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Hawkins v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 4, 2019

Michael Allen Hawkins, Petitioner,
v.
Charles L Ryan, et al., Respondents.

          ORDER

          HONORABLE RANER C. COLLINS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On July 10, 2019, Magistrate Judge Bruce G. Macdonald issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) in which he recommended that this Court deny Petitioner Michael Allen Hawkins' Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (Doc. 1). (Doc. 28.) Petitioner filed an objection (Doc. 28) and Respondents filed a response (Doc. 31). Upon review, the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's R&R and denies the § 2254 Habeas Petition.

         I. Report and Recommendation: Standard of Review

         The standard the District Court uses when reviewing a magistrate judge's R&R is dependent upon whether a party objects: where there is no objection to a magistrate's factual or legal determinations, the district court need not review the decision “under a de novo or any other standard.” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). However, when a party objects, the district court must “determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to. The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Moreover, “while the statute does not require the judge to review an issue de novo if no objections are filed, it does not preclude further review by the district judge, sua sponte or at the request of a party, under a de novo or any other standard.” Thomas, 474 U.S. at 154.

         II. Factual and Procedural Background

         Petitioner does not dispute the R&R's factual and procedural history, as such the Court adopts the facts as stated in the R&R and will not reiterate them here.

         III. Magistrate Judge's Conclusions

         The Magistrate Judge organized Petitioner's numerous arguments into six categories alleging constitutional violations. The first two claims concern (1) a violation of Petitioner's speedy trial rights and (2) alleged coerced testimony. The last four assert various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.

         a. Speedy Trial Calculation

         First, Judge Macdonald found that Petitioner's claim that his Federal constitutional rights were violated when his trial was prolonged past that required under the speedy trial provisions was not properly presented in the State court. This was because his speedy trial argument was never before the state court as a Federal constitutional claim; instead Petitioner asserted that it violated the Arizona state procedural rules. The Magistrate Judge found the claim was technically exhausted and procedurally defaulted.

         b. Coerced Testimony

         Second, the judge determined that Petitioner's claim that certain testimony was coerced was expressly denied by the Arizona Court of Appeals as procedurally barred. As such, the Court could not consider this claim. Furthermore, Petitioner presented his claim as newly-discovered evidence, not a constitutional claim. Judge Macdonald noted that a claim may only be heard in federal habeas if the state court was made aware of the constitutional argument. Although Petitioner mentioned the words Due Process, they were raised superficially in the context of his state claim. Moreover, he did not raise the issue to the Court of Appeals, but simply told the appellate court to look at the argument in his post-conviction petition. His failure to do more than mention the constitution and Due Process issues meant the state courts were not granted the opportunity to fairly review these claims. Like the first claim, the Magistrate Judge found this argument was procedurally barred.

         c. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel: Exculpatory Voicemails

         In Plaintiff's first ineffective assistance of counsel claim, he alleges that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to admit and elicit exculpatory voicemail evidence. The Magistrate Judge decided that since Plaintiff had merely referred the state appellate court to his arguments in his filing for post-conviction relief, he had not fairly ...


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