Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bridges v. Bertsch

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

February 27, 2019

John C. Bridges, a/k/a Jesus Christ Beelzebub, Petitioner,
v.
Leann Bertsch, Director, North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Respondent.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

          CLARE R. HOCHHALTER, MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Motion to Dismiss Section 2254 Petition filed by the Respondent on January 7, 2019. The Respondent seeks dismissal of this action. In the alternative, she requests additional time to file a substantive response to the Petitioner's habeas petition. For the reasons set for below, the Motion to Dismiss Section 2254 Petition is granted and the request for additional time is deemed moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Petitioner was convicted in two separate North Dakota cases. He was first convicted in State No. 08-2012-CR-01587 of murder and kidnaping, for which the state district court imposed a sentence of life imprisonment without parole and twenty years imprisonment, respectively. He was subsequently convicted in State No. 08-2012-CR-02276 of attempted murder and possession of contraband by an inmate, for which the state district court imposed consecutive sentences of twenty years imprisonment. Sometime thereafter he was transferred by the North Dakota Department of Corrections to a federal correctional facility in Florence, Colorado, for service of his sentences.

         On October 19, 2018, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 with United States District Court for the District of Colorado, challenging his conviction in State No. 08-2012-CR-01587. The United States District Court for the District of Colorado sua sponte transferred the petition to this district in an order dated October 23, 2018.

         On November 6, 2018, the Court issued an order substituting Director Bertsch in place of the United States as the named respondent and directing the Clerk's office to serve her with a copy of the Petitioner's habeas petition. (Doc. No. 7). Meanwhile, the Clerk's office sent notice to the parties that this matter had been directly assigned to the Magistrate Judge and requested that they complete and return an enclosed Consent/Reassignment form. On November 12, 2018, the Respondent filed notice of her consent to the Magistrate Judge's exercise of jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 13). On November 13, 2018, the Petitioner filed a handwritten document captioned “Consent/Reassignment Form for Pro Se And/Or Prisoner Cases” on which he checked a box next to the word “consent.” (Doc. 13).

         On January 7, 2019, the Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss Section 2254 Petition. She asserts the petition is untimely. Alternatively, she asserts the Petitioner failed to exhaust his state court remedies as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1). More than 21 days has now lapsed since the Respondent filed her motion and the Petitioner has yet to file a response. See D.N.D. Civ. L.R. 7.1(A)(1) (“The adverse party has twenty-one (21) days after service of the memorandum in support to serve and file a response subject to the same page limitations.”).[1] The Petitioner's silence may be deemed an admission that the motion is well taken. See D.N.D. Civ. L.R. 7.1(F) (“An adverse party's failure to serve and file a response to a motion may be deemed an admission that the motion is well taken.”).

         II. GOVERNING LAW

         A. Application of § 2254

         Although styled as § 2241 petition, this Court construes the Petitioner's pleading as a § 2254 petition. Crouch v. Norris, 251 F.3d 720, 723 (8th Cir. 2001) (recognizing that, as a practical matter, individuals in custody pursuant to a State court judgment can only obtain habeas relief through § 2254); see e.g., Medberry v. Crosby, 351 F.3d 1049, 1062 (11th Cir. 2003) (“[A] state prisoner seeking post-conviction relief from a federal court has but one remedy: an application for a writ of habeas corpus. All applications for writs of habeas corpus are governed by § 2241, which generally authorizes federal courts to grant the writ-to both federal and state prisoners. Most state prisoners' applications for writs of habeas corpus are subject also to the additional restrictions of § 2254. That is, if a state prisoner is “in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, ” his petition is subject to § 2254. If, however, a prisoner is in prison pursuant to something other than a judgment of a state court, e.g., a pre-trial bond order, then his petition is not subject to § 2254.”); Cook v. New York State Div. of Parole, 321 F.3d 274, 277 (2d Cir. 2003) (“The fact that [the prisoner] invoked section 2241 did not, however, require the district court to treat it as a section 2241 petition. On the contrary, if an application that should be brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is mislabeled as a petition under section 2241, the district court must treat it as a section 2254 application instead. It is the substance of the petition, rather than its form, that governs.” (internal citations and quotation marks omitted)). Although the Petitioner is being housed in a federal facility, he is in custody pursuant the judgment of a North Dakota district court. And it is this judgment with which he takes issue. Thus, § 2254 is the appropriate vehicle for his claims. See Crouch v. Norris, 251 F.3d at 723

         B. Scope of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal court may review state-court criminal proceedings to determine whether a person is being held in custody in violation of the United States Constitution or other federal law. However, where the state court has adjudicated the federal claim on the merits, this court's review is limited by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) to a determination of whether the state court's decision is (1) directly contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court, or (2) based on an unreasonable determination of the facts based on the evidence presented in the state-court proceeding. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see generally Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 97-100 (2011) (“Richter”); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 399-413 (2000). This highly deferential standard of review is often referred to as “AEDPA deference” because it was enacted by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). E.g., Pederson v. Fabian, 491 F.3d 816, 824-25 (8th Cir. 2007); see generally Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 n.1 (2010). The reasons for the limited review are ones of federalism and comity that arise as a consequence of the state courts having primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with federal law in state criminal proceedings. See, e.g., Richter, 562 U.S. at 103.

         C. Statute of Limitations

         A habeas petition must be filed in a timely manner. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1), enacted as part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), imposes a one-year time limit for filing a habeas ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.