Hill v. Anderson
Order denying Petitioner's Motion for reconsideration. Related Doc # 160 . Judge John R. Adams on 6/25/14.(L,J)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
DANNY LEE HILL,
CARL ANDERSON, Warden,
CASE NO. 4:96 CV 00795
JUDGE JOHN R. ADAMS
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
This matter is before the Court upon Petitioner Danny Lee Hill’s (“Hill” or “Petitioner”)
Motion for Reconsideration Memorandum of Opinion and Order Denying Request for
Authorization for Habeas Counsel to Conduct State Court Litigation. (ECF No. 160.) The
Respondent, Warden Carl Anderson (“Respondent”), filed an Opposition to Reconsideration.
(ECF No. 160.) For the following reasons, Hill’s motion is denied.
Hill currently has pending in this Court an amended habeas petition asserting claims
under Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), which held that the execution of intellectually
disabled offenders violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment. (ECF No. 94.) On April 21, 2014, Hill filed a motion in this Court requesting that it
authorize his federally appointed and funded counsel who currently represent him in his habeas
Atkins case to represent him in state-court litigation. Specifically, he wants his habeas counsel to
assist him in obtaining a new trial in state court based on newly obtained evidence, a report from
a forensic dental consultant who opines that the bite mark found on Fife “is not a human bitemark
[sic].” (ECF No. 156, 1-2.)
On May 15, 2014, this Court denied Hill’s request. (ECF No. 159.) It concluded that
Hill’s request does not meet the requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3599, which authorizes federal
funding for indigent petitioners in capital habeas cases, or the United States Supreme Court
decision interpreting that statute, Harbison v. Bell, 556 U.S. 180 (2009). It explained that Hill
seeks to initiate new state-court proceedings based on new, potentially exculpatory evidence,
rather than exhaust a federal claim related to his pending habeas petition. And, furthermore, even
if Hill’s request for federally funded counsel were appropriate and authorized by § 3599, it would
be precluded because Hill has not demonstrated that Ohio does not provide “adequate
representation” for him in his efforts to obtain a new trial.
Hill now argues that the Court should reconsider that ruling. (ECF No. 160.) He states,
with a supporting affidavit, that the Ohio Public Defender’s Office cannot represent him because
attorneys from the office had represented him in the past, resulting in a “strong conflict,” and
because the office lacked adequate resources. (ECF No. 160, 2; ECF No. 160-1.) He also
explains in detail the significance of the newly discovered evidence upon which he plans to seek
a new trial. (ECF No. 160, 2-9.) Finally, Hill stresses his obligation to exhaust any potential
federal habeas claim. (ECF No. 160, 9-10.)
Respondent counters that neither the ability and/or willingness of the Ohio Public
Defender’s Office to represent Hill in this matter nor the significance of the newly discovered
evidence changes the fact that Hill’s new claim is unrelated to his Atkins claims and would
therefore support an entirely new state-court proceeding for which federally funded counsel is not
authorized under § 3599.
The Court agrees with Respondent. An indigent federal habeas corpus petitioner is
entitled to the appointment of “one or more attorneys” and additional services that are
“reasonably necessary” for “adequate representation” pursuant to18 U.S.C. § 3599(a)(2).
Subsection (e) of § 3599 outlines the scope of that representation. It provides:
each attorney so appointed shall represent the defendant throughout every
subsequent stage of available judicial proceedings, including pretrial proceedings,
trial, sentencing, motions for new trial, appeals, applications for writ of certiorari
to the Supreme Court of the United States, and all available post-conviction
process, together with applications for stays of execution and other appropriate
motions and procedures . . . .
18 U.S.C. § 3599(e) (emphasis added).
In Harbison, however, the Supreme Court explained that, although district courts “may
determine on a case-by-case basis that it is appropriate for federal counsel to exhaust a claim in
the course of her federal habeas representation . . ., [t]his is not the same as classifying state
habeas proceedings as ‘available post-conviction process’ within the meaning of [§ 3599(e)].”
Harbison, 556 U.S. at 190 n.7 (emphasis added). In fact, the Court was clear that the opposite is
true: “State habeas is not a stage ‘subsequent’ to federal habeas,” and therefore does not fall
within the scope of § 3599. Id. at 189. The Sixth Circuit emphasized this point in Irick v. Bell,
636 F.3d 289 (6th Cir. 2011), when it concluded that the habeas petitioner in that case was “not
attempting to exhaust a claim in the state courts for the purpose of later presenting it in federal
court; rather, he [was] re-opening a state judgment on state-law grounds.” Irick, 636 F.3d at 292.
As the Court explained, Hill’s request for federal funding of habeas counsel, as in Irick, is
for the “commencement of new judicial proceedings” in order to attack his state-court conviction
and sentence. All that is currently pending in this Court is Hill’s amended habeas petition
regarding his Atkins claims. The Sixth Circuit was explicit in limiting its remand of Hill’s
petition to this Court to litigation of Hill’s Atkins claims. Hill, 300 F.3d at 680. Hill’s alleged
“newly discovered evidence” is completely unrelated to Hill’s Atkins claims, and any claims
founded on that evidence would not be related to, or necessary for, the full disposition of Hill’s
pending petition. Although that evidence may relate to certain claims in Hill’s initial habeas
petition, the Court has ruled on those claims and that petition is no longer within this Court’s
Accordingly, the ability and/or willingness of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office to
represent Hill in seeking a new trial based on allegedly new evidence is irrelevant and does not
alter the Court’s decision regarding Hill’s request.
Hill’s motion to reconsider the Court’s denial of his request that the Court authorize his
federally appointed and funded counsel who currently represent him in his habeas case in this
Court to represent him in state-court litigation is therefore denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ John R. Adams
JOHN R. ADAMS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
June 25, 2014
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