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May v. Heimgartner

United States District Court, D. Kansas

June 16, 2017

WILLIAM D. MAY, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN JAMES HEIMGARTNER[1], Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          SAM A. CROW, U.S. SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is a petition for habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner proceeds pro se, and the Court grants leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         Screening Standards

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases Under Section 2254 requires the federal court to promptly examine a habeas petition and to dismiss the action where it “plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” The Court has examined the petition and enters the following order.

         Motion to appoint counsel

         Petitioner also moves for the appointment of counsel. An applicant for habeas corpus relief has no constitutional right to the appointment of counsel. See Swazo v. Wyo. Dept. of Corr., 23 F.3d 332, 333 (10th Cir. 1994)(“[T]here is no constitutional right to counsel beyond the appeal of a criminal conviction, and … generally appointment of counsel in a § 2254 proceeding is left to the court's discretion.”). Rather, the court may appoint counsel when “the interests of justice so require” for a petitioner who is financially eligible. See 18 U.S.C. §3006A (1)(2)(b). The court has studied the petition and concludes that the appointment of counsel is not warranted in this matter at the present stage of the proceedings.

         Background

         The Court adopts the factual and procedural background statements of this matter from two decisions entered by the Kansas Court of Appeals:

May had been living in the basement of the home of his elderly parents, Margaret and Doyle May, for several months. Late one night, while his parents were beginning to retire to bed, May entered their upstairs bedroom with his guitar and a beer. A verbal altercation began. There is some question as to the reason for it.
Police officers were dispatched to a physical disturbance at the Mays' home because May was allegedly ‘beating the hell out of' Doyle. When the officers arrived, Doyle was bleeding from his left ear. Although the cut was not serious, there was excessive blood as a result of Doyle taking a blood thinner medication, Coumadin. One officer testified that Doyle's shirt was ripped and the kitchen was splattered with blood. The Coumadin made it difficult for Doyle to stop bleeding. After the paramedics learned that Doyle was taking that medication, they attempted to take him to the hospital but he refused.
The officers arrested May. After the paramedics left the home, Doyle and Margaret watched television in bed. A few hours later, Doyle seemed to be disoriented and complained of a headache. He went to the restroom and collapsed. Margaret called 911. When paramedics arrived, Doyle was barely conscious. Doyle received several X-rays and CAT scans. He slipped into a coma, which had resulted from a subdural hematoma. Physicians explained to the family that Doyle would not likely recover from the coma. The following day, at the family's request, Doyle was removed from life support and died.

State v. May, 274 P.3d 46 (Table), 2012 WL 1352827 at *1 (Kan.Ct.App. Apr. 12, 2012), rev denied Apr. 8, 2013.

In December 2009, a jury convicted May of reckless second-degree murder of his father and misdemeanor domestic battery against his mother. The district court sentenced May to 138 months' imprisonment and 80 days in jail, with 36 months' postrelease supervision.
May filed a direct appeal arguing the district court (1) failed to give a voluntary intoxication instruction, (2) failed to give his proposed instruction on favoritism or sympathy, and (3) violated his constitutional rights under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2349, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000). [The Kansas Court of Appeals] affirmed May's convictions and sentences. State v. May, No. ...

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