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Gardner v. State

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

October 21, 2015

BRYANT GARDNER, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF NEBRASKA, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Laurie Smith Camp Chief United States District Judge

This matter is before the Court on preliminary review of Petitioner Bryant Gardner’s Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Filing No. 8) brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The purpose of this review is to determine whether Petitioner’s claims, when liberally construed, are potentially cognizable in federal court. Condensed and summarized for clarity, Petitioner’s claims are:

Claim One: The trial court imposed an excessive sentence in violation of Petitioner’s rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. (Filing No. 8 at ECF 7.)
Claim Two: Petitioner received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel because he: (a) instructed Petitioner to “stand mute” at sentencing; (b) failed to fully discuss the contents of the presentence investigation report with Petitioner; (c) failed to correct inaccuracies within the presentence investigation report; and (d) failed to point out mitigating factors at sentencing, including a medical report that reflected Petitioner suffered from a traumatic brain injury. (Filing No. 8 at ECF 10-11.)

The Court determines that these claims, when liberally construed, are potentially cognizable in federal court. However, the Court cautions Petitioner that no determination has been made regarding the merits of these claims or any defenses to them or whether there are procedural bars that will prevent Petitioner from obtaining the relief sought. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that:

1. Upon initial review of Petitioner’s amended habeas corpus petition (Filing No. 8), the Court preliminarily determines that Petitioner’s claims, as they are set forth in this Memorandum and Order, are potentially cognizable in federal court.

2. The clerk of the court is directed to mail copies of this Memorandum and Order and the amended habeas corpus petition to Respondent and the Nebraska Attorney General by regular first-class mail.

3. By December 4, 2015, Respondent must file a motion for summary judgment or state court records in support of an answer. The clerk of the court is directed to set a pro se case management deadline in this case using the following text: December 4, 2015: deadline for Respondent to file state court records in support of answer or motion for summary judgment.

4. If Respondent elects to file a motion for summary judgment, the following procedures must be followed by Respondent and Petitioner:

A. The motion for summary judgment must be accompanied by a separate brief, submitted at the time the motion is filed.
B. The motion for summary judgment must be supported by any state court records that are necessary to support the motion. Those records must be contained in a separate filing entitled: “Designation of State Court Records in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment.” C. Copies of the motion for summary judgment, the designation, including state court records, and Respondent’s brief must be served on Petitioner except that Respondent is only required to provide Petitioner with a copy of the specific pages of the record that are cited in Respondent’s brief. In the event that the designation of state court records is deemed insufficient by Petitioner, Petitioner may file a motion with the Court requesting additional documents. Such motion must set forth the documents requested and the reasons the documents are relevant to the cognizable claims.
D. No later than 30 days following the filing of the motion for summary judgment, Petitioner must file and serve a brief in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Petitioner may not submit other documents unless directed to do so by the Court.
E. No later than 30 days after Petitioner’s brief is filed, Respondent must file and serve a reply brief. In the event that Respondent elects not to file a reply brief, he should inform the Court by filing a notice stating that he will not file a reply brief and that the motion is therefore fully submitted for decision.
F. If the motion for summary judgment is denied, Respondent must file an answer, a designation and a brief that complies with terms of this order. (See the following paragraph.) The documents must be filed no later than 30 days after the denial of the motion for summary judgment. Respondent is warned that failure to file an answer, a designation and a brief in a ...

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