United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
TERENCE KERN, United States District Judge
a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 habeas corpus action. Petitioner is a
state inmate and appears pro se. Before the Court is
Respondent's motion to dismiss (Dkt. # 7). Respondent
asserts that Petitioner failed to exhaust administrative
remedies prior to commencing this federal habeas corpus
action. See id. Petitioner filed a response (Dkt. #
11) in opposition to the motion to dismiss. Petitioner also
filed a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. # 12). For the
reasons discussed below, Respondent's motion to dismiss
shall be granted and the petition shall be dismissed without
prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
Because the petition is dismissed, Petitioner's motion
for summary judgment shall be declared moot.
petition (Dkt. # 1), Petitioner challenges the administration
of his sentences entered in Creek County District Court, Case
Nos. CRF-1974-0123. In that case, Petitioner was convicted of
First Degree Murder and Conspiracy. He was originally
sentenced to death on the murder conviction, but that
sentence was modified to life imprisonment by the Oklahoma
Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA). See Bias v. State,
561 P.2d 523 (Okla. Crim. App. 1977). Petitioner was
sentenced to five (5) years imprisonment on the conspiracy
conviction. Petitioner claims that he has
“discharged” his sentence of “life
imprisonment.” See Dkt. # 1 at 6.
corpus relief cannot be granted unless the petitioner has
exhausted available state remedies. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b),
(c); see also Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 510
(1982); Montez v. McKinna, 208 F.3d 862, 865 (10th
Cir. 2000). Exhaustion of a federal claim may be accomplished
by either showing (a) the state's appellate court has had
an opportunity to rule on the same claim presented in federal
court, or (b) there is an absence of available State
corrective process or circumstances exist that render such
process ineffective to protect the rights of the applicant.
28 U.S.C. § 2254 (b); see also O'Sullivan v.
Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999); Dever v. Kansas
State Penitentiary, 36 F.3d 1531, 1534-35 (10th Cir.
1994). The exhaustion doctrine is “‘principally
designed to protect the state courts' role in the
enforcement of federal law and prevent disruption of state
judicial proceedings.'” Harris v.
Champion, 15 F.3d 1538, 1554 (10th Cir. 1994) (quoting
Lundy, 455 U.S. at 518). Furthermore, a prisoner
seeking relief under § 2241 must exhaust state remedies.
Montez, 208 F.3d at 865. The requirement includes
the exhaustion of administrative remedies as well as judicial
remedies. Dulworth v. Evans, 442 F.3d 1265, 1269
(10th Cir. 2006) (citing Wilson v. Jones, 430 F.3d
1113, 1118 (10th Cir. 2005); Moore v. Olson, 368
F.3d 757, 758 (7th Cir. 2004); Clonce v. Presley,
640 F.2d 271, 273-74 (10th Cir. 1981) (stating that a
prisoner must “exhaust the respective state and
administrative remedies before challenging his state or
federal custody by habeas corpus”)).
claim is, in effect, a challenge to the administration of his
sentences entered in Case No. CRF-1974-0123 by the Oklahoma
Department of Corrections (DOC). In support of the motion to
dismiss, Respondent provides a copy of DOC's policy
governing the grievance process, OP-090124. See Dkt.
# 7-2. That policy provides an administrative remedy for
resolving issues related to several topics, including
sentence administration. To exhaust administrative remedies,
a petitioner must comply with all steps of the grievance
process, beginning with an initial attempt to communicate
with staff, followed by submission of a “Request to
Staff, ” submission of a grievance, and finally,
submission of an appeal to the Administrative Review
Authority (ARA). Id. The ruling of the ARA is final
and concludes the internal administrative process provided by
the DOC. Id. at 14. The policy also provides for
submitting a grievance out of time. Id. at 19.
also provides the affidavit of Mark Knutson, Manager of the
ARA, stating that, as of February 27, 2017, Petitioner had
not filed a grievance or an appeal with the ARA. See
Dkt. # 7-3. In response to the motion to dismiss, Petitioner
neither refutes nor provides evidence controverting Mr.
Knutson's affidavit. See Dkt. # 11. Based on Mr.
Knutson's affidavit, the Court finds that Petitioner
failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing
this federal habeas corpus action. Because Petitioner's
claim challenging the administration of his sentences is
unexhausted, the Court finds the motion to dismiss shall be
granted and the petition shall be dismissed without
to 28 U.S.C. § 2253, the court may issue a certificate
of appealability “only if the applicant has made a
substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right,
” and the court “indicates which specific issue
or issues satisfy [that] showing.” A petitioner can
satisfy that standard by demonstrating that the issues raised
are debatable among jurists, that a court could resolve the
issues differently, or that the questions deserve further
proceedings. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473 (2000)
(citation omitted). In addition, when the Court's ruling
is based on procedural grounds, a petitioner must demonstrate
that “jurists of reason would find it debatable whether
the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it
debatable whether the district court was correct in its
procedural ruling.” Id at 484.
case, the Court concludes that a certificate of appealability
should not issue. Nothing suggests that the Court's
procedural ruling resulting in the dismissal of the petition
for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is debatable
or incorrect. A certificate of appealability shall be denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Respondent's motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust
state remedies (Dkt. # 7) is granted.
2. The petition for writ of habeas corpus (Dkt. # 1) is
dismissed without prejudice for failure to