15 F.3d 1538 (10th Cir. 1994), 93-5123, Harris v. Champion

Docket Nº:93-5123, 93-5209.
Citation:15 F.3d 1538
Party Name:Anthony Jerome HARRIS, Gary Middaugh, Theodore Ford, Doyle King, Randy Meyer, Terry Crisp, Michael Farmer, John Honeycutt, Coy Hill, Troy Brown, Deems Rowell, Gordon Bunton, Adam Wright, Robert Manous, Kimball Foreman, Joe Headrick, Terry Steward, Arthur Blackmon, James Smith, Stephen Ross, Johnny Smith, Larry Brown, Walter Robinson, Roger Williams
Case Date:January 26, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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15 F.3d 1538 (10th Cir. 1994)

Anthony Jerome HARRIS, Gary Middaugh, Theodore Ford, Doyle

King, Randy Meyer, Terry Crisp, Michael Farmer, John

Honeycutt, Coy Hill, Troy Brown, Deems Rowell, Gordon

Bunton, Adam Wright, Robert Manous, Kimball Foreman, Joe

Headrick, Terry Steward, Arthur Blackmon, James Smith,

Stephen Ross, Johnny Smith, Larry Brown, Walter Robinson,

Roger Williams, Kenneth Owens, Marshall Gee, Kelly Craig,

Gilbert Payne, Danny Green, Calvin Eslick, Paul Rogers,

Michael Smith, Nathaniel Jackson, Johnny Romo, Jeffery Lea,

Johnny Davis, Chester Watkins, Ricky Wyatt, Aron Cox, Nero

Tecumseh, Joseph Osborne, Joseph Dicesare, William Knittel,

James McClain, Eddie Coats, Walter Bowers, Huey Hall, Ronnie

Moore, Shane Boggs, Willie Taylor, Clarence Bramlett, Bruce

Hill, Larry Ives, Donald Myles, Kevin Cole, Larry Crawley,

Edward Teichman, Keith Larkins, Leonard Goudeau, Joel

Vanscoy, Robert Richards, Michael Broadnax, Rufus McGee,

Kyle Cheadle, Steve Seitz, Timothy Whipkey, Adrian Collins,

William Severe, Robert Brixey, Kevin Parker, Lloyd Harjo,

Kenneth Burrell, Louis Washington, David Copple, Fred Cook,

Robert Schneider, Joel Allen, Boyce Vandenburg, Jerry

Stiles, Tony Abney, Jackie L. Adair, Robert Anderson,

Ascension Armendariz, Larry Bailey, Charles Barnett, Rogelio

Bege, J.C. Berry, Lavern Berryhill, Perry Biffle, Jackie

Blanton, Douglas Breeden, Gregory Brians, Arthur Brown,

Bobby Bruce, Derek Burger, Larry Butcher, John Byrd, James

Cagle, Clifford Campbell, Douglas Capps, Gerald Carroll,

Toriano Chandler, Joe Chase, Clyde Chuculate, Joseph Cloud,

Johnny Cole, Pam Colley, Ronald D. Copper, Dennis Cornell,

Cyndi Cornell, Germaine Crawford, Rickie Crisp, James Crow,

Gerald Daniels, Brian Daniels, Richard Demes, Ronnie Dial,

Alfonso Duran, Larry Edwards, Andrew Ephriam, James L.

Evans, J.W. Fatherree, Lance Foster, Donnie Joe Frye, Dennis

Gaines, Louis Gibson, Ronnie Gilmore, James Godbey, Forest

Golbek, Jerry Graham, Lantze Green, Bryan Griffin, James

Hamilton, David P. Hammer, Lauren Hankins, Eual Hardt,

Michael Hayes, Randy Henderson, Eldon Henderson, Andrea

Hester, Archie Hill, Dewayne Holland, Harold Holman, Thomas

Honeycutt, Michael Houston, C. Huffstutler, Keith Hunt,

Dorris Jackson, Napoleon James, Willie Jemison, Allen Jones,

Allen Kaulaity, Jeffery King, Robert Kluver, Fred Knisley,

Millard Knox, Clarence Landreth, Bernard Lawson, Odis

Lawson, Jr., Qunion Leigh, Frank Logan, Laura Long, Joseph

Lyda, Brian Maffee, McKinley Mahan, Patrick Martin, Elijah

Martin, Leobardo Martinez, Barry McClure, Glenn McGuire,

Patrick Meadows, Juan Mercado, Walter Miller, Jackie Miller,

Larry Mills, Gary Minard, William Moore, Abdullah Muhammad,

Darphus Murray, Steven Ness, George Nichols, Michael Norman,

James Northcross, Richard Olsen, Carmen Patton, Dixie

Pebworth, Roger Peterman, Rick Petrick, Gregory Poe, William

P. Potts, Michael Prater, James Price, Steven Pyles, Nillson

Ramirez, Christopher Ransom, Hazen Ray, Terry Reeves,

Kenneth Reynolds, Terrance Richards, Eddie Richie, Michael

Riggs, T.J. Roby, Arthur Rodriguez, Victor Rose, Kenneth L.

Russell, David Russell, David Sadler, Samuel Sanner, William

Sherburn, Monty Shockey, Mary Shoffner, Wayne Shull, Donald

Sibit, Canova Singleton, John Smith, Danny Smith, Terry

Smith, Michael S. Smith, Anthony Steele, Richard Stone,

Thomas Strother, Jamie Struble, H. Stumblingbear, Sherman

Surface, Stacey Sutton, Stephen Thomas, David Thomas, Jon

Tibet, Johnny Tilley, Roscoe Tilley, Lyman Tomlin, Floyd R.

Turner, Cheryl Wagner, Larry Walker, Michael Walling, Walter

Walters, Warren Ward, Leslie Warledo, Johnny Washington,

Orland Wasson, Joseph Watkins, Thomas Weaver, Andrew West,

Jack Whitlock, Robert Whittier, Billy D. Wilkins, Tyrone

Williams, Marty Williams, Jack Williams, Thurman Wilson,

Donald Wilson, Willie Wilson, Randy Wood, Kevin Wood Sr.,

Robert Woods, Billie Woolsey, Charles Wooten, Galen Wooten,

Sharlene Workman, Coy Yocham, Floyd Zeigler, Floyd Harris,

Roosevelt McCoy, Gregory Mundine, Donald O'Shields, Gerald

Thompson, Terry P. Crow, Brian Leroy Jordan, Terry Lynn

Rhine, Leron Robinson, Carol Ann Pierce, Richard Lee

Johnson, Robert M. Estrada, David Richard,



Ron CHAMPION, Steve Hargett, Stephen Kaiser, Bobby Boone,

Dan Reynolds, Joy Hadwiger, R. Michael Cody, Edward Evans,

R. Jack Cowley, Neville Massie, H.N. Scott, Sue Frank,

Denise Spears, Earl Allen, Jim Sorrels, Wardens, and all

other Wardens of Correctional Facilities of the State of

Oklahoma having custody of any of the Plaintiffs; the

Oklahoma Department of Corrections; Gary Maynard, the

Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections; the

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals; the Judges of the

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, to-wit, Honorable James

F. Lane, Honorable Gary L. Lumpkin, Honorable Tom Brett,

Honorable Ed H. Parks, and Honorable Charles A. Johnson;

the State of Oklahoma; the Oklahoma Indigent Defense

System; Henry A. (Hank) Meyer, III, Chairman, Richard Reeh,

Doug Parr, Richard James, and Becky Pfefferbaum, M.D.,

individually and as Members of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense

System Board; Patti Palmer, individually and as Executive

Director of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System; and, E.

Alvin Schay, individually and as Appellate Indigent

Defender, i.e., Chief Administrative Officer of the Oklahoma

Appellate Indigent Defender Division,


Nos. 93-5123, 93-5209.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

January 26, 1994

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David Booth of R. Thomas Seymour, Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Petitioners-Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Diane L. Slayton, Assistant Attorney General (Susan B. Loving, Attorney General of Oklahoma, with her on the brief), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Warden Respondents-Defendants-Appellees.

J. Warren Jackman (William A. Caldwell, with him on the brief), of Pray, Walker, Jackman, Williamson & Marlar, Tulsa, Oklahoma (and Gary Peterson, with him on the brief, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), for Oklahoma Indigent Defense System Respondents-Defendants-Appellees.

John M. Imel (John E. Rooney, Jr., with him on the brief), of Moyers, Martin, Santee, Imel & Tetrick, Tulsa, Oklahoma (and Gail L. Wettstein, with him on the brief, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), for Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Respondents-Defendants-Appellees.

Before LOGAN, BRORBY, and EBEL, Circuit Judges.

EBEL, Circuit Judge.

These consolidated habeas appeals, which come to us after our remand in Harris v. Champion, 938 F.2d 1062 (10th Cir.1991) (Harris I ), require us to revisit the problem of appellate delay in the Oklahoma criminal justice system. In Harris I, we ruled that the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma should have excused an Oklahoma prisoner's failure to exhaust his state remedies before seeking federal habeas relief in light of extensive delay by the state public defender in filing an opening brief in the prisoner's direct criminal appeal. 938 F.2d at 1065-66, 1071. We remanded the action to the district court and directed it to investigate the possibility of systematic delay in the filing of briefs by the Oklahoma Appellate Public Defender System (Public Defender). 1 Id. at 1071. In a subsequent opinion, we expanded the scope of inquiry on remand to include a consideration of the entire criminal appellate process in Oklahoma insofar as it contributes to delay in deciding direct criminal appeals of indigent defendants. Hill v. Reynolds, 942 F.2d 1494, 1496-97 (10th Cir.1991). We now consider the results of the district court's rulings on remand.

In this opinion we are called upon to address several issues arising out of the delay in processing petitioners' direct criminal appeals, including whether petitioners must exhaust their state remedies before seeking habeas relief in federal court and whether the delays in the state appellate process have violated petitioners' rights to due process, equal protection, or effective assistance of counsel. The record before us shows that many of these petitioners, all of whom are indigent and were represented by the Public Defender in their direct criminal appeals, had to wait three or more years before a brief was filed on their behalf in their respective direct criminal appeals. Some petitioners also experienced delays elsewhere in the appellate process.

The following is a brief synopsis of our opinion, which begins with the issue of exhaustion. We conclude that there is a rebuttable presumption that the State's process is not effective and, therefore, need not be exhausted, if a direct criminal appeal has been pending for more than two years without final action by the State. This two-year presumptive period is not inflexible: the particular circumstances of a case may warrant excusing exhaustion after a delay of less than two years as, for example, when the length of the sentence is considered or when there is an obvious and massive breakdown in the procedural development of the appeal; alternatively, circumstances may warrant refusing to excuse exhaustion even after a delay of more than two years.

Next, we consider whether appellate...

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