United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING
RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
N. PARRISH UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Judge Jill N. Parrish Petitioner, Aaron David Trent Needham,
has filed a pro se habeas corpus petition.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2016). Respondent, the
State of Utah, has moved to dismiss the habeas corpus
petition. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants
Respondent's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 23).
was convicted in Utah state court. Upon appeal, the Utah
Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. State v.
Needham, 391 P.3d 295, 296-97 (Utah Ct. App. 2016).
Petitioner did not file a petition for certiorari in the Utah
Supreme Court. Petitioner then filed an unsuccessful
application for state post-conviction relief. The Utah Court
of Appeals dismissed Petitioner's appeal of his
unsuccessful application for state post-conviction relief.
Needham v. State, No. 20170380-CA (Utah Ct. App.
June 5, 2017) (dismissal order). He again did not file a
petition for certiorari in the Utah Supreme Court. He now
challenges his conviction in this federal habeas petition.
response to the petition, the State argues that
Petitioner's issues are unexhausted and procedurally
defaulted. The Court agrees.
general, before Petitioner may seek review of a Utah
conviction in federal court, he must exhaust all remedies in
Utah courts. See 28 U.S.C. §§
2254(b)(1)(A), (c); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270,
275-76 (1971); Knapp v. Henderson, No. 97-1188, 1998
WL 778774, at *2 (10th Cir. Nov. 9, 1998). To exhaust his
remedies, Petitioner must properly present to the highest
available Utah court the federal constitutional issues on
which he seeks relief. See Picard, 404 U.S. at 276;
Knapp, 1998 WL 778774, at *2-3. Here, because he did
not petition for writ of certiorari as to his failed direct
appeal and application for state post-conviction relief,
Petitioner has not presented any of the issues upon which he
seeks relief to Utah's highest court, the Utah Supreme
Court. Consequently, Petitioner has not exhausted his
remedies, as he is required to do by § 2254(b)(1)(A).
United States Supreme Court has declared that when a
petitioner has “‘failed to exhaust his state
remedies and the court to which the petitioner would be
required to present his claims in order to meet the
exhaustion requirement would now find the claims procedurally
barred' the claims are considered exhausted and
procedurally defaulted for purposes of federal habeas
relief.” Thomas v. Gibson, 218 F.3d 1213, 1221
(10th Cir. 2000) (quoting Coleman v. Thompson, 501
U.S. 722, 735 n.1 (1991)). Utah's Post-Conviction
Remedies Act, in pertinent part, states:
A person is not eligible for relief under this chapter upon
any ground that:
(b) was raised or addressed at trial or on appeal;
(c) could have been but was not raised at trial or ...