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Butler v. Mitchell

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

March 9, 2016

REGINALD BUTLER, Petitioner, Appellant,
v.
LISA MITCHELL, Respondent, Appellee

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Hon. William G. Young, U.S. District Judge.

Michael J. Fellows, for appellant.

Christopher Hurld, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, was on brief, for appellee.

Before Barron, Circuit Judge, Souter, Associate Justice,[*] and Selya, Circuit Judge.

OPINION

Page 88

SOUTER, Associate Justice.

Reginald Butler appeals the denial of a petition for habeas corpus in which he claims that his Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial and effective assistance of counsel were violated in the course of a Massachusetts state prosecution. We affirm.

I

In 1991, a Massachusetts state district court issued an arrest warrant supported by a criminal complaint charging Butler with rape. In 1993, while incarcerated on unrelated charges, Butler signed a standard form requesting a speedy trial on the 1991 complaint, but the case lay dormant.

After further proceedings immaterial here, the Commonwealth obtained an indictment against Butler on the rape charge in 1999, and he was arraigned in the Massachusetts superior court. His trial began in 2003 and ended with a conviction. On direct appeal, the state intermediate appellate court affirmed, and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) denied review.

In 2008, Butler sought a new trial by motion filed in the superior court, claiming that his counsel on direct appeal had been ineffective for failing to argue that Butler's speedy-trial rights under the Massachusetts and Federal Constitutions had been

Page 89

violated. The superior court denied the motion, and both the intermediate appellate court and the SJC affirmed.

Butler then in 2013 filed a petition for habeas corpus in federal district court, raising speedy-trial and ineffective-assistance claims under the Sixth Amendment. The petition ...


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