Beaver’s Fourth
Amendment claim. Id. The Court can decide only whether the state court
proceedings afforded Beaver an adequate opportunity for full and litigation of his
claim. Id. Judge Johnston determined that Beaver has had three separate
opportunities to litigate his Fourth Amendment claim in front of three separate
Montana courts. Id. at 7–8. Beaver argues the substance of the three state court
denials of his claim, but he does not dispute the comprehensiveness of his
proceedings in state courts. Id. at 8. Judge Johnston thus concludes that the Court
cannot grant habeas relief to Beaver under the Stone doctrine.
Judge Johnston further acknowledges that the Court should issue a
certificate of appealability when a petitioner makes a “substantial showing of the
denial of a constitutional right.” Id., citing 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). Judge Johnston
clarifies that a petitioner makes a substantial showing when “jurists of reason could
disagree with the district court’s resolution of [the] constitutional claims.” Doc. 6
at 8–9, citing Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). Judge Johnston
concludes that the Court should deny a certificate of appealability on the basis that
no doubt exists “that Beaver had a full and fair opportunity to litigate his Fourth
Amendment claim.” Doc. 6 at 9.
The Court has reviewed Judge Johnston’s Findings and Recommendations
for clear error. The Court finds no error in Judge Johnston’s Findings and
Recommendations and adopts them in full.
IT IS ORDERED that Judge Johnston’s Findings and Recommendations
(Doc. 6), is ADOPTED IN FULL.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall enter, by
separate document, a judgment in favor of Respondents and against Petitioner.
IT IS ALSO ORDERED that a certificate of appealability is DENIED.
DATED this 11th day of May, 2017.
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