Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Martin v. Warden, New Hampshire State Prison for Men

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

January 10, 2019

Ronald W. Martin
v.
Warden, New Hampshire State Prison for Men

          Ronald W. Martin, pro se

          Elizabeth C. Woodcock, Esq.

          ORDER

          JOSEPH A. DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Ronald 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.

         Standard of Review

         A party 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).[1] 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.

         Background

         Martin 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.

         The New 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.

         Martin 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.

         The court denied Martin's motion to vacate his sentence.[2]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.

         On 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.[3]

         On October 15, 2018, Martin moved to lift the stay in this court and provided an addendum to his petition. His motion was granted.

         In 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.