United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY K. FRIZZELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jesse William Holland, a state inmate appearing pro
se, commenced this action on April 8, 2019, by filing a
28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for writ of habeas corpus
(Dkt. 1) in the United States District Court for the Western
District of Oklahoma. The case was transferred to this Court
on May 7, 2019. See Dkts. 6, 7. Petitioner paid the
requisite $5 filing fee. See Dkt. 4. For the reasons
that follow, the Court finds the habeas petition is subject
to being dismissed without prejudice. Before this action may
proceed, Petitioner must file an amended habeas petition to
cure the deficiencies described below.
challenges the judgment and sentence entered against him in
the District Court of Tulsa County, No. CF-2016-5318. Dkt. 1,
at 1. In that case, an Oklahoma jury convicted Petitioner of
trafficking in illegal drugs, acquiring proceeds from drug
activity, possessing controlled drugs without a tax stamp,
falsely personating another to create liability, and
obstructing an officer (a misdemeanor). Dkt. 1-2, at 7-9. In
accordance with the jury's sentencing recommendations,
the trial court sentenced prisoner to respective prison terms
of 51 years, 12 years, 4 years, 10 years and 1 year.
Id. at 9. The trial court ordered the 1-year
sentence to be served concurrently with the 10-year sentence,
but ordered all other sentences to be served consecutively.
filed a direct appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal
Appeals (OCCA), raising seven propositions of error.
Id. at 1-2. According to Petitioner, the OCCA denied
relief on September 27, 2018. Dkt. 1, at 2. Petitioner filed
the instant federal habeas petition on April 8, 2019.
courts must “promptly examine” a habeas petition
and dismiss the petition “[i]f it plainly appears from
the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is
not entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4,
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts. In this case, the habeas petition fails
to comply with basic pleading requirements and local court
rules and fails to clearly identify any federal habeas
federal habeas petition must either be on the court-approved
form or provide the equivalent information required by that
form. See Rule 2(d), Rules Governing Section
2254 Cases in the United States District Courts; LCvR
9.2(a). More specifically, a habeas “petition must: (1)
specify all the grounds for relief available to the
petitioner; (2) state the facts supporting each ground; (3)
state the relief requested; (4) be printed, typewritten, or
legibly handwritten; and (5) be signed under penalty of
perjury by the petitioner or by a person authorized to sign
it for the petitioner under 28 U.S.C. § 2242.”
Rule 2(c), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts.
the petition consists of only three pages (pages 2, 3 &
16) of the 16-page court-approved form. Dkt. 1. Petitioner
did sign the third page, as required. Id. at 3.
However, on that same page, Petitioner left blank the portion
of the form asking him to state the relief requested.
Id. In addition, Petitioner fails to clearly
identify any federal habeas claims. See id.,
generally. In paragraph 9(f) of the petition, Petitioner
lists five of the seven propositions of error he raised on
direct appeal. Dkt. 1, at 2. But Petitioner does not specify
which, if any, of these five propositions he intends to
present as federal habeas claims. Id. In addition,
even if the Court could construe the petition as raising the
five habeas claims listed, Petitioner does not state any
facts supporting these five claims. Id. With his
petition, Petitioner submitted a copy of his 45-page state
appellate brief. Dkt. 1-2. However, that brief contains seven
propositions of error, along with facts and arguments in
support of each proposition. Id. To the extent
Petitioner intends to incorporate facts or arguments from
that brief-either as to one or more of the seven propositions
of error in the brief or as to one or more of the five
propositions of error listed in his petition-that intent is
not clear from the petition. See Dkt. 1, generally.
Court acknowledges that Petitioner appears pro se,
and the Court therefore must liberally construe his
pleadings. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110
(10th Cir. 1991). However, the rule of liberal construction
does not require a court to take on an advocacy role for a
pro se habeas petitioner by identifying claims, developing
arguments, and searching the record for supporting facts.
See Id. (“The broad reading of the
plaintiff's complaint does not relieve the plaintiff of
the burden of alleging sufficient facts on which a recognized
legal claim could be based.”); see also Crawford v.
Addison, 526 Fed.Appx. 893, 895 (10th Cir. 2013)
(unpublished) (liberally construing pro se
appellant's filings but declining “to scour the
record for factual support” of his claims); Rule 2(c),
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts (requiring habeas petitioner to state
claims for relief and state supporting facts for each claim).
the Court finds that the interests of justice would be served
by allowing Petitioner to file an amended habeas petition.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2) (providing courts
“should freely give leave” to amend pleadings
“when justice so requires”); see also 28
U.S.C. § 2242 (providing habeas applications “may
be amended or supplemented as provided in the rules of
procedure applicable to civil actions”); Mayle v.
Felix, 545 U.S. 644, 655 (2005) (applying federal civil
rules in habeas context).
30 days of the entry of this opinion and order, or on or
before June 12, 2019, Petitioner shall file an amended habeas
petition on the court-approved form. In the amended petition,
Petitioner shall identify the conviction(s) he is challenging
and clearly set forth each federal habeas claim, along with
relevant supporting facts for each claim, as required by the
form, demonstrating that he is “in custody in violation
of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).
must also present each constitutional claim in compliance
with the requirements specified in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b).
Pursuant to § 2254(b), habeas corpus relief may not be
granted unless a petitioner has first provided the state
courts with the opportunity to correct the alleged
constitutional errors. The exhaustion requirement of §
2254(b) is satisfied if Petitioner fairly presented each of
his federal claims to the OCCA or if circumstances exist that
render state procedures ineffective to protect his federal
Petitioner is advised that the amended petition “must
be retyped or handwritten and filed so that it will be
complete in itself including exhibits, without reference to
the superseded pleading[s], ” i.e., without reference
to the original petition or any exhibits attached to the
original petition. LCvR 9.2(c). If Petitioner would like this
Court to consider the previously submitted attachments, he
must resubmit those attachments with his amended petition.