Goodwin v. Stephens
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS. It is recommended that 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus be Dismissed without prejudice for want of jurisdiction; that 22 Motion to Dismiss/Lack of Jurisdiction filed by Charles R. Robinson be Granted and that he Court shall not issue a certificate of appealability. Signed by Judge Mark Lane. (os)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
RICHARD DARREN GOODWIN
CHARLES R. ROBINSON, Director
of the Travis County Adult Probation
Community Supervision and Corrections
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The Magistrate Judge submits this Report and Recommendation to the District Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b) and Rule 1(e) of Appendix C of the Local Court Rules of the United
States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Local Rules for the Assignment of Duties to
United States Magistrates, as amended, effective December 1, 2002.
Before the Court are Petitioner’s Application for Habeas Corpus Relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 (Document 1); Petitioner’s Memorandum in Support (Document 6); and Respondent’s
Motion to Dismiss (Document 22). Petitioner did not file a response thereto. Petitioner, proceeding
pro se, has paid the filing fee for his application. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned
finds that Petitioner’s application for writ of habeas corpus should be dismissed.
I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Petitioner’s Criminal History
Petitioner challenges his conviction in Cause No. D-1-DC-10-904055 out of the 299th
Judicial District Court of Travis County. In that cause Petitioner was convicted of violating his civil
commitment requirements and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, probated to community
supervision for two years. On February 17, 2015, Petitioner was discharged from his community
supervision. Petitioner’s federal application was received by the United States District Court of the
Southern District of Texas on April 23, 2015, after Petitioner had already discharged his community
supervision. Respondent moves to dismiss Petitioner’s application.
II. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Federal habeas corpus relief is available only for persons who are “in custody in violation of
the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241(c)(3), 2254(a). A
habeas petitioner is not “in custody” under a conviction when the sentence imposed for that
conviction has fully expired at the time the petition is filed. Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 491
(1989). Under Supreme Court precedent, however, a habeas petitioner satisfies the “in custody”
requirement for purposes of challenging an expired conviction when that challenge may be read as
a challenge to the sentence which was enhanced by the expired conviction. See Lackawanna County
District Attorney v. Coss, 532 U.S. 394, 401 (2001). In Coss, the Court explained once a state
conviction is no longer open to direct or collateral attack in its own right, because the defendant did
not pursue those remedies while they were available or did so unsuccessfully, the conviction is
regarded as presumptively valid, and if it is later used to enhance a criminal sentence, it cannot be
challenged under Section 2254 on the ground that it was unconstitutionally obtained. Coss, 532 U.S.
at 403-04. There is an exception to the rule of conclusive validity for enhancement convictions that
were obtained in violation of the right to counsel as set forth in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335,
(1963). See Coss, 532 U.S. at 404 (setting out the exception for enhancement convictions obtained
in violation of Gideon).
The Court is without jurisdiction to consider Petitioner’s direct challenge to his conviction
for violating the terms of his civil commitment in Cause No. D-1-DC-10-904055. Petitioner was
represented by counsel in his underlying criminal case. Therefore, he does not meet the exception
outlined in Coss.
It is recommended that Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss be granted and Petitioner’s
application for writ of habeas corpus be dismissed without prejudice for want of jurisdiction.
IV. CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
An appeal may not be taken to the court of appeals from a final order in a habeas corpus
proceeding “unless a circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of appealability.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c) (1)(A). Pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, effective
December 1, 2009, the district court must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters
a final order adverse to the applicant.
A certificate of appealability may issue only if a petitioner has made a substantial showing
of the denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). The Supreme Court fully explained
the requirement associated with a “substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right” in
Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484, 120 S. Ct. 1595 (2000). In cases where a district court
rejected a petitioner’s constitutional claims on the merits, “the petitioner must demonstrate that
reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable
or wrong.” Id. “When a district court denies a habeas petition on procedural grounds without
reaching the petitioner’s underlying constitutional claim, a COA should issue when the petitioner
shows, at least, that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim
of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the
district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Id.
In this case, reasonable jurists could not debate the dismissal of the Petitioner’s section 2254
petition on substantive or procedural grounds, nor find that the issues presented are adequate to
deserve encouragement to proceed. Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327, 123 S. Ct. 1029 (2003)
(citing Slack, 529 U.S. at 484). Accordingly, it is respectfully recommended that the Court shall not
issue a certificate of appealability.
The parties may file objections to this Report and Recommendation. A party filing
objections must specifically identify those findings or recommendations to which objections are
being made. The District Court need not consider frivolous, conclusive, or general objections.
Battles v. United States Parole Comm’n, 834 F.2d 419, 421 (5th Cir. 1987).
A party’s failure to file written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations
contained in this Report within fourteen (14) days after the party is served with a copy of the Report
shall bar that party from de novo review by the district court of the proposed findings and
recommendations in the Report and, except upon grounds of plain error, shall bar the party from
appellate review of unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions accepted by the
district court. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150-153, 106 S. Ct.
466, 472-74 (1985); Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Assoc., 79 F.3d 1415 (5th Cir. 1996)(en banc).
To the extent that a party has not been served by the Clerk with this Report and
Recommendation electronically, pursuant to the CM/ECF procedures of this District, the Clerk is
ORDERED to mail such party a copy of this Report and Recommendation by certified mail, return
SIGNED on September 28, 2015.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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