United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
CHRISTOPHER D. HALL, Petitioner,
DENNIS DANIELS, Respondent.
D. WHITNEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court upon Petitioner
Christopher D. Hall's pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. No. 1.)
is a prisoner of the State of North Carolina who was found
guilty by a Lincoln County Superior Court jury of three drug
trafficking counts. (§ 2254 Pet. 1-2, Doc. No. 1.) The
trial court sentenced Petitioner to 110-146 months in prison.
(§ 2254 Pet. 1.) Judgment was entered on March 28, 2018.
(§ 2254 Pet. 1.) Petitioner did not appeal.
filed the instant habeas Petition on June 25, 2018, when he
signed it under penalty of perjury and placed it in the
prison mailbox (§ 2254 Pet. 15). See Houston v.
Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 267 (1988). He raises three grounds
for relief in his Petition, and additional claims in his
brief in support of his habeas Petition (§ 2254 Br.,
Doc. No. 1-1.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court is guided by Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Cases in the United States District Courts, which directs the
district court to dismiss a habeas petition when it plainly
appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief. Rule 4, 28 U.S.C.A.
foll. § 2254. The Court concludes that the Petition must
be dismissed without prejudice because Petitioner has not
exhausted his state court remedies.
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, 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
(1999). “A habeas petitioner satisfies the exhaustion
requirement by ‘fairly present[ing] his claim in each
appropriate state court . . . thereby alerting that court to
the federal nature of the claim.'” Robinson v.
Thomas, 855 F.3d 278, 283 (4th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004)).
“Fair presentation” requires a petitioner to show
“that ‘both the operative facts and the
controlling legal principles [were] presented to the state
court.'” Jones v. Sussex I State Prison,
591 F.3d 707, 713 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Baker v.
Corcoran, 220 F.3d 276, 289 (4th Cir. 2000)).
Furthermore, the prisoner must present the federal claim to
all appropriate state courts, including the highest appellate
court established to review such a claim. See
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845.
filings are not a model of clarity but it appears he has not
exhausted any of the grounds raised therein. As an initial
matter, Petitioner did not file a direct appeal challenging
his judgments (§ 2254 Pet. 2). That fact is not
necessarily fatal to a § 2254 petition, if Petitioner
demonstrates that he has exhausted his habeas claims by
properly raising them elsewhere in the state courts.
alleges, however, that he “attempted” to file a
motion for appropriate relief (“MAR”), but that
it was “denied” because he did not file a direct
appeal first. (§ 2254 Pet. 5.) At the same time,
Petitioner denies having filed a post-conviction motion in
the state courts (notably, an MAR is a
post-conviction motion), indicating that it is unlikely he
has sought review of the denial of his MAR by way of a
petition for writ of certiorari in the North Carolina Court
of Appeals. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1422.
Such a step is required to fully exhaust claims raised for
the first time in an MAR. See O'Sullivan, 526
U.S. at 845. Finally, Petitioner seems to indicate that the
grounds raised in the habeas Petition itself also were raised
in the MAR, but the § 2254 Supporting Brief contains
allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel that are not
in the habeas Petition. There is no indication those
allegations were made in the MAR.
Court shall dismiss the instant habeas Petition without
prejudice so that Petitioner may cure the exhaustion defect
and seek future habeas relief, if he wishes. Petitioner is
forewarned, however, that a one-year statute of limitation
applies to the filing of a § 2254 petition. See
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). Generally, the statute of
limitation begins to run on the date a petitioner's
conviction becomes final, § 2244(d)(1)(A), and is tolled
while a properly filed post-conviction action is pending in
the state courts § 2244(d)(2).
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. No. 1) is
DISMISSED without ...