Saenz v. Lumpkin, Civil Action 7:21-CV-309

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
Docket NumberCivil Action 7:21-CV-309
Decision Date23 May 2022

DANIEL “DANNY” SAENZ, TDCJ #00670646, Petitioner,


Civil Action No. 7:21-CV-309

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Mcallen Division

May 23, 2022



Petitioner, Daniel Saenz, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, initiated this action in August of 2021 by filing a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Dkt. No. 1.) This case was referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). On February 9, 2022, Respondent filed Respondent Lumpkin's Motion for Summary Judgment with Brief in Support (“Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment”). (Dkt. No. 8.) On March 3,2022, Petitioner filed a response to Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment (“Petitioner's Response”) (Dkt. No. 11). On April 21, 2022, after receiving certain state court documents upon his request, Petitioner filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. No. 14).

Petitioner seeks review of being found guilty by a jury in the 93rd District Court, Hidalgo County, Texas, for committing murder, and his subsequent sentence to 30 years' imprisonment.


See Dkt. No. 1; In the Matter of D.S., a Child, 833 S.W.2d 250, 251 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1992, writ denied). Petitioner seeks review at this stage based on four grounds. First, that his due process rights were violated when (1) Petitioner's punishment was increased beyond what was prescribed at the time Petitioner committed his crime, and (2) Petitioner was not advised at his parole revocation hearing that he could forfeit “street-time” credits. (Dkt. No. 1 at 5.) Second, that Petitioner was subjected to an ex post facto violation when he forfeited his “street-time” credits upon revocation of his parole release. Id. at 7. Third, that by only allowing some prisoners to qualify for “street-time” credits, Petitioner's rights under the Equal Protection Clause were violated. Id. at 8. And last, Petitioner's Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment was violated when (1) he received excessive punishment and forfeited “street-time” credits, and (2) his parole was delayed, claiming his sentence has been discharged. Id. at 10.

Respondent argues Petitioner's claims should be dismissed, because Petitioner has not exhausted his state court remedies before bringing this federal writ pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). (Dkt. No. 8 at 5.) Petitioner claims he did exhaust his state court remedies by filing a habeas petition in the state juvenile district court where Petitioner's trial was held. (Dkt. No. 11 at 1.)

After carefully reviewing the filings, record, and relevant law, and for the reasons set forth below, the claims are not ripe for review as Petitioner has not exhausted his state remedies; therefore, the undersigned recommends Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 8) be GRANTED. It is further recommended that Petitioner's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. No. 14), to the extent that it is a cross motion for summary judgment, be DENIED, Petitioner's § 2254 petition (Dkt. No. 1) be DENIED, and this cause of action be DISMISSED without prejudice.


Finally, it is further recommended that the District Court DECLINE to issue a Certificate of Appealability in this matter.


I. Criminal Prosecution and Procedural History a. Allegations & Circumstances of Prosecution

In 1991, based on a jury's verdict, Petitioner was found to be a child who “engaged in delinquent conduct that included a violation of a penal law listed in Texas Family Code § 53.045(a), to-wit: murder.” (Dkt. No. 9-5 at 35-38 (Judgment); see also Dkt. No. 9-5 at 22-24 (Jury Verdict).)[1] And, based on the verdict, the district court found that Petitioner was “in need of rehabilitation and protection of the public or Respondent requires that a disposition be made.” (Dkt. No. 9-5 at 36.) On August 22, 1991, the district court ordered Petitioner to be committed to the Texas Youth Commission with a transfer to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”), Institutional Division for a term not to exceed 30 years. Id.

The Judgment of the Juvenile Court appropriately summarized the facts of the prosecution against Petitioner as follows[2]:

1. The Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ, and the victim, Rogelio Cantu Solis were friends
2. The Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ, planned and deliberated on the killing o [sic] the victim, Rogelio Cantu Solis
3. The Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ, drove the victim, Rogelio Cantu Solis, to an isolated area in Hidalgo County, Texas and abandoned the victim's body.
4. The Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ, initially denied knowing the whereabouts of the victim, Rogelio Cantu Solis, and later admitted killing the victim.
5. The Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ, used a knife to kill the victim Rogelio Cantu Solis, by stabbing the victim twice.
6. There was no provocation by the victim, Rogelio Cantu Solis, and no defensive wounds or injuries on the Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ.
7. The reputation of the Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ, for being peaceful and law abiding is bad.
8. The Respondent, DANIEL SAENZ, needs a highly structured environment with constant supervision and control.

(Dkt. No. 9-5 at 38 (Attachment “A”, incorporated as part of the Judgment).) Petitioner subsequently appealed the conviction. On May 28,1992, the Court of Appeals of Texas, Corpus Christi-Edinburg, affirmed said conviction and judgment. In the Matter of D.S., 833 S.W.2d at 255. Subsequently, on June 23, 1994, the trial court issued an Order formally transferring Petitioner to TDCJ to serve the remainder of his 30-year sentence. (Dkt. No. 9-5 at 62-63.)

Saenz was released from TDCJ custody to parole on April 10, 2012. (Dkt. No. 8-1 (Exhibit A (Certificate of Parole)); Dkt. No. 9-5 at 119.) However, Petitioner's parole was revoked on February 18, 2020. (Dkt. No. 8-2 (Exhibit B (Revocation Hearing Results)); Dkt. No. 9-5 at 119-20.) Pursuant to Texas Government Code § 508.149(a)(2) and § 508.283(b), Petitioner was not eligible for “street-time” credit because he was serving a sentence for murder at the time of his parole revocation. See Dkt. No. 9-5 at 35-38. Thus,. Petitioner forfeited the six years, five months, and eight days he spent on parole supervision. Id. at 119-20.[3]


Following his parole revocation, Petitioner submitted a Time Dispute Resolution Form (TDR), which the TDCJ received on March 31, 2020. Id. at 120. On May 5, 2020, this TDR was denied, stating “HB1649 went into effect 09/1/2001. You are not eligible for street time.”[4]Id.

b. Habeas Appeal[5]

On August 11, 2020, Petitioner filed a state application for writ of habeas corpus under article 11.07 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure in the 93rd District Court of Hidalgo County.[6] (Dkt. No. 9-5 at 84-100.) On September 25, 2020, the State filed its initial response noting that the issue may be resolved by having the Office of the General Counsel for TDCJ provide relevant documentary evidence regarding Petitioner's parole proceedings. Id. at 102-05.[7]On November 4, 2020, the Hidalgo County District Court entered an Order Designating Issues (“ODI”), directing the Office of General Counsel, TDCJ, to file an affidavit responding to Petitioner's state writ application, which related to parol jail time credit, and “street-time” credit. Id. at 109-12. On December 2, 2020, Angela Nation, Section Director for Review and Release


Processing, TDCJ, Parole Division, and Charley Valdez, Program Supervisor III for Classification and Records, TDCJ, Correction Institutions Division, filed affidavit testimony in compliance with the court's ODI, along with supporting documents of the revocation proceedings. Id. at 118-25. On December 18, 2020, the State filed its supplemental written response addressing the merits of Petitioner's claims in his habeas writ application, along with the affidavits and exhibits of Angela Nation and Charlie Valdez, as well as the State's proposed findings. Id. at 170-235.[8] In summary, the State argued Petitioner was not eligible for “street-time” credit from his time on parole since Petitioner had been convicted of murder under section 19.02 of the Texas Penal Code. Id. at 174-75 (citing in support of decision Tex. Gov't Code §§ 508.149(a)(2), 508.283(c)).

On December 18, 2020, the trial court filed its “Findings of Facts, Conclusions of Law, Recommendation, and Order,” recommending Petitioner be denied relief and ordering the Clerk to forward the necessary records to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA). (Dkt. No. 9-5 at 240-46.) Within the Order, the trial court agreed with the State that Petitioner was not entitled to “street-time” credit pursuant to § 508.283(c). Id. at 244-45. On June 9, 2021, the TCCA dismissed the writ without written order, stating “Juvenile Matter.” (Dkt. No. 9-1.) On May 21, 2021, Petitioner submitted a letter to the Clerk of the Court of Criminal Appeals inquiring what “juvenile matter” meant and asking if Petitioner had violated the procedures under article 11.14. (Dkt. No. 9-2 at 1); see also Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 11.14 (setting forth requisites for a habeas petition.) On or about June 24, 2021, Petitioner filed a Motion for Re-Hearing, but it was dismissed June 30, 2021. (Dkt. No. 9-3.)


Next, Petitioner filed a federal habeas corpus petition on August 11, 2021; however, Petitioner placed the federal habeas petition into the prison mail system on August 9,2021.[9] (Dkt. No. 1 at 15.)

IL Summary of the Pleadings

Petitioner asserts four grounds in his § 2254 petition. (Dkt. No. 1.) First, that his due process rights were violated when (1) his punishment was increased beyond what was prescribed at the time Petitioner committed...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT