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.

Mattatall v. Wall

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

February 22, 2019

STEPHEN R. MATTATALL, Petitioner,
v.
ASHBEL T. WALL, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          William E. Smith, Chief Judge.

         Before the Court is the State of Rhode Island's Motion to Dismiss (“Mot. to Dismiss, ” ECF No. 3) Stephen R. Mattatall's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (“Petition, ” ECF No. 1). For the reasons stated herein, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and the Petition is DISMISSED without prejudice to being refiled if and when Mattatall receives permission from the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3), to do so.

         I. Background[1]

         In late 1984, a jury found Mattatall guilty of second-degree murder in Rhode Island Superior Court. He was sentenced to a term of forty years' imprisonment, with thirty to serve and ten suspended. An additional ten years was imposed under the applicable habitual offender statute. Mattatall successfully appealed the judgment to the Rhode Island Supreme Court and, after granting the State's certiorari petition, the United States Supreme Court vacated Mattatall's 1984 conviction and remanded the case to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. On reconsideration, the court affirmed its prior ruling and remanded the case for a new trial. A second trial held in Superior Court in 1987 ended in a mistrial. In 1988, a third jury trial resulted in a guilty verdict against Mattatall for murder in the second degree. He was sentenced to sixty years' imprisonment, with fifty to serve and ten suspended, plus an additional twenty years under the habitual offender statute.

         Mattatall appealed his 1988 judgment of conviction to the Rhode Island Supreme Court in 1989. The appeal was denied in 1991, after which Mattatall filed a petition for reargument. The Rhode Island Supreme Court granted the petition for reargument. At that time, Mattatall argued that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to warrant a conviction of second-degree murder, among other issues. In a lengthy order, the court denied Mattatall's appeal and affirmed his judgment of conviction. The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari.

         Mattatall states that he has filed a total of five post-conviction applications in the Rhode Island state courts. Three of these attacked his criminal convictions, and the other two apparently challenged decisions of the Rhode Island Parole Board.

         In 1997, Mattatall filed his first petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in this Court. The petition was denied because it was untimely filed, and, in 1999, the First Circuit denied Mattatall's motion for a certificate of appealability. The Supreme Court denied further review.

         In 2016, Mattatall filed a second § 2254 petition, which was dismissed by the Court as a second or successive petition. The First Circuit subsequently denied permission for Mattatall to file it in this Court.

         Mattatall has now filed a third Petition, which he titles “Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2241.” He alleges that he is “actually innocent” of second-degree murder and being deemed a habitual offender.[2] The State has moved to dismiss the Petition on two grounds: first, that the Petition is an impermissible second or successive petition; and, second, that it is time-barred. (Mot. to Dismiss 4-5.) The Court need not address the State's argument that the Petition is untimely, as the first ground is dispositive of the matter.

         II. Discussion

         As noted above, this Petition is the third Mattatall has filed seeking relief from his 1988 conviction. See Mattatall v. Vose, C.A. No. 97-515-ML (D.R.I. 1997); Mattatall v. Wall, C.A. No. 16-012-WES (D.R.I. 2016). Although styled as a § 2241 petition, in reality the Petition is properly considered an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to § 2254.

         Section 2254(a) provides, in relevant part, that:

[A] district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Section 2241, on the other hand, is the proper vehicle “when the petition attacks the execution, rather than the validity of the sentence.” Barr v. Sabol, 686 F.Supp.2d 131, 133 (D. Mass. 2010)(citing United States v. Barrett, 178 F.3d 34, 50 (1st Cir. 1990)); see also Francis v. Maloney, 798 F.3d 33, 36 (1st Cir. 2015)(‚ÄúSection 2241 . . . establishes a mechanism for a federal inmate who is ...


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.