United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
E. DOWDELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE
Donald Ray Cowan commenced this action on November 25, 2019,
by filing a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for writ of habeas
corpus (Doc. 1) and submitting the requisite filing fee (Doc.
2). For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that the
habeas petition should be dismissed, without prejudice, for
lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
brings this action to challenge the judgment and sentence
entered against him in the District Court of Tulsa County,
No. CF-2005-1. Doc. 1, at 1. In that case, a jury found
petitioner guilty of first-degree manslaughter.
Cowan, 2013 WL 607862, at *1. In rendering its
verdict, the jury rejected Petitioner's claim “that
the shooting was justified and that he acted in
self-defense.” Cowan, 2013 WL 607862, at *1.
In accordance with the jury's recommendation, the trial
court sentenced Petitioner to serve four years in prison, the
minimum sentence permitted under Oklahoma law. Id.
Petitioner filed a direct appeal and, in 2009, the Oklahoma
Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) affirmed Petitioner's
judgment and sentence. Id. at *2.
filed his first § 2254 petition in 2010. Id. In
that petition, he (1) claimed the jury instructions and
prosecutor's arguments denied him equal protection, (2)
prosecutorial misconduct deprived him of a fair trial, and
(3) trial counsel's deficient performance deprived him of
his constitutional right to the effective assistance of
counsel. Id. In 2013, this court
considered the merits of each of these claims and denied
habeas relief. Id. at *5-11.
2019, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus
in state court, alleging the trial court lacked personal and
subject-matter jurisdiction and challenging “Several
Void Judgments issued by the District Trial Court and
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.” Doc. 1, at
The Oklahoma Supreme Court transferred the petition to the
OCCA, and the OCCA denied relief on November 22, 2019.
Id.; see also Cowan v. State, No.
HC-2019-680 (Okla. Crim. App. Nov. 22, 2019),
last visited Nov. 27, 2019.
filed the instant § 2254 petition three days later, on
November 25, 2019. Doc. I, at 1. He seeks federal habeas
relief on four grounds:
1. The Tulsa County District Trial Court lost both Personal
and Subject Mater [sic] Jurisdiction over the
Petitoner [sic] & The Subject Matter on May 12,
2006, thereby rendering a void judgment of guilt.
2. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has denied me due
process of law, by abusing procedure to avoid reaching the
merrits [sic] of my Direct Appeal and every
subsequent preceeding [sic] thereafter[.]
3. U.S. District Judge Frizzell of the Northern District of
Oklahoma, acted in a manner inconsistent with due proccess
[sic] of law by “setting on” my first
Application for Relief until I discharged my sentence.
4. Denied Effective Assistance of Counsel during both the
Trial and Direct Appeal for their Failure to Raise
Jurisdictional issues and bring them before the Court.
Doc. 1, at 5, 7-8, 10. Petitioner asks this Court to issue a
writ of habeas corpus “setting aside the Void Mandates
of the [OCCA] for their abuse of procedure, and acting in a
manner inconsistent with due process of law and Vacating the
Void Judgment of Guilt issued by the Tulsa County District
Court.” Doc. 1, at 15.
district courts have a duty to “promptly examine”
habeas petitions filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts (“Habeas Rule 4”).
And, “if ‘it plainly appears from the petition .
. . that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the
district court,' the court must summarily dismiss the
petition without ordering a responsive pleading.”
Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644, 656 (2005) (quoting
Habeas Rule 4). More generally, this Court has
“‘an independent obligation to determine whether
subject-matter jurisdiction exists, ” and should
dismiss an action “at any stage of the