United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. MELGREN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Petitioner Randall Murray's Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1) seeking post-conviction
relief. For the following reasons, Murray's petition is
Factual and Procedural Background
is currently serving concurrent sentences of life and 15
years to life at Ellsworth Correctional Facility. In 1983,
Murray was convicted in Wyandotte County, Kansas of first
degree felony murder and aggravated robbery. Prior to trial,
Murray's counsel filed a motion to determine competency
under K.S.A. § 22-3302(1). The district judge found
"good cause" to grant the motion and ordered Dr.
William Reese to evaluate Murray's ability to stand
trial. Dr. Reese examined Murray and wrote in his report that
Murray was competent; however, the record does not show the
trial court held the required post-examination competency
hearing. Nevertheless, the criminal case proceeded to trial
where the jury convicted Murray. The Kansas Supreme Court
affirmed Murray's conviction and sentence on direct
the next couple decades, Murray filed a series of habeas
corpus motions under K.S.A. § 60-1507 in state court.
Murray filed his first § 60-1507 motion in the mid-1980s
and raised an ineffective assistance of counsel claim that
was rejected by the district judge in an unpublished opinion.
In 2003, Murray filed a second § 60-1507, which was
likewise rejected. In 2005, more than twenty years after his
conviction, Murray filed a third § 60-1507 motion. This
motion was the first time Murray mentioned his competency at
trial, and the issue was only raised in a peripheral manner.
Once again, the district court dismissed Murray's claim,
the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Kansas Supreme
Court denied review.
in August 2008, Murray filed a motion with this Court for the
first time, seeking federal habeas corpus relief under 28
U.S.C. § 2254. Murray sought relief on the basis of the
state court's failure to hold a competency hearing.
However, because Murray never directly raised the competency
issue in any of his habeas motions in state court, the Court
dismissed Murray's petition without prejudice for failing
to exhaust available state court remedies.
then returned to state court where he filed a motion to
correct an illegal sentence pursuant to K.S.A. §
22-3504(1). Murray's motion was based on the trial
judge's failure to hold a competency hearing. The
district court summarily dismissed the motion-however, on
appeal the Kansas Supreme Court reversed and remanded for an
evidentiary hearing to determine if Murray did or did not
receive the post-examination competency hearing.
remand, the state trial court concluded: "(1) a
competency hearing had not been conducted; (2) a
retrospective competency hearing was feasible; and (3) Murray
had been competent when tried and
convicted." The court found Murray to be competent
relying largely on Dr. Reese's written record from his
examination of Murray. Once again, Murray appealed to the
Kansas Supreme Court. He argued the district court exceeded
the Kansas Supreme Court's instructions by conducting a
retrospective competency hearing and, in the alternative,
that the district court incorrectly determined a
retrospective competency hearing was feasible.
Supreme Court rejected both of Murray's arguments and
upheld the conviction. The Supreme Court first held that the
district court did not exceed the instructions on remand.
Additionally, the Supreme Court held "the district court
did not err in determining the retrospective competency
hearing could rectify the procedural due process error in
Murray's underlying case."
exhausted his available state court remedies, Murray filed a
second § 2254 petition with this Court. Pursuant to Rule
4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, this Court
issued a screening order on October 31, 2016. This Court held
that Murray's § 2254 petition is governed by the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
("AEDPA"), which contains a one-year statute of
limitations. For criminal convictions that occurred
prior to the AEDPA's enactment-which is the case here-the
one-year limitations period begins to run when the AEDPA went
into effect, which was April 24, 1996.
Court held that Murray is not entitled to statutory tolling
and that "it plainly appears" Murray's §
2254 claim is barred by the statute of limitations.
Nevertheless, this Court ordered the parties to answer
special questions before ruling on Murray's petition,
including whether the statute of limitations should have a
later start date due to newly discovered evidence or whether
the statute of limitations should be equitably
requested an evidentiary hearing with the Court. However,
"an evidentiary hearing is unnecessary if the claim can
be resolved on the record." In this case, Murray's
claims can be resolved based on the state records, so an
evidentiary hearing is unnecessary.
Statute of Limitations
Court considers whether Murray's § 2254 petition is
timely. As this Court previously stated, Murray's §
2254 petition is barred by the statute of limitations unless
the start date for the statute of limitations can be
postponed or equitably tolled. Under 28 U.S.C. §