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Huber v. Young

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division

January 22, 2015

KENNETH C. HUBER, Plaintiff,
v.
DARIN YOUNG and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS APPLICA TION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

ROBERTO A. LANGE, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Kenneth C. Huber petitioned this Court for writ of habeas corpus by a person in state custody pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Doc. 1. Following a preliminary review of the petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, this Court ordered Respondents Darin Young and the Attorney General of the State of South Dakota (collectively, the State) to respond. Doc. 6. The State responded by filing a motion to dismiss the petition as time-barred, Doc. 8, and a memorandum in support thereof, Doc. 9. Huber, through retained counsel, Doc. 11, responded to the motion to dismiss, Doc. 14. For the reasons stated below this Court has determined that Huber's petition is time-barred, and therefore grants the State's motion to dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

On October 28, 2007, Huber, a former police officer, shot his wife, Pam, in the forehead with his service pistol as she lay in their bed next to the couple's eleven-year-old daughter. State v. Huber , 789 N.W.2d 283, 287 (S.D. 2010). On November 2, 2007, Pam died, and Huber subsequently was charged with first degree murder for her death. Id. at 286, 288. The main issue at trial was whether Huber shot Pam intentionally or whether the shooting was an accident. Id. at 286. A jury found Huber guilty of first-degree murder, and Huber appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of South Dakota (S.D. Supreme Court). Id . That court considered the following issues:

1. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in allowing the State's expert to testify that the events were inconsistent with an accidental act of a well-trained police officer.
2. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in excluding Huber's expert's testimony that (I) law enforcement officers accidentally discharge their firearms, and (2) there are possible causes of accidental discharges.
3. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in excluding Huber's rebuttal evidence of another law enforcement officer who accidentally discharged a Glock handgun.
4. Whether the circuit court abused its discretion in admitting Pam's out-of-court statements and Huber's other acts evidence.

Id. at 288. The S.D. Supreme Court remanded the case to the circuit court for a new trial, finding it erred in excluding testimony from Huber's expert regarding accidental discharge. Id. at 303. The S.D. Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's rulings on all other issues. Id.

Following remand, a second jury found Huber guilty of first-degree murder. Doc. 9-1. The Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of South Dakota sentenced Huber to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on May 24, 2011, and the judgment was filed on May 26, 2011.[1] Id . Huber did not appeal his conviction following the second trial. Doc. I at 2; Doc. 9 at 3.

Huber filed a verified petition for writ of habeas corpus in the circuit court on March 1, 2013. Doc. 9-2. Huber asserted that his conviction violated his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to a fair trial due to improper admission of hearsay and other acts evidence and inadequate limiting instructions regarding such evidence. Id. at 2. Huber also argued his conviction was obtained in violation of his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel, arguing that his trial counsel failed to properly object to the admission of the other acts, bad character, and hearsay evidence and failed to request limiting instructions when such evidence was admitted. Id. at 2-3. On October 29, 2013, the circuit court dismissed Huber's petition on the merit of his claims. Docs. 1-2, 9-3. The S.D. Supreme Court denied a certificate of appeal, finalizing the state habeas proceedings, on March 14, 2014. Docs. 1-4, 9-6. Huber is currently confined in the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Doc. 1.

On May 29, 2014, Huber filed his petition for writ of habeas corpus by a person in state custody pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota. Doc. 1. In his federal petition, Huber claims the same grounds for relief as he stated in his state habeas petition. Doc. 1 at 4-6. Huber did not offer any explanation why the one-year statute of ...


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