United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
Dennis Saylor IV, United States District Judge
a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On May 24, 2016, Corliss
pleaded guilty in the Orleans District Court to fourteen
counts of violating an abuse prevention order in violation of
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209A § 7. The state court sentenced
him to two and a half years in the house of corrections. It
appears that petitioner has not filed an appeal yet with any
Massachusetts appellate court.
has filed an amended petition for habeas relief based on four
different grounds. Respondent James Cummings, Sheriff of
Barnstable County, has filed a motion to dismiss because
petitioner has not exhausted any of his state remedies. For
the following reasons, the motion will be granted.
April 19, 2016, Corliss's ex-girlfriend filed a complaint
with the Dennis police. (Arr. Tr. at 5). She reported that
there was an outstanding restraining order against him that
included a no-contact provision. (Id.). However,
over the preceding 24 hours, Corliss had sent her at least
four e-mails, called her on the telephone, and showed up at
her home, repeatedly professing his love for her.
(Id. at 5-6). Corliss later denied to investigating
officers that he had sent the emails in question. (Sen. Tr.
arraignment on April 22, 2016, Corliss attempted to plead
guilty to the charges against him and indicated he wanted to
waive his right to an attorney. (Arr. Tr. at 8).
Subsequently, at his bail hearing on May 10, 2016, he again
attempted to plead guilty and waive his right to an attorney.
(Bail Tr. at 2). However, the court entered a “not
guilty” plea to “preserve [his] rights” and
reminded him of his right to counsel. (Id. at 3-4).
sentencing hearing on May 24, 2016, before Judge Robert
Welsh, Corliss stated that he had post-traumatic stress
disorder and severe depression. (Sen. Tr. at 4). However, he
denied that those conditions affected his decision-making
abilities. (Id.). The court reminded him of his
constitutional rights to counsel and to trial by jury, but he
affirmed that he wanted to waive those rights. (Id.
at 4-5). Throughout the proceeding, Corliss indicated that he
was knowingly and willingly pleading guilty. The court, in
light of the impact on the victim and petitioner's
criminal history,  followed the state's recommendation in
sentencing him to two and a half years for each violation, to
be served concurrently. (Id. at 16).
same day Corliss was sentenced, he filed a notice of intent
to appeal. (Docket No. 1, Ex. 1 at 7). Pursuant to Mass. R.
Crim. P. 29, he moved to revise and revoke his sentence, but
requested “that no immediate action be taken on this
motion.” (Id. at 10). Judge Welsh denied the
motion without a hearing. (Id.). Corliss then
attempted to move for a new trial under Mass. R. Crim. P. 30.
(Pet'r Aff. ¶ 11; Docket No. 6, Ex. 1 at 2).
Committee for Public Counsel Services assigned attorney Kyle
Wibby to investigate Corliss's attempts to withdraw his
guilty plea. (Pet'r Aff. ¶ 10). Wibby had been
present for Corliss's sentencing on May 24, 2016, as
Wibby was the attorney on duty at Orleans District Court.
(Docket No. 1, Ex. 1 at 15). In an affidavit, Wibby stated
that “there was mention of possible competency
issues” with Corliss. (Id.). However, Wibby
was replaced by attorney Kathleen Hill. (Id. at 14).
She entered a limited appearance on Corliss's behalf on
September 6, 2016. (Id. at 16).
pro se, Corliss filed a habeas petition with this
Court on January 4, 2017, based on 18 different grounds.
(Docket No. 1). However, because the petition did not comply
with Rules 2 and 3 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases,
the Court ordered him to file an amended petition. (Docket
No. 5). The amended petition was filed on March 16, 2017, and
claimed four grounds for relief: (1) “circumstances
exist[ed] that render such [due] process ineffective to
protect the rights of [petitioner]”; (2) disability and
incapacitation rendered him unable to proceed pro
se; (3) violations of the oath of office by Judge Welsh
and the prosecuting assistant district attorney; and (4)
false imprisonment. (Docket No. 6). Respondent has moved to
dismiss, contending that Corliss failed to exhaust all of his
remedies in state court.
applying for a writ of habeas corpus, a petitioner must
exhaust his available remedies in state court. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b)(1)(A). Specifically, the petitioner must
demonstrate that he has “exhausted his state remedies
by having first presented the federal constitutional issue to
the state courts for their decision.” Goodrich v.
Hall, 448 F.3d 45, 47 (1st Cir. 2006). Where a claim
raised in a petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
unexhausted, “it would be unseemly in our dual system
of government for a federal district court to upset a state
court conviction without an opportunity to the state courts
to correct a constitutional violation.” Rose v.
Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518 ...