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Moss v. Cline

United States District Court, D. Kansas

September 16, 2019

DEWAYNE MOSS, Petitioner,
v.
SAM CLINE, Warden, Lansing Correctional Facility, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ERIC F. MELGREN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Petitioner DeWayne Moss's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1) seeking post-conviction relief. Moss has also filed two Motions to Amend Judgment (Docs. 22 & 23).[1] For the following reasons, the Court denies Moss's petition.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background[2]

         In 1991 Moss was convicted of attempted rape in the Circuit Court of Lafayette County, Missouri. Following his release from custody, Moss was residing in Douglas County, Kansas in October 2009. During that time, he was not in the custody of a correctional facility and was not receiving inpatient treatment at any treatment facility. As such, Kansas notified Moss in October 2012 that he must register under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (“KORA”). Moss began registering in Kansas in October 2009 and continued to register through 2012.

         In March 2013, Moss failed to register in Kansas as a sex offender and was subsequently prosecuted in Douglas County District Court. On September 17, 2014, Moss was convicted of one count of Aggravated Violation of the Kansas Offender Registration Act, in violation of K.S.A. § 22-4903(b), two counts of Violation of the Kansas Offender Registration Act in violation of K.S.A. § 22- 4903(a), and one count of Failure to Pay Offender Registration Fees, in violation of K.S.A. § 22-4903(a). After granting Moss's motion for a downward dispositional departure, the Douglas County District Court sentenced him to 36 months' probation with an underlying prison term of 102 months. Moss appealed, and the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions and sentence.[3] Moss then appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, which denied review.

         On December 29, 2017, Moss filed a motion for post-conviction relief under K.S.A. § 60-1507 (state law habeas corpus) in Douglas County District Court. The district court denied relief and Moss did not appeal. In November 2018, Moss petitioned this Court for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He also filed two Motions to Amend Judgment on June 7 and 11, 2019. However, in these additional motions, Moss simply reiterated prior habeas corpus claims without stating additional grounds for relief.[4]

         II. Legal Standard

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 2254 - Writ of Habeas Corpus

         The Court's consideration of a state prisoner's collateral attacks on state criminal proceedings is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), which “requires federal courts to give significant deference to state court decisions.”[5] The Court can only grant relief to a petitioner's claim that has been decided on the merits in state court if the state decision: (1) “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, ” or (2) “resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.”[6]

         A state court decision is contrary to Supreme Court precedent when: (1) “the state court applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [a United States Supreme Court case]” or (2) “the state court confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the United States Supreme] Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [Supreme Court] precedent.”[7] A state court's decision is an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent if “the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme Court's] decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.”[8] Thus, this Court may not issue a writ of habeas corpus simply because it “concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly. Rather, that application must also be unreasonable.”[9]

         III. Analysis

         Although it is not entirely clear from his petition, Moss appears to assert four claims for relief under § 2254. Moss's first claim for relief is that the plain language of KORA does not require him to register as a sex offender in Kansas. His second claim is that Kansas misinterpreted the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 14071 in enacting and implementing KORA. Moss's third claim for relief is that Kansas violated the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) by requiring him to register under KORA. Lastly, Moss's fourth claim is that Kansas violated the Missouri constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws by requiring him to register under KORA for a crime committed in Missouri prior to KORA's enactment. The Court will address each of these claims in turn.

         Moss first claims that KORA does not require him to register as a sex offender. The Kansas Court of Appeals addressed and rejected this claim. The Court can only grant relief to a petitioner's claim that has been decided on the merits in state court if the state decision: (1) “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, ” or (2) “resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.”[10] Moss cannot point to any clearly established United States Supreme Court precedent that undermines the state court decision. Nor does Moss allege any unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented at trial. As such, the Court declines to review this claim since it deals solely with an issue of state law for which federal habeas corpus law does not provide relief.[11]

         Moss's second and third claims are related, so the Court will address them together. Moss claims that Kansas misinterpreted the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 14071 in enacting and implementing KORA.[12] However, 42 U.S.C. § 14701-also known as the Jacob Wetterling Act- was repealed in 2006, well before Moss violated his obligation to register under KORA in 2013. Congress replaced the Jacob Wetterling Act with SORNA, which Moss also claims that Kansas violated by requiring him to register under KORA. However, Moss failed to exhaust state court remedies regarding these issues. “In order to obtain federal habeas corpus relief, a state prisoner must first exhaust the remedies available in the state courts.”[13] This requirement is satisfied if the issues have been presented to the ...


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