United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
STEVEN E. HILL REG #17672-035 PETITIONER
C.V. RIVERA, Warden RESPONDENT
OPINION AND ORDER
LEON HOLMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Eighth Circuit has directed this Court to reconsider the part
of Steven E. Hill's habeas petition addressing the
statute of limitations, to the extent he raised that issue,
in light of United States v. Mangahas, 77 M.J. 220
(C.A.A.F. 2018). United States Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe
has recommended that Hill's habeas petition be dismissed.
Upon de novo review, that recommendation is adopted
with the following additional comments.
Mangahas, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
held that the crime of rape, under military law, was not
“punishable by death” at the time of the offense,
and so the five-year statute of limitations applied to it.
Mangahas overturned a prior C.A.A.F. case holding
rape was “punishable by death” and therefore
exempt from the five-year statute of limitations,
Willenbring v. Neurauter, 48 M.J. 152 (C.A.A.F.
1998). Decades before, the Supreme Court had held the death
penalty unconstitutional for rape. Coker v. Georgia,
433 U.S. 584, 598, 97 S.Ct. 2861, 2869, 53 L.Ed.2d 982
(1977). Thus, the Mangahas decision overturning
Willenbring was based on Coker.
Mangahas therefore changed the landscape within the
C.A.A.F. regarding the statute of limitations for rape under
Judge Volpe noted, the issue arises because Hill was
convicted in 2012 of rape that occurred in 1998. The record
before us does not show whether Hill asserted a
statute-of-limitations defense in the underlying criminal
proceeding, but since the Eighth Circuit has directed us to
consider the issue, we will assume that he did so and that
his statute-of-limitations defense was overruled based on
Willenbring. The question is whether Hill can obtain
habeas relief based on Mangahas.
rule announced in Mangahas is new and retroactive,
then the fact that it is new does not preclude Hill from
asserting the statute-of-limitations argument in his habeas
petition. If the Mangahas rule is new and not
retroactive, then his petition must be dismissed, as it is
the only remaining issue. If the rule in Mangahas is
not new, then Hill is not precluded from raising the statute
of limitations issue on that basis.
general, new rules do not apply retroactively in cases on
collateral review. Butler v. McKellar, 494 U.S. 407,
412, 110 S.Ct. 1212, 1216, 108 L.Ed.2d 347 (1990); Teague
v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 310, 109 S.Ct. 1060, 1075, 103
L.Ed.2d 334 (1989). “The ‘new rule' principle
. . . validates reasonable, good-faith interpretations of
existing precedents made by state courts even though they are
shown to be contrary to later decisions.”
Butler, 494 U.S. at 414, 110 S.Ct. at 1217.
a rule “new” for purposes of cases on collateral
review? A court must ascertain the “legal landscape as
it existed” at the time the conviction became final and
ask whether the Constitution, as interpreted by the precedent
then existing, compels the later-announced rule. See
Beard v. Banks, 542 U.S. 406, 411, 124 S.Ct. 2504, 2510,
159 L.Ed.2d 494 (2004). “That is, the court must decide
whether the rule is actually ‘new.'”
Id. “[A] decision announces a new rule
‘if the result was not dictated by precedent
existing at the time the defendant's conviction became
final.'” Butler, 494 U.S. at 412, 110
S.Ct. at 1216 (quoting Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S.
302, 314, 109 S.Ct. 2934, 2944, 106 L.Ed.2d 256 (1989)).
“A new decision that explicitly overrules an earlier
holding obviously ‘breaks new ground' or
‘imposes a new obligation'” and is thus new.
Id.; see also Saffle v. Parks, 494 U.S.
484, 488, 110 S.Ct. 1257, 1260, 108 L.Ed.2d 415 (1990)
(“The explicit overruling of an earlier holding no
doubt creates a new rule.”). The question is more
difficult, though, when a “new decision is reached by
an extension of the reasoning of previous cases.”
Butler, 494 U.S. at 412-13, 110 S.Ct. at 1216. A
court's observation that its decision “is
‘controlled' by a prior decision” does not
mean the rule is not new, as “[c]ourts frequently view
their decisions as being ‘controlled' or
‘governed' by prior opinions even when aware of
reasonable contrary conclusions reached by other
courts.” Id. at 415, 110 S.Ct. at 1217. If the
outcome of a new decision “was susceptible to debate
among reasonable minds, ” which might be evinced by
different results in various courts that had considered the
question previously, then it is almost certainly a
“new” rule for purposes of the Teague
analysis. Id. See also Beard, 542 U.S. at 413, 124
S.Ct. at 2511 (explaining that a rule is not new if the
unlawfulness of the conviction was “apparent to all
reasonable jurists” by then-existing precedent).
Rules that Apply Retroactively
a rule is new, there are two exceptions to nonretroactivity
on collateral review: substantive rules and a very small set
of procedural rules.
new substantive rules generally apply retroactively on
collateral review. Schriro v. Summerlin, 542 U.S.
348, 351 n.4, 124 S.Ct. 2519, 2522 n.4, 159 L.Ed.2d 442
(2004). Substantive rules include those that “place a
class of private conduct beyond the power of the State to
proscribe.” Saffle, 494 U.S. at 494, 108 S.Ct.
at 1263. Substantive rules also include those that
“prohibit a certain category of punishment for a
class of defendants because of their status or
offense.” Id. Thus, in sum, a rule that
“alters the range of conduct or the class of persons
that the law punishes” is substantive, applies
retroactively and may be raised in a habeas petition. See
Schriro, 542 U.S. at 353, 124 S.Ct. at 2523.
contrast to substantive rules, new procedural rules generally
do not apply retroactively on collateral review. Id.
at 352, 124 S.Ct. at 2523. Rules that regulate the
“manner of determining the defendant's
culpability are procedural.” Id. at 353, 124
S.Ct. at 2523.
second set of new rules that do, nevertheless, apply
retroactively is a minute set of procedural rules:
“watershed rules of criminal procedure, ” which
implicate the fundamental fairness and accuracy of the
criminal proceeding. See Saffle, 494 U.S. at 495,
110 S.Ct. at 1264 (citing Teague, 489 U.S. at 311,
109 S.Ct. at 1076). These are new procedural rules the
violation of which would seriously diminish the likelihood of
obtaining an accurate conviction. Butler, 494 U.S.
at 416, 110 S.Ct. at 1218. The Supreme Court has identified a
two-part test for such watershed rules: “First, the
rule must be necessary to prevent an impermissibly large risk
of an inaccurate conviction. . . . Second, the rule must
alter our understanding of the bedrock procedural elements
essential to the fairness of a proceeding.” Whorton
v. Bockting, 549 U.S. 406, 418, 127 S.Ct. 1173, 1182,
167 L.Ed.2d 1 (2007) (citations and quotations omitted). The
Supreme Court has admitted that “the precise contours
of this exception [are] difficult to discern, ” but has
said that the rule of Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S.
335, 83 S.Ct. 792, 9 L.Ed.2d 799 (1963), that a defendant has
the right to a lawyer in criminal trials for serious
offenses, might be such a watershed rule. Saffle,
494 U.S. at 495, 110 S.Ct. at 1264. Even so, the Supreme
Court has “rejected every claim that a new rule
satisfied the requirements for watershed status.”
Whorton, 549 U.S. at 418, 127 S.Ct. at 1182.