Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bennefield v. Kirkpatrick

March 4, 2008

ADAM BENNEFIELD, PETITIONER,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT ROBERT KIRKPATRICK, WENDE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY SUPERINTENDENT, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR E. Bianchini United States Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Adam Bennefield ("Bennefield" or "petitioner") has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his conviction following a guilty plea in Erie County Court to one count of escape in the first degree and two counts of attempted kidnapping in the second degree. See Petition (Docket No. 1). Bennefield is currently serving his sentence of concurrent determinate terms of imprisonment of fifteen years with respect the attempted kidnapping convictions, and with an indeterminate term of imprisonment of two to six years on the escape charge to be served consecutively thereto. On May 25, 2006, respondent served his answer and memorandum of law in opposition to the petition.

On May 31, 2006, Bennefield filed a motion to have his petition stayed and held in abeyance (Docket No. 8) pending his exhaustion of state court remedies. The Court (Payson, M.J.) entered an Order (Docket No. 11) denying petitioner's application without prejudice with leave to re-file upon a showing that he fulfilled the conditions set forth by the Supreme Court in Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 277-78 (2005), for the invocation of the stay-and-abeyance procedure. In particular, Bennefield was instructed as follows:

If petitioner intends to amend his petition to include additional claims that are not yet exhausted, he is directed to submit a proposed amended petition, including all of the claims by which he seeks to challenge the conviction, both exhausted and unexhausted. He should identify which of the claims is exhausted and which, in his view, is unexhausted.

Bennefield has re-filed his motion for a stay (Docket No. 14) and to amend his petition to add certain unexhausted claims. Respondent opposed the renewed motion for a stay, arguing that all of Bennefield's proposed claims are without merit. (Docket No. 15). Bennefield thereafter submitted a rebuttal affidavit (Docket No. 17).

This matter has been transferred to the undersigned in accordance with the scope of the original referral order entered in this case. (Docket No. 18). For the reasons set forth below, Bennefield's renewed motion for a stay is denied because he has failed to meet the Rhines criteria.

DISCUSSION

The Supreme Court stated in Rhines v. Weber that "it likely would be an abuse of discretion for a district court to deny a stay and to dismiss a mixed petition if the petitioner had [1] good cause for his failure to exhaust, [2] his unexhausted claims are potentially meritorious, and [3] there is no indication that the petitioner engaged in intentionally dilatory litigation tactics." 544 U.S. at 278. On the other hand, the Supreme Court explained, even if a petitioner had "good cause" for the failure to exhaust the claims first, it would be an abuse of discretion to grant a stay when the claims are "plainly meritless." Id. at 277 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2)).

In his renewed motion for a stay, Bennefield states that it is "petitioners [sic] belief that the following issues/grounds are unexhausted:

1. The defendant was denied his right to have his written waiver of indictment signed in open court.

2. Defendant was denied his right to choose his defense for trial (not trial strategy).

3. Defendant was denied his right to punishment that fits the crimes and which is not cruel, unusual and disproportionate for the same or similar offenses prescribed in this jurisdiction. (Proposed Amendment).

1.[sic] That the petitioner was denied effective assistance of counsel at all pre-trial stages and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.