United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Winston Riley, currently confined at Carl Robinson
Correctional Institution and proceeding pro se, has
filed this habeas corpus action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254,
to challenge his 2013 conviction.
before the Court are two motions. Scott Semple (the
“Respondent” or “Mr. Semple”) has
moved to dismiss Mr. Riley's claims, ECF No. 16, and Mr.
Riley has moved to amend the First Amended Petition, ECF No.
reasons that follow, the court GRANTS Mr.
Riley's motion to amend and DENIES the
respondent's motion to dismiss as moot.
a trial in July 2013, a jury convicted Mr. Riley of attempted
robbery, attempted larceny, and threatening and carrying a
dangerous weapon. The Court subsequently sentenced him to a
six-year term of imprisonment. Am. Pet., ECF No. 10, at 2.
direct appeal, Mr. Riley argued that there was insufficient
evidence to support the jury's rejection of his defense
of renunciation and the jury instruction on renunciation was
constitutionally inadequate. The Connecticut Appellate Court
affirmed the conviction and the Connecticut Supreme Court
denied certification to appeal. State v. Riley, 123
A.3d 123, 126‒27 (Conn. App. 2015).
2014, Mr. Riley commenced a state habeas proceeding. A trial
on the merits of the petition was scheduled to begin on
October 30, 2017. See generally Riley v. Warden, State
Prison, No. CV14-4006347-S (Conn. Super. Ct.). In
February 2017, Mr. Riley commenced a second state habeas
proceeding to challenge the denial of his request for
immigration parole. See generally Riley v. Commissioner
of Correction, No. CV17-4008656-S (Conn. Super. Ct.).
Amended Petition, filed February 16, 2017, Mr. Riley
challenges his conviction on four grounds: (1) the trial
court omitted a critical portion of his requested instruction
on renunciation; (2) there was insufficient evidence to
dispute renunciation; (3) the jury was misled; and (4) the
Connecticut Appellate Court decision is not in accord with
Connecticut Supreme Court decisions.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court,
the petitioner must properly exhaust state court remedies. 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A); accord O'Sullivan v.
Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842, 119 S.Ct. 1728, 1731, 144
L.Ed.2d 1 (1999) (“[T]he state prisoner must give the
state courts an opportunity to act on his claims before he
presents those claims to a federal court in a habeas
petition.”). The petitioner must present the essential
factual and legal bases for his federal claims to each
appropriate state court, including the highest state court
capable of reviewing it, to afford the state courts a full
and fair “opportunity to pass upon and correct alleged
violations of its prisoners' federal rights.”
Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995) (per
curiam) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
assess whether the claim has been appropriately exhausted
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1), the Second Circuit
requires the district court to conduct a two-part inquiry.
First, the petitioner must present the factual and legal
bases of his federal claim to the highest state court capable
of reviewing it. Galdamez v. Keane, 394 F.3d 68,
73‒74 (2d Cir.) (citing Jones v. Vacco, 126
F.3d 408, 413 (2d Cir.1997)). Second, he must have utilized
all available means to secure appellate review of his claims.
See Galdamez, 394 F.3d at 74 (“[A] petitioner
cannot claim to have exhausted his or her remedies by dint of
no longer possessing the right under the law of the State to
raise, by any available procedure, the question presented, if
at some point the petitioner had that right but failed to
exercise it.”) (internal citation and quotation marks
omitted) (citing O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 848).
The federal claims must be clearly set forth in the petition
or brief. See Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 32
(2004) (petitioner “does not ‘fairly present'
a claim to a state court if that court must read beyond a
petition or a brief . . . that does not alert it to the
presence of a federal claim in order to find material . . .
that does so”).
to exhaust may be excused only where “there is no
opportunity to obtain redress in state court or if the
corrective process is so clearly deficient to render futile
any effort to obtain relief.” Duckworth v.
Serrano, 454 U.S. 1, 3 (1981) (per curiam). A petitioner
cannot, however, simply wait until appellate remedies no
longer are available and argue that the claim is exhausted.
See Galdamez, 394 F.3d at 73‒74.