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Holman v. Vincenz

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

December 17, 2019

DENISE L. HOLMAN, Petitioner,
v.
FELIX VINCENZ, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on petitioner Denise L. Holman's response to the Court's August 27, 2019 order to show cause. (Docket No. 11). The Court had ordered petitioner to show cause why her 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition should not be dismissed for untimeliness and for failure to exhaust state remedies. Having carefully reviewed petitioner's response, and for the reasons discussed below, the Court must dismiss this action as time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244 and because petitioner has failed to demonstrate exhaustion.

         Background

         On March 9, 2010, the State of Missouri filed an information charging petitioner with the Class C felony of assault in the second degree. State of Missouri v. Holman, No. 10MR-CR00099-01 (10th Cir., Marion County).[1] On August 2, 2010, petitioner withdrew her plea of not guilty and entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect excluding responsibility. As such, the circuit court acquitted her of the charge of assault in the second degree. The circuit court also committed petitioner indefinitely to the Department of Mental Health. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         Petitioner filed a notice of intent to petition for release on November 20, 2015. On December 15, 2015, an attorney for the Department of Mental Health filed a motion to dismiss and an objection to petitioner's application for unconditional release. There is no indication that the circuit court ruled upon the petition for release or the subsequent motion, as the next docket entries are for correspondence filed in January and February 2018. The Court was unable to find any indication that petitioner filed an appeal with the Missouri Court of Appeals.

         Petitioner filed the instant action on June 19, 2019, by placing it in her institution's mailing system.[2] The Court directed petitioner to file an amended petition on a Court form on July 2, 2019. (Docket No. 4). Petitioner complied with this directive.

         The amended petition contained four grounds for relief. First, petitioner alleged that documents were omitted from State of Missouri v. Holman, No. 10MR-CR00099-01 (10th Cir., Marion County), and thus, her not guilty by reason of mental defect plea was invalid. (Docket No. 9 at 3). Second, petitioner asserted that due process was not upheld because when she requested her case file from the circuit clerk's office, she was told that there were no transcripts. (Docket No. 9 at 8). Third, petitioner claimed that a 2017 elopement charge from Audrain County was invalid because she was unlawfully imprisoned. (Docket No. 9 at 5). Finally, petitioner alleged that her psychiatric condition was not assessed at the time of her not guilty by reason of mental defect plea. (Docket No. 9 at 9).

         On August 27, 2019, the Court directed petitioner to show cause why her § 2254 petition should not be dismissed as untimely and for failure to exhaust state remedies. (Docket No. 10). The Court noted that to the extent petitioner was challenging the original August 2, 2010 order committing her to the Department of Mental Health, her petition appeared time-barred. The Court further noted that to the extent petitioner was seeking conditional or unconditional release from civil commitment, she had not demonstrated that she had exhausted her state remedies before filing in federal court.

         Petitioner filed a written response to the Court's show cause order on September 3, 2019, by placing it into her institution's mail system.

         Show Cause Response

         In her response, petitioner states that at the time she should have filed her writ of habeas corpus, she was without counsel. (Docket No. 11 at 1). She asserts that habeas "is the only viable means by which the lawfulness of a confinement as a result of the NGRI defense can be challenged." Petitioner also states that Mo. S.Ct. R. 91.06 determines timeliness in this matter. (Docket No. 11 at 2). She further claims "[t]here is no time constraint imposed on the filing of [a] writ of habeas corpus." (Docket No. 11 at 1).

         As to exhaustion, petitioner explains that she had no legal guidance and no financial means to obtain "reputable counsel." (Docket No. 11 at 2). Petitioner also states that she was ignorant of legal remedies and had no resources by which to become informed. Despite this, she asserts that she "did seek remedy at [the] state level through correspondence filed" with the state court. (Docket No. 11 at 4).

         Petitioner's response to the Court also notes that she attempted to obtain counsel. (Docket No. 11 at 3). However, after paying a retainer, petitioner claims her attorney cashed her check but rendered no services.

         Finally, petitioner claims she attempted to file a state habeas petition with the wrong form. (Docket No. 11 at 4). This petition was filed directly with the Missouri Court of Appeals, which returned the filing to her because it was captioned as a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. (Docket No. 11 at 29). Petitioner states that the appellate court could have delivered ...


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