Zawhorodny v. Kiser
OPINION. Signed by Judge James P. Jones on 11/13/2017. (tvt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
DANIEL WAYNE ZAWHORODNY,
JEFF KISER, WARDEN,
Case No. 7:17CV00506
By: James P. Jones
United States District Judge
Daniel Wayne Zawhorodny, Pro Se Petitioner.
Daniel Wayne Zawhorodny, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the
validity of his confinement under a judgment from state court. Upon review of the
petition, I conclude that it must be summarily dismissed without prejudice because
the petitioner has not exhausted available state court remedies.
A jury in the Augusta County Circuit Court found the petitioner guilty of
entering a bank with intent to commit larceny and armed robbery by use of a
firearm. The court sentenced him to 25 years in prison and entered its judgment on
February 27, 2015. The petitioner pursued a direct appeal in the Court of Appeals
of Virginia, where his appeal was refused on December 14, 2015. His subsequent
appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia was refused on December 6, 2016. The
petitioner states that he did not pursue a state habeas corpus petition, and state
court records are consistent with this statement.
In his § 2254 petition, the petitioner alleges claims that the public defender
who represented him had an actual conflict of interest and provided ineffective
assistance of counsel during suppression proceedings. He indicates that he has not
raised these claims on direct appeal or in any state court habeas corpus proceeding.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), a federal court cannot grant a habeas petition
unless the petitioner has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the state
in which he was convicted.
Ultimately, exhaustion requires the petitioner to
present his claims to the highest state court with jurisdiction to consider them and
receive a ruling. See O’Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999). If a
§ 2254 petitioner has not presented his habeas claims to the state courts and could
still do so, a federal court should dismiss his petition without prejudice. See
Slayton v. Smith, 404 U.S. 53, 54 (1971).
As stated, the petitioner indicates on the face of his petition that he has not
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in any state court, raising his current
As such, he has not yet exhausted available state court remedies as
required under § 2254(b). He may file a habeas petition in the Supreme Court of
Virginia, or in the circuit court where he was convicted, with a subsequent appeal
to the Supreme Court of Virginia. See Va. Code Ann. §§ 8.01-654(A)(1), 17.1-2-
Therefore, I must dismiss his § 2254 petition without prejudice for
failure to exhaust state court remedies.
A separate Final Order will be entered herewith.
DATED: November 13, 2017
/s/ James P. Jones
United States District Judge
The petitioner is advised, however, that he has only a limited time to pursue
these state court remedies. See Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-654(A)(2) (“A habeas corpus
petition attacking a criminal conviction or sentence . . . shall be filed within two years
from the date of final judgment in the trial court or within one year from either final
disposition of the direct appeal in state court or the time for filing such appeal has
expired, whichever is later.”)
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?