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Moten v. Finley

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

October 20, 2017

STEVEN MOTEN, Petitioner,
v.
KEVAN FINLEY, Executive Director[1] Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. DOWDELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, proceeding pro se, [2] filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition (Doc. 1) to challenge his confinement in the Oklahoma Forensic Center (OFC), an inpatient behavioral health facility operated by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS). In response, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition as time barred (Doc. 14), along with a supporting brief (Doc. 15). Petitioner did not file a reply. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants Respondent's motion and dismisses the petition with prejudice as time barred.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2004, the State of Oklahoma charged Petitioner with first degree murder in the District Court of Tulsa County, Case Number CF-2004-1238. Doc. 15-1 at 3. In 2006, at the conclusion of a nonjury trial, the district court found Petitioner not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered him committed to the ODMHSAS' custody for inpatient treatment at the OFC. Id. at 18; Doc. 15 at 2; See Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 925 (permitting court to commit defendant to state hospital for treatment upon verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity). Pursuant to Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 1161(G)(2), the district court conditionally released Petitioner from the OFC in October 2011. See Doc. 15-2.

         In April 2015, the State moved to revoke Petitioner's conditional release, alleging that Petitioner violated conditions of his release and that he was a present danger to others. Docs. 15-3, 15-4; See Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 1161(G)(2)(d) (providing conditional release may be revoked for good cause). The district court held a revocation hearing on April 28, 2015. Doc. 15-5. At the conclusion of the hearing, the district court determined that Petitioner violated conditions of his release and that full-time hospitalization would be the least restrictive alternative consistent with the Petitioner's needs and the need for public safety. Id.; see Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 1161(G)(2)(e)(2) (providing for revocation hearing and permitting court to modify conditions of release or order inpatient care). Consequently, the district court revoked Petitioner's conditional release and ordered him recommitted to the ODMHSAS' custody for inpatient treatment at the OFC. Doc. 15-5 at 1.

         Petitioner filed the instant habeas petition on November 17, 2016. Doc. 1 at 1.

         ANALYSIS

         Petitioner seeks federal habeas relief on one ground: he claims that his “conditional release was revoked under false pretences [sic]” because he is “no harm to [him]self or anyone else.” Doc. 1 at 6.

         Respondent contends (1) that Petitioner's confinement in the OFC satisfies § 2254(a)'s “in custody” requirement and (2) that Petitioner's habeas corpus petition should be dismissed as time barred under § 2244(d). Doc. 15 at 2-3, 5-7.[3] The Court agrees with both contentions.

         A. Petitioner is “in custody” for purposes of filing a § 2254 petition.

         Under § 2254(a), a state prisoner seeking federal habeas relief must be “in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court.” Section 2254(a)'s “in custody” requirement is jurisdictional. Mays v. Dinwiddie, 580 F.3d 1136, 1138-39 (10th Cir. 2009). Petitioner's commitment to the custody of ODMHSAS, which stems from his adjudication of not guilty by reason of insanity on a first degree murder charge, satisfies that requirement. See Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 176 (2001) (noting that § 2254(a) does not “by its terms apply only to those in custody pursuant to a state criminal conviction” and recognizing federal habeas review “may be available” to challenge legality of state court order committing person to a mental institution); Mays, 580 F.3d at 1139 (citing Walker for proposition that commitment to mental institution may satisfy § 2254(a)'s “in custody” requirement).

         B. Petitioner's § 2254 petition is time barred.

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) requires a person in state custody to file his or her federal habeas claims within one year of the “latest of” one of four dates:

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time ...

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