Jackson v. Sloan
Memorandum of Opinion and Order: The Petition is denied and this action is summarily dismissed pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. Further, the Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith and that there is no basis upon which to issue a certificate of appealability. Fed. R. App. P. 22(b). Judge Patricia A. Gaughan on 4/9/18. (LC,S) re 1 , 2
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Robert L. Jackson,
Warden Brigham Sloan,
CASE NO. 1:18 CV 570
JUDGE PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
Memorandum of Opinion and Order
Pro se Petitioner Robert L. Jackson has filed a Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. No. 1.) He challenges his 1995 conviction of robbery pursuant
to a guilty plea in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. See State of Ohio v. Robert L.
Jackson, CR-95-326993 (Cuy. Cty. Ct. Cm. Pls.)
Petitioner indicates he did not pursue a direct appeal of his conviction, but that he filed a
post-conviction motion to vacate judgment in the trial court in April 2016, over twenty years
after he was convicted. Although the Petitioner appears to indicate his post-conviction motion
is still pending, the public docket in his criminal case indicates that the trial court denied his
motion on November 17, 2016. (See CR-95-326993 docket, November 17, 2016 Journal Entry).
Petitioner seeks to assert the same grounds in this Petition that he raised in his state-
court motion for post-conviction relief. Petitioner has filed motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (Doc. No. 2), which the Court construes, and grants, only as pertaining to his Petition
in this Court.
Standard of Review and Discussion
Pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases Under § 2254, a
district court is required to examine a habeas corpus petition and determine whether “it plainly
appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in
the district court.” Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If
so, the district court must summarily dismiss the petition. Rule 4; see also Allen v. Perini, 424
F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970) (district court has the duty to “screen out” petitions that lack merit
on their face).
The Court finds the Petition must be dismissed. The doctrine of procedural default
prevents federal habeas courts from reviewing federal claims that the state courts declined to
address because of a petitioner’s failure to comply with state procedural requirements. Ohio has
a rule that claims must be raised on direct appeal if possible; otherwise, the doctrine of res
judicata bars their litigation in subsequent state proceedings. See Durr v. Mitchell, 487 F.3d
423, 432 (6th Cir. 2007). Accordingly, a claim is procedurally defaulted if a petitioner raises it
for the first time in an Ohio post-conviction petition, and the Ohio court actually enforces its
procedural rule. Id.
Although the state trial court summarily denied Petitioner’s motion for post-conviction
relief in its November 17, 2016 Journal Entry, this Court must assume the state court did so on
the basis of the state’s procedural rule requiring that claims be presented on direct appeal. See
Simpson v. Sparkman, 94 F.3d 199, 203 (6th Cir. 1996) (where the state court is silent as to its
reason for denying post-conviction relief, “we will assume that had the state court addressed
petitioner’s . . . claim, it would not have ignored its own procedural rules and would have
enforced the procedural bar”). Therefore, Petitioner’s claims are procedurally defaulted.
A federal court will not consider a procedurally defaulted claim on habeas corpus
review unless the petitioner establishes adequate cause to excuse his failure and actual prejudice
to him. See Riggins v. McMackin, 935 F.2d 790, 793 (6th Cir. 1991). No such showing is
reasonably suggested on the face of the Petition. Petitioner has not alleged why his particular
default should be excused.
Accordingly, the Petition is denied and this action is summarily dismissed pursuant to
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. Further, the Court certifies, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith and that
there is no basis upon which to issue a certificate of appealability. Fed. R. App. P. 22(b).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Patricia A. Gaughan
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
United States District Judge
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