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Odom v. Braun

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

October 11, 2013

Charles Odom, Petitioner,
v.
Colby Braun, Respondent.

ORDER DISMISSING HABEAS PETITION

CHARLES S. MILLER, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

The petitioner, Charles Odom ("Odom"), is an inmate at the North Dakota Missouri River Correctional Center. On March 15, 2013, he filed what the court construed as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He challenged the validity of convictions in two separate cases on grounds that an arrest warrant issued in the first case was defective and that he would not have been charged in the second case but for its execution.

On June 11, 2013, respondent (hereinafter "State") filed a motion to dismiss Odom's habeas petition on the grounds that it was time-barred. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants the State's motion. Portions of the state-court records have be filed by the State at Doc. No. 13 and will be referred to by their exhibit numbers.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

A. The events at the Select Inn in January 2004

On January 20, 2004, Bismarck police officers responded to a 911 call from Riddle Johnson, a man claiming that, in the midst of an argument with Odom over an outstanding drug debt, Johnson had locked himself in a motel room bathroom at the Select Inn. Officers proceeded to a room at the Select Inn registered to Galen Smith. There they found Johnson, Smith, and Odom. They also observed drug paraphernalia in plain view. Upon further investigation, they found a small quantity of marijuana in a pickup parked outside the Select Inn. The pickup did not belong to Odom. Odom v. State , 2010 ND 65, ¶ 2; 780 N.W.2d 666.

B. The complaint and arrest warrant

Odom was not arrested at the time. It was not until April 25, 2005, some sixteen months later, that Bismarck police Officer Kenan Kaizer went before a state district court judge to swear out a complaint and obtain a warrant for Odom's arrest. Id. at ¶¶ 2-3.

Kaizer presented oral sworn testimony in support of the complaint and arrest warrant in lieu of submitting an affidavit. Based solely on Kaizer's testimony, the state district judge found there was probable cause for the charges set forth in the complaint, namely felony possession of drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor possession of a small quantity of marijuana, and issued a warrant for Odom's arrest. Id.

The testimony that Kaizer gave was inaccurate in two respects. He testified that the marijuana was found in the room, when in fact it was found outside in a pickup that did not belong to Odom. Further, he testified that the room at the Select Inn where the officers responded to was registered to Odom, when, in fact, it was not. Kaizer did, however, accurately testify (at least according to a later opinion of the North Dakota Supreme Court) that officers at the scene: (1) were told by Johnson that Odom had threatened to assault him if he did not immediately pay an outstanding drug debt; (2) obtained consent to search the motel room; and (3) found drug paraphernalia in plain view. Concluding there was probable cause to charge Odom, the court approved the complaint and issued a warrant for Odom's arrest in Case No. 08-05-K-00812. Id. at ¶ 3.

C. Odom's arrest on the complaint and a second set of charges

On December 4, 2005, approximately seven months after the arrest warrant was issued, the manager of the Days Inn called the Bismarck police to report suspicious activity on the part of a Charles Odom, who had just checked in at the motel. See Odom v. Brutger Equities, Inc., No. 1:06-cv-038, 2007 WL 1611923, at **2-3 (D.N.D. June 1, 2007); Odom v. State , 2010 ND 65, ¶ 4. The police responded and arrested Odom outside the Days Inn on the still outstanding warrant for the charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana arising out of the events at the Select Inn almost two years earlier. Following Odom's arrest, police searched his room. In the room's safe, they found a digital scale covered with cocaine residue, a bundle of cash, and crack cocaine. Odom v. State , 2010 ND 65, ¶ 4; State v. Odom , 2006 ND 209, ¶¶ 2-6, 722 N.W.2d 370.

At some point following Odom's arrest, a second set of charges was brought against him in a separate criminal proceeding, Case No. 08-05-K-02477, for possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia based on what was discovered in his room's safe at the Days Inn. State v. Odom , 2006 ND 209, ¶¶ 2-6.

A combined preliminary hearing was held in January 2006 on both sets of charges and Odom was bound over to stand trial. Odom v. State , 2010 ND 65, ¶ 5.

D. Disposition of the first case (No. 08-05-K-00812)

Odom changed his plea to guilty on the first set of charges in Case No. 08-05-K-00812 on September 6, 2006, and was immediately sentenced to time served and a small fine. Odom v. State , 2010 ND 65, ¶ 5; (Ex. 6). However, upon learning that he would not be released because of the charges pending in the second case, Odom immediately moved to withdraw his plea of guilty. A judgment of conviction was entered on September 13, 2006, which was followed by another motion to withdraw the guilty plea. On April 11, 2007, the state district court denied the motions to withdraw the plea of guilty. (Ex. 12). Odom did not take a direct appeal from either the judgment of conviction or the order denying the motions to withdraw the plea of guilty. (Ex. 1); see Odom v. Kaizer, No. 1:07-cv-019, 2009 WL 2709395, at *3 (D.N.D. Aug 24, 2009).

E. Disposition of the second case (No. 08-05-K-02477)

In Case No. 08-05-K-02477, the state district court initially suppressed the evidence from the search of the safe in Odom's room at the Days Inn on the grounds that Odom's consent to the search of his room did not extend to the room's safe. However, the State's Attorney took an immediate appeal and the North Dakota Supreme Court reversed the trial court's decision in State v Odom , 2006 ND 209; see also Odom v. State , 2010 ND 65, ¶ 5.

In June 2007, Odom entered a conditional plea of guilty to the second set of charges after the district court denied his motion to suppress the evidence. (Ex. 31). He was sentenced to twenty years' incarceration. (Ex. 32). On January 17, 2008, the North Dakota Supreme Court summarily affirmed the criminal judgment in ...


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