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Daffin v. Salmonsen

United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division

September 7, 2018

BRAD DAFFIN, Petitioner,
v.
JAMES SALMONSEN, Respondent.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Jeremiah C. Lynch United States Magistrate Judge

         On June 25, 2018, Petitioner Brad Daffin filed this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.[1]Daffin is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. For the reasons set forth below, Daffin's petition should be dismissed.

         I. 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Petition

         The Court is required to screen all actions brought by prisoners who seek relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court must dismiss a habeas petition or portion thereof if the prisoner raises claims that are legally frivolous or fails to state a basis upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). The Court must dismiss a habeas petition "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 Governing Section 2254 Cases. Because Mr. Daffin's claims are unexhausted, his petition should be dismissed without prejudice.

         II. Procedural History

         Following a jury trial in Montana's Twenty-First Judicial District, Ravalli County, Daffin was convicted of eight counts of Sexual Intercourse without Consent, three counts of Sexual Assault, three counts of Sexual Abuse of Children, and two counts of Distribution of Dangerous Drugs. The district court sentenced Daffin to five consecutive life sentences. (Doc. 1 at 3, ¶ 4.)

         Daffin filed a direct appeal arguing: (1) the district court abused its discretion by admitting prior bad acts under Mont. R. Evid. 404(b), and (2) the district court erred in its application of Montana's Rape Shield Law. The Montana Supreme Court affirmed Daffin's convictions on direct appeal. State v. Daffin, 2017 MT 76, 387 Mont. 154, 392 P.3d 150; see also, (Doc. 1 at 3, ¶ 6.)

         Daffin filed state petition for habeas relief. (Doc. 1 at 4, ¶12.) Daffin argued there were evidentiary errors and insufficient evidence presented during trial and that he was actually innocent of the offenses. The Montana Supreme Court denied Daffin's petition. Daffin v. Green, OP 18-0408, Or. (Mont. July 31, 2018).[2]

         Daffin indicates that on the same day he filed the present § 2254 petition, he also filed a petition in the state district court for postconviction relief. (Doc. 1 at 3, ¶ 9.)

         III. Daffin's Claims

         In the instant petition, Daffin claims: (1) he is actually innocent and there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction (Doc. 2 at 17-20); (2) he was denied his right to effective cross examination under the Sixth Amendment (id. at 20-28); (3) the trial court's erroneous evidentiary rulings violated his right to due process (id. at 29-40); (4) the prosecution unlawfully suppressed crucial evidence of favorable treatment provided to a key witness and the court unlawfully restricted cross examination of the same witness (id. at 41-43); and, (5) cumulative error resulted. Id. at 43-49.

         It also appears Daffin may be intending to advance claims of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. (Doc. 1 at 5, ¶ 13 (A)(v); 6, ¶ 13 (B)(v)).

         Daffin asks this Court to order a new trial, an evidentiary hearing, or his release. Id. at 7, ¶16.

         IV. ...


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