Monday, January 12, 2015

Habeas Petitioner Loses Because of Procedural Default

Dixon v. Hartley, 2014 WL 7399056 (12/31/14) (Col.) (unpub'd) - A habeas petitioner is caught in the clutches of habeas procedural default law, as interpreted by the 10th. Mr. Dixon, proceeding pro se, raised ineffective assistance of counsel, habeas claims in the state trial court. The state trial court addressed the issues on the merits. On appeal, however, the appeals court found the issues procedurally defaulted due to a failure to develop the claims enough or belatedly raising them in the reply brief. The 10th held Mr. Dixon got all he was entitled to. Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S. Ct. 1309 (2012), which held that ineffective assistance of habeas counsel or the failure to provide habeas counsel could be cause for a procedural default, only meant the petitioner could demand that the trial court address the claims' merits. Here Mr. Dixon got that. The procedural bar only occurred on appeal. Mr Dixon's procedural default cannot be excused.