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Gatei v. Sullivan

United States District Court, D. Alaska

July 15, 2014

SAYE BLENDOLO GATEI, Petitioner,
v.
CLARE SULLIVAN, Respondent.

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

SHARON L. GLEASON, District Judge.

On July 7, 2014, Saye Blendolo Gatei, a state prisoner representing himself, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254, challenging his November 12, 2013 conviction in the Superior Court for the State of Alaska.[1] Under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, the Court must review the petition to determine whether "it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court."[2] If so, "the judge must dismiss the petition."[3] For the reasons explained below, the Court must, therefore, dismiss this case for failure to exhaust.

Habeas relief in federal court is not available "unless the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State."[4] That is, "[b]efore seeking a federal writ of habeas corpus, a state prisoner must... giv[e] the State the opportunity to pass upon and correct' alleged violations of its prisoners' federal rights."[5] The Supreme Court has explained that "[t]he exhaustion doctrine... is founded on concerns broader than those of the parties; in particular, the doctrine fosters respectful, harmonious relations between the state and federal judiciaries."[6]

To satisfy the exhaustion requirement, a "prisoner must fairly present' his claim in each appropriate state court (including a state supreme court with powers of discretionary review), thereby alerting that court to the federal nature of the claim."[7]

Mr. Gatei acknowledges that he is in the process of exhausting his claims in the state courts.[8] And the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that the public record supports Mr. Gatei's assertions. The appellate court remanded the case to the trial court, where Mr. Gatei was appointed counsel for his appeal on July 9, 2014.[9] In addition to his appeal, on February 18, 2014, Mr. Gatei filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which is currently proceeding in the state trial court with newly-appointed counsel.[10] Mr. Gatei must complete exhaustion of his state court remedies by bringing each of his specific claims in the state trial court, the state appellate court and the state supreme court, before filing a federal petition.[11]

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

1. This case is DISMISSED without prejudice. Mr. Gatei may file a timely new case in this Court after all federal claims that he seeks to raise are exhausted in the state courts by presentation first to the Alaska Superior Court then, if Mr. Gatei disagrees with that result, to the Alaska Court of Appeals and then, if he disagrees with that result, in a petition for hearing to the Alaska Supreme Court.

2. Any outstanding motions are DENIED.

3. The Clerk of Court will enter a Judgment in this case.

4. A Certificate of Appealability will be DENIED.[12]


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