United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Ronald W. Martin
Warden, New Hampshire State Prison for Men
W. Martin, pro se
Elizabeth C. Woodcock, Esq.
A. DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
W. Martin, proceeding pro se, filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging
the sentences imposed in his state court case. The Warden
moves to dismiss the petition, arguing that Martin has not
raised grounds to support habeas relief. Martin objects.
may move to dismiss an action for “failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss under
Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts as true all of the properly
pleaded facts and draws reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party. Lemelson v. Bloomberg L.P., 903
F.3d 19, 23 (1st Cir. 2018). The court does not credit
“legal labels or conclusions, or statements that merely
rehash elements of the cause of action.” Id.
Based on the properly pleaded facts and reasonable inferences
taken from those facts, the court determines whether the
petitioner alleges a plausible claim for relief. Id.
was convicted, following a jury trial in state court, on one
charge of felonious sexual assault and three charges of
aggravated felonious sexual assault, which crimes occurred
between August 10, 1984, and February 19, 1991. He was
sentenced to three prison terms of not more than fifteen
years nor less than seven and one-half years and one term of
not more than seven years nor less than three and one-half
years. The four prison terms are to be served consecutively.
Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed Martin's conviction on
July 6, 2017. Proceeding pro se, Martin filed a habeas
petition in this court on September 12, 2017. Martin then
moved to stay the proceeding here to allow him time to
exhaust issues in state court. His motion was granted, and
the case was stayed.
filed a motion in Merrimack County Superior Court to vacate
his sentences and to remand his case for resentencing. In
support, Martin argued that under the version of RSA 651-A:6,
II in effect when he committed the initial crime in 1984, he
should be eligible for parole after serving the minimum
amount of his longest sentence, seven and one-half years. He
argued that his consecutive sentences did not comply with
that version of the statute. The state objected.
court denied Martin's motion to vacate his
sentence.State v. Martin,
217-2015-CR-00314; 211-2015-CR-00174 (Merrimack Cty. Sup. Ct.
Dec. 2, 2017). The court explained that the New Hampshire
Supreme Court had interpreted the 1991 version of RSA 651-A:6
in an unreported decision, Blackstock v. Executive
Assistant, Adult Parole Board, No. 2014-0720, 2016 WL
4103620, at *6 (N.H. Supreme Ct. June 9, 2016), and
determined that the statute did not establish a minimum
parole date, contrary to Martin's theory. The court also
explained that because Martin could be paroled to his next
consecutive sentence, even if he became eligible for parole
after serving seven and one-half years, his consecutive
sentences were not unlawfully imposed.
appeal, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the superior
court decision. State v. Martin, 2018-0063 (N.H.
Supreme Ct. Sept. 14, 2018). The supreme court rejected
Martin's interpretation of RSA 651-A:6, II and agreed
with Blackstock and the superior court's ruling. The
supreme court also held, agreeing with the superior court,
that the 1991 amendment to RSA 651-A:6, II did not make any
change that was material to Martin's claims. In addition,
the supreme court affirmed the superior court's authority
to impose consecutive sentences.
October 15, 2018, Martin moved to lift the stay in this court
and provided an addendum to his petition. His motion was
support of his petition for habeas relief under § 2254,
Martin contends that based on the Fourteenth Amendment due
process clause and Department of Corrections Policy and
Procedure Directives he was entitled to be sentenced in
accord with the statutory provisions in effect at the time of
his charged offenses in 1984. He further argues that the 1991
amendments cannot be applied to him because that would result
in a violation of the ex post facto clause. He contends that
the version of RSA 651-A:6, II in effect in 1984 would set
his eligibility for parole after he served seven and one-half
years of his prison terms. Martin contends in his addendum to
his petition that the superior court and the supreme ...