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Poulton v. Warden, Ross Correctional Institution

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

January 24, 2018

ADAM C. POULTON, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, ROSS CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, [1]Respondent.

          EDMUND A. SARGUS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers United States Magistrate Judge

         On August 8, 2016, the Court issued an Opinion and Order granting Petitioner's Motion to Stay (ECF No. 9), and staying proceedings pending Petitioner's exhaustion of his claims. (ECF No. 24.) Petitioner has filed a Motion to Terminate Stay and Motion to Supplement the State Court Record (ECF No. 32); Motion for Leave to Amend/Correct (ECF No. 33); Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF No. 34); and Motion to Limit Discovery (ECF No. 35).

         For the reasons that follow, Petitioner's Motion to Terminate Stay and Motion to Supplement the State Court Record (ECF No. 32), are GRANTED. The Motion for Leave to Amend/Correct (ECF No. 33), is GRANTED, with the exception of Petitioner's additional claims regarding alleged errors in post-conviction proceedings. Petitioner's Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF No. 34), is DENIED. Petitioner's Motion to Limit Discovery (ECF No. 35) is DENIED, without prejudice to renewal.

         The stay is terminated, and proceedings are reinstated.

         Respondent shall file a Response to the amended petition in accordance with the provisions of Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts within twenty-one (21) days. Petitioner may file a Traverse within fifteen (15) days thereafter.

         Motion to Terminate Stay and Amend Petition

         On August 8, 2016, the Court granted Petitioner's request for a stay pending Petitioner's completion of state post-conviction proceedings and exhaustion of his claims. On January 9, 2017, however, the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of Petitioner's petition for post conviction relief. State v. Poulton, No. CT2016-0023, 2017 WL 90630 (Ohio App. 5th Dist. Jan. 9, 2017). On May 31, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to accept jurisdiction of the appeal. State v. Poulton, 149 Ohio St.3d 1421 (Ohio 2017). Based on the present record, Petitioner therefore has now exhausted his claims.

         The motion to terminate the stay (ECF No. 32) is GRANTED. The stay is terminated, and proceedings are reinstated.

         Petitioner has filed a Motion for Leave to Amend/Correct Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (ECF No. 33.) In it, Petitioner asserts that he was denied due process because of the improper admission of statements he made during the course of plea negotiations (claim one); that he was denied due process because the trial court refused to permit defense counsel to withdraw after a complete breakdown in the attorney-client relationship (claim two); that he was denied the right to the effective assistance of trial counsel because his attorney failed to investigate and interview potential witnesses (claim three); and that he was denied due process when the state trial court denied Petitioner's motion for the appointment of counsel and expert assistance (claim four). Respondent opposes Petitioner's motion to amend the Petition to the extent that it raises any claim of an alleged error in post-conviction proceedings.

         Respondent correctly notes that errors in state post-conviction proceedings do not provide a basis for federal habeas corpus relief. “The Sixth Circuit has held that claims challenging state post-conviction proceedings are not subject to review under the federal habeas corpus statute[.]” Crockett v. Sloan, No. 1:16-cv-00550, 2017 WL 1058741, at *10 (N.D. Ohio Jan. 9, 2017) (citing Kirby v. Dutton, 794 F.2d 245, 246-247 (6th Cir. 1986)). “[T]he essence of habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody upon the legality of that custody, and . . . the traditional function of the writ is to secure release from illegal custody.” Id. at 246 (quoting Preiser v. Rodriquez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973)).

Federal habeas review is not available to attack the legality of post-conviction proceedings because such proceedings are not related to a petitioner's detention. Kirby, 794 F.2d at 247; see also Cress v. Palmer, 484 F.3d 844, 853 (6th Cir. 2007); Alley v. Bell, 307 F.3d 380, 387 (6th Cir. 2002). Petitioner's claim “must directly dispute the fact or duration of the confinement.” Kirby, 794 F.2d at 248 (citing Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500, 93 S.Ct. 1827, 36 L.Ed.2d 439 (1973)). A ground for relief that challenges the correctness of a state judicial proceeding and does not dispute the detention itself is not cognizable. See Kirby, 794 F.2d at 247-48.

Wright v. Lazaroff, 643 F.Supp.2d 971, 990-91 (S.D. Ohio 2009) (footnote omitted). See also Leonard v. Warden, Ohio State Penitentiary, 846 F.3d 832, 854 (6th Cir. 2017) (federal habeas corpus does not lie for challenges to a state's scheme of post-conviction relief) (citing Greer v. Mitchell, 264 F.3d at 681) (citing Kirby v. Dutton, 794 F.2d at 246; Cress v. Palmer, 484 F.3d 844, 853 (6th Cir. 2007) (“the writ is not the proper means” to challenge “collateral matters” as opposed to “the underlying state conviction giving rise to the prisoner's incarceration”) (internal citations omitted)). “Errors or deficiencies in post conviction proceedings are not properly considered in habeas corpus proceedings.” Hayden v. Warden, Marion Correctional Institution, No. 2:15-cv-2927, 2016 WL 2648776, at *3 (S.D. Ohio May 10, 2016) (citations omitted); see also Bollar v. Miller, No. 4:09-cv-472, 2009 WL 5217098, at *8 (N.D. Ohio Dec. 30, 2009) (“Such a request is the quintessential example of what is not cognizable in a federal habeas petition.”) (citations omitted). Therefore, to the extent that Petitioner intends to raise a claim regarding any alleged errors in post conviction proceedings, his motion to amend is DENIED.

         Request ...


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