United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division
NATHANAEL GREENE, BRADLEY KEITH, ZACHARY CHRISTOPHER HILLIS, MORONI NUTTALL, RANDALL STONE, JOHN DAVID TROTTER, MICHAEL G. BEAUCHMAN, RORY DAVIS, ALLEN EDWARD FOUTS, Petitioners,
MICHAEL FLETCHER, Respondent.
Morris United States District Court Judge
pro se prisoners have filed an action styled an "en
masse petition for a writ of habeas corpus" seeking to
challenge the constitutionality of the criminal charging
process utilized by the State of Montana. (Doc. 1 at
18-32.) Petitioner Turnquist voluntarily dismissed
his petition on February 26, 2018. Doc. 12, Turnquistv.
Fletcher, CV-18-10-H-BMM-JTJ (D. Mont Feb. 26, 2018).
The Court dismissed Petitioner Lout's petition on April
5, 2018. Doc. 16, Lout v. Fletcher,
CV-18-07-H-BMM-JTJ (D. Mont. April 5, 2018).
States Magistrate Judge John Johnston issued an Order in this
matter on January 25, 2018. (Doc. 6.) Judge Johnston ordered
the petitioners to individually brief the issue of exhaustion
and inform the Court of their intent to proceed by February
20, 2018. (Doc. 6 at 4-5.)
petitioners filed a document captioned "Objection to
Order of Findings and Recommendations of Montana Magistrate
Judge" on February 5, 2018. (Doc. 11.)
Court reviews for clear error when a party objects to the
order of a magistrate judge. Grimes v. City and County of
San Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991). This
Court must defer to the magistrate's order unless it is
clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Id.
petitioners broadly object to an "Order of Findings and
Recommendations" entered January 25, 2018. (Doc. 11 at
4.) The Court notes that this may refer to two different
documents entered by Judge Johnston. Judge Johnston issued an
Order and Findings and Recommendations in Petitioner
Lout's case on January 25, 2018. Doc. 6, Lout v.
Fletcher, CV-18-07-H-BMM-JTJ (D. Mont. Jan. 25, 2018.)
The Court construed the document as objections to Judge
Johnston's Findings and Recommendations and conducted
de novo review of Judge Johnston's jurisdiction
to issue the Order and Findings and Recommendations in
Lout's case. Doc. 16, Lout v. Fletcher,
CV-18-07-H-BMM-JTJ (D.Mont. April 3, 2018).
Johnston also issued an Order in the ten remaining cases on
that date. (See Doc. 6.) The Court notes the
petitioners' pro se status. The Court must
"liberally construe"pro se filings.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). The
Court will thus construe this filing as an objection to the
Order that Judge Johnston issued in the remaining ten cases.
Johnston's Order informed the petitioners that they
generally possess one opportunity to challenge a state court
judgment or conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 6
at 2-3.) Judge Johnston advised the petitioners that each
individual likely would be barred from filing a subsequent
individual habeas petition absent leave from the Ninth
Circuit. Id. at 3. Judge Johnston thus ordered
petitioners to advise the Court regarding their intent to
proceed by February 20, 2018. Id. at 3-5.
Johnston further informed the petitioners that Section 2254
requires a state prisoner to exhaust his state remedies
before petitioning for a federal writ of habeas corpus.
Id. Judge Johnston observed that the record does not
currently reflect that each individual petitioner has
exhausted their state court remedies. Id. at 4.
Judge Johnston thus ordered the petitioners to submit a brief
on the issue of exhaustion by February 20, 2018. Id.
Court has reviewed Judge Johnston's Order for clear
error. The Court finds no error.
IT IS ORDERED that Petitioners'
objection to Magistrate Judge Johnston's ...