United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. WHITNEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court upon Petitioner Christopher Lynn
Hallum's pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. No. 1.) Also before
the Court is Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment.
(Doc. No. 4.)
is a prisoner of the State of North Carolina who was
convicted by a Buncombe County jury of one count of obtaining
property by false pretenses in violation of N.C. G.S. §
14-100 and one count of possession of stolen goods in
violation of N.C. G.S. § 14-71.1. (Verdict Sheet,
Resp't's Ex. 4, Doc. No. 5-5.) The same jury found
Petitioner had obtained the status of habitual felon.
(Verdict Sheet, Resp't's Ex. 5, Doc. No. 5-6.) On
October 1, 2014, the trial court sentenced Petitioner as a
habitual felon to a term of 97 to 129 months for obtaining
property by false pretenses and to a concurrent term of 10 to
21 months for possession of stolen goods. (J. and
Commitments, Resp't's Ex. 6, Doc. No. 5-7.)
Petitioner entered a notice of appeal.
October 8, 2014, Petitioner filed a Motion for Appropriate
Relief (“MAR”), which the trial court granted.
State v. Hallum, 783 S.E.2d 294, 298 ( N.C. Ct. App.
2016). The court vacated the October 1, 2014 judgments, set
aside the charge of possession of stolen goods in favor of a
new trial, and on February 27, 2015, resentenced Petitioner
on the obtaining property by false pretenses conviction.
April 5, 2016, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an
opinion vacating the February 27, 2015 judgment on
jurisdictional grounds and holding that the original judgment
entered on October 1, 2014 for the false pretenses conviction
remained in full force and effect. Id. at 303. With
respect to Petitioner's other claims, the court held that
no prejudicial error had occurred. Id. The North
Carolina Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for
discretionary review on June 9, 2016. State v.
Hallum, 787 S.E.2d 24 ( N.C. 2016) (Mem).
filed the instant federal habeas Petition in this Court on
October 18, 2016. (Doc. 1.) He raises the following claims:
1) the trial court violated his right to due process when it
denied his motion to dismiss the charge of obtaining property
by false pretenses on sufficiency of the evidence grounds
(Ground One, Pet. 7); 2) the trial court violated his right
to due process when it instructed the jury on a theory of
acting in concert (Ground Two, Pet. 9-10); and 3)
“[t]he resentencing judgment entered on 27 February
2015 is void for lack of jurisdiction; the initial judgment
entered 1 October 2014 remains in effect in violation of the
Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment” (Ground
Three, Pet. 13-14). Respondent filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 4) and Petitioner responded (Doc. No. 10).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate in those cases where there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact, and it appears that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2); United States v. Lee, 943
F.2d 366, 368 (4th Cir. 1991). Any permissible inferences to
be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986). Where, however,
the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier
of fact to find for the non-moving party, disposition by
summary judgment is appropriate. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).
contends that Grounds One and Two are procedurally defaulted
because Petitioner failed to exhaust those claims in the
state courts, and he would be barred by state procedural
rules from attempting to exhaust them now. Petitioner
contends that he exhausted both grounds for relief in the
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1986, a
petitioner must exhaust his available state remedies before
he may pursue habeas relief in federal district court. 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A). That is, he must provide the
state courts a full and fair opportunity to resolve federal
constitutional claims before those claims are presented
through a habeas petition in federal court.
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845
relief under § 2254 is limited to those in custody
“in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States.” § 2254(a). Claims alleging
only violations of state law may not form the basis for