Monckton v. Bryant et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 13 of Magistrate Judge Gary M. Purcell...respondent's motion to dismiss 9 is denied; the referral to Judge Purcell remains in place for further proceedings. Signed by Honorable Joe Heaton on 1/13/2017. (cla)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
MICHAEL WAYNE MONCKTON,
JASON BRYANT, Warden,
Petitioner Michael Wayne Monckton, a state prisoner appearing pro se, filed this
action seeking habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The matter was referred to U.S.
Magistrate Judge Gary M. Purcell for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B). Respondent has moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that abstention is
appropriate under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), and Judge Purcell recommends that
the motion be denied. Respondent filed an objection to the Report and Recommendation (the
“Report”), triggering de novo review of the issues raised in the objection.
The convoluted procedural history of petitioner’s cases in state court is detailed in the
Report and will not be repeated here. The crux of it is that petitioner appears to have
exhausted his state remedies as to every claim he asserts here, but that he has filed an
additional application for post-conviction relief which is still pending in the Cleveland
County District Court. Petitioner has indicated in his response to the motion to dismiss that
he does not intend to argue in this case any of the unexhausted issues presented in the
pending application in state court. Doc. #12. Nonetheless, respondent contends that the state
proceedings are “ongoing” and petitioner may potentially receive the relief he seeks.
Under the doctrine of Younger abstention, a federal court must abstain from
exercising jurisdiction when:
(1) there is an ongoing state criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding; (2)
the state court provides an adequate forum to hear the claims raised in the
federal complaint; and (3) the state proceedings involve important state
interests, matters which traditionally look to state law for their resolution or
implicate separately articulated state policies.
Walck v. Edmondson, 472 F.3d 1227, 1232–33 (10th Cir. 2007). In this case, petitioner’s
judgment and sentence (pursuant to his resentencing) became final on resolution of his
application for post-conviction relief filed on March 29, 2016.1 That the relief he seeks here
may potentially be rendered moot by the state-court proceedings does not make the state
court an “adequate forum to hear the claims raised in the federal complaint,” as those claims
have already been exhausted in state court. Therefore, Younger abstention does not apply
Accordingly, the Report [Doc. #13] is ADOPTED. Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss
[Doc. #9] is DENIED. The referral to Judge Purcell remains in place for further proceedings
consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals said as much in its order from March 16, 2016.
Monckton v. Okla., Case No. PC-2016-33 Order Dismissing Application for Writ of Mandamus as
Moot, Dismissing Direct Appeal and Granting Application for Post-Conviction Appeal Out of Time.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated this 13th day of January, 2017.
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