United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES
Johnston United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Steven Wayne Keefe's
petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§2254. Keefe is a state prisoner represented by counsel.
28 U.S.C. §2254 Petition
petition challenges the constitutionality of the life
sentence without parole imposed upon him in 1986 when he was
a juvenile offender. Keefe alleges he was not afforded
individualized sentencing, taking into account the distinct
attributes of his youth, in contravention of Miller v.
Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 2469 (2012) and Montgomery
v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016). See
generally, (Doc. 1.) Part of the relief Keefe requested
from this Court is that an order issue requiring the State of
Montana to either resentence or release him. Id. at
March 9, 2017, Keefe filed an Unopposed Motion to Stay (Doc.
4), requesting this Court to hold his habeas petition in
abeyance while he attempted to exhaust his state court
remedies. At that time, Keefe had a petition for
postconviction relief pending before the Cascade County
District Court. Keefe's request for a stay was
subsequently granted. (Doc. 6.)
the imposition of the stay, the state district court has
granted Keefe's petition for post conviction relief and
vacated his underlying sentence. A new sentencing hearing has
been scheduled for October 10, 2018. (Doc. 13 at 2.) Thus,
Keefe has been granted the relief requested pursuant to the
1986 judgment of conviction; he will resentenced.
Accordingly, the pending petition should be dismissed as
a new judgment will issue following Keefe's resentencing
in October of this year, he will not be precluded, at some
future date, from potentially filing a federal habeas
petition challenging the new judgment. See, Magwood v.
Patterson, 561 U.S. 320, 332-33 (2010); Hill v.
State of Alaska, 297 F.3d 895, 897-98 (9th
Certificate of Appealability
"The district court must issue or deny a certificate of
appealability when it enters a final order adverse to the
applicant." Rule 11(a), Rules governing § 2254
Proceedings. A COA should issue as to those claims on which a
petitioner makes a "substantial showing of the denial of
a constitutional right." 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).
The standard is satisfied if "jurists of reason could
disagree with the district court's resolution of [the]
constitutional claims" or "conclude the issues
presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed
further." Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322,
327 (2003) (citing Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473,
certificate of appealability should be denied because, by
virtue of the grant of state postconviction relief and the
upcoming October sentencing hearing, there is no doubt Keefe
has received the relief previously requested. Accordingly,
his pending habeas petition is moot. There is no basis to
encourage further proceedings at this time.
on the foregoing, the Court enters the following:
stay previously imposed in this matter is lifted.