Mayfield v. Ruiz
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER by District Judge Judith C. Herrera dismissing case without prejudice for failure to exhaust state court remedies. (baw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
EARL R. MAYFIELD,
No. CV 17-00193 JCH/KRS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL
THIS MATTER is before the Court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 2254 and under Rule 4
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings on the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
filed by Earl R. Mayfield on February 6, 2017 (Doc. 1) (“Petition”). Mayfield has also filed
multiple letters, and motions for immediate release, injunctive relief, and to amend the Petition.
The Court will dismiss Mayfield’s Petition without prejudice for failure to exhaust his state court
remedies and will deny all of his pending motions as moot in light of dismissal of the Petition.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The Court has reviewed Mayfield’s voluminous filings and has taken judicial notice of
the official SOPA online record in State v. Mayfield, Second Judicial District Court, County of
Bernalillo, State of New Mexico cause No. D-202-CR-2012-02229.
See Hall v. Pratt, 97 F.
App'x 246, 247 (10th Cir. 2004) (the federal courts may take judicial notice of the official state
court record). While it is often difficult to follow Mayfield’s rambling filings, a review of the
record shows the following facts:
Petitioner Mayfield was indicted by a Grand Jury on May 8, 2012 in cause No. D-202CR-2012-02229. He was indicted on charges of Trafficking Controlled Substances by
Manufacturing, Tampering with Evidence, and Resisting Evading or Obstructing an Officer.
(Doc. 1, 1-1). He was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 19 years of incarceration on
February 1, 2017.1
Mayfield filed his habeas corpus Petition in this Court on February 6, 2017. (Doc. 1).
He then filed a Notice of Appeal on February 28, 2017, appealing his conviction in D-202-CR2012-02229 to the New Mexico Court of Appeals. (Doc. 1 at 8-9, Doc. 30 at 6-9). Last, he filed
a habeas corpus petition in his state-court criminal case on May 11, 2017. That habeas corpus
petition was denied by the state district court on May 11, 2017 based on his pending direct
appeal in D-202-CR-2012-02229. (Record in D-202-CR-2012-02229.
Since the filing of his original Petition, Mayfield has filed five motions to amend (Doc. 6,
9, 25, 28, 30). The Court has also received multiple motions for immediate release and motions
for injunctive relief. (Doc. 11, 16, 22, 24). Last, Mayfield has sent the Court numerous letters
containing allegations and argument. (Doc. 5, 10, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 21).
EXHAUSTION OF STATE COURT REMEDIES
The issue of exhaustion of state court remedies is a threshold question that must be
addressed in every habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. By statute, federal habeas relief is not
available to a state prisoner “unless it appears that the applicant has exhausted the remedies
available in the courts of the State, or that there is either an absence of available State corrective
process or the existence of circumstances rendering such process ineffective to protect the rights
Mr. Mayfield has multiple prior New Mexico state court convictions in addition to the
conviction in D-202-CR-2012-02229. See, e.g., D-202-CR-2006-04577, D-202-CR-200501584, D-202-CR-2006-02985, D-202-CR-2006-03152, D-202-CR-2006-02033
of the prisoner.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). Under § 2254(b), a prisoner in state custody must exhaust
his available state court remedies before he may proceed with a habeas corpus petition in this
Court. For a federal court to consider a federal constitutional claim in an application for habeas,
the claim must be “fairly presented to the state courts” in order to give state courts the
“opportunity to pass upon and correct alleged violations of its prisoners' federal rights.”
Prendergast v. Clements, 699 F.3d 1182, 1184 (10th Cir. 2012)(quoting Picard v. Connor, 404
U.S. 270, 275 (1971)).
The exhaustion doctrine began as a judicially crafted instrument and was then codified in
1948. The doctrine reflects a careful balance between important interests of federalism and the
need to preserve the writ of habeas corpus as a “swift and imperative remedy in all cases of
illegal restraint or confinement.” Braden v. 30th Judicial Cir. Ct. of Ky., 410 U.S. 484, 490
(1973) (quoting Secretary of State for Home Affairs v. O'Brien,  A.C. 603, 609 (H.L.)).
While the exhaustion doctrine advances several interests, it is principally designed to protect the
state court's role in the enforcement of federal law and prevent disruption of state judicial
proceedings. Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518 (1982); see also Deters v. Collins, 985 F.2d 789,
794 (5th Cir.1993). Federal courts apply the exhaustion doctrine as a matter of comity. The
federal court should defer action on causes properly within its jurisdiction until the courts of the
forum state with concurrent powers, and already cognizant of the litigation, have had an
opportunity to pass upon the matter. Rose, 455 U.S. at 518.
Because exhaustion is based on principles of comity, it is not jurisdictional. Patterson v.
Leeke, 556 F.2d 1168, 1170 (4th Cir. 1977). There is a strong presumption in favor of requiring a
state prisoner to pursue his available state remedies, but his failure to do so is not an absolute bar
to appellate consideration of his claims.” Granberry v. Greer, 481 U.S. 129, 131(1987). Where
state procedural obstacles preclude an effective state remedy against unconstitutional
convictions, federal courts may grant relief in the collateral proceeding without requiring
exhaustion. Bartone v. United States, 375 U.S. 52, 54 (1963). See also Harris v. Champion, 15
F.3d 1538, 1554–55 (10th Cir. 1994); Hankins v. Fulcomer, 941 F.2d 246, 250 (3d Cir.1991).
However, the general rule under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1) is that habeas corpus relief may
not be granted unless the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the state courts. The
exhaustion requirement is satisfied only if the federal issue has been properly presented to the
highest state court, either by direct review of the conviction or in a post-conviction attack. Dever
v. Kansas State Penitentiary, 36 F.3d 1531, 1534 (10th Cir. 1994). Federal courts are not to grant
a writ of habeas corpus unless the prisoner has given the state courts a full opportunity to resolve
any constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the State's established appellate
review process. Tanguma v. Golder, 177 F. App'x 829, 830 (10th Cir. 2006). Before seeking a
federal court remedy, then, a state prisoner must exhaust his remedies in state court, demonstrate
that there is an absence of available state remedies, or show that circumstances exist that render
the state process ineffective to protect the petitioner's rights. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1). See
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). A habeas petitioner bears the burden of
demonstrating that he has exhausted his available state remedies. McCormick v. Kline, 572 F.3d
841, 851 (10th Cir. 2009).
MAYFIELD HAS NOT EXHAUSTED HIS STATE COURT REMEDIES
Under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings, the Court has an
obligation to review habeas petitions and to summarily dismiss a petition “[i]f it plainly appears
from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Under this
rule, the Court may dismiss a petition based on a failure to exhaust state court remedies if it is
clear from the face of the petition and the record. Where it is clear from the face of the petition
and the record that the prisoner has not satisfied the exhaustion requirement, the petition should
be dismissed without prejudice for lack of exhaustion. See Allen v. Zavaras, 568 F.3d 1197, 1202
(10th Cir. 2009)(affirming district court's sua sponte dismissal of habeas action for failure to
exhaust where nonexhaustion is “clear from the face of the petition”); Bland v. Sirmons, 459
F.3d 999, 1012 (10th Cir. 2006).
Section 2254(b) (1)(A) forbids a federal court from excusing the exhaustion requirement
unless the state's corrective process is incapable of protecting the rights of the applicant. In this
case, Mayfield has availed himself of New Mexico’s corrective appellate process. Mayfield has
not, however, allowed the New Mexico appellate courts to complete that process. (Doc. 1 at 8-9,
Doc. 30 at 6-9; state court record in State v. Mayfield, No. D-202-CR-2012-02229). There is no
suggestion that New Mexico's process is not capable of protecting the rights of the Petitioner.
Mayfield, therefore, is not excused from the exhaustion doctrine and has not exhausted the
claims he seeks to raise before this Court. See O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S.at 845.
Where a habeas petitioner has not exhausted available state remedies, generally a federal
court should dismiss unexhausted claims without prejudice so that the petitioner is given the
opportunity to pursue available state-court remedies. Demarest v. Price, 130 F.3d 922, 939 (10th
Cir. 1997). Accordingly, the Court should dismiss this petition because it establishes that
Mayfield has not exhausted his state court remedies and, as a result, cannot obtain § 2254 relief.
Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. at 518. Mayfield's Petition does not meet the requirements necessary for
this Court to excuse the exhaustion doctrine and his Petition will be dismissed under § 2254(b)
IT IS ORDERED that Petitioner Earl R. Mayfield’s pending motions (Doc. 6, 9, 11, 16,
22, 24, 25, 28, and 30) are DENIED as moot and the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc.
1) is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to exhaust state court remedies.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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