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Manley v. Butts

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 10, 2017

James E. Manley, Appellant-Petitioner,
v.
Keith Butts, Appellee-Respondent.

         Appeal from the Henry Circuit Court The Honorable Kit C. Dean Crane, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 33C02-1604-MI-37

          Appellant, pro se James E. Manley New Castle, Indiana.

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Aaron T. Craft Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana.

          Pyle, Judge.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] James E. Manley ("Manley"), pro se, appeals the Henry Circuit Court's order dismissing his petition for writ of state habeas corpus as an unauthorized successive petition for post-conviction relief. Manley contends that his petition was not an unauthorized successive petition for post-conviction relief and that, even if it were, the Henry Circuit Court should have transferred it to his court of conviction in Monroe County. Because Manley's habeas petition is challenging the validity of his convictions and sentence and because Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 1(1)(c) requires that, under such circumstances, a trial court is required to transfer the petition to the court where the petitioner was convicted, we reverse the Henry Circuit Court's dismissal of Manley's petition and instruct the trial court to transfer the petition to Manley's conviction court, the Monroe Circuit Court, where it shall be treated as a post-conviction petition.[1]

         [¶2] We reverse and remand with instructions.

         Issue

         Whether the trial court erred by dismissing Manley's state habeas corpus petition as an unauthorized successive petition for post-conviction relief.

         Facts

         [¶3] In 1997, Manley was convicted, in Monroe County, of two counts of Class A felony child molesting and two counts of Class B felony child molesting for acts committed against his daughter. The Monroe Circuit Court sentenced Manley to an aggregate term of fifty-five (55) years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

         [¶4] Thereafter, Manley filed a direct appeal, and this Court affirmed his convictions in a memorandum opinion in 1999. See Manley v. State, 53A04-9806-CR-333 (Ind.Ct.App. Feb. 18. 1999). He then appealed from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in 2001, and we affirmed that judgment as well. See Manley v. State, 53A01-0103-PC-107 (Ind.Ct.App. Aug. 28, 2001) (holding, in part, that Manley had waived his constitutional challenges to the child molesting statute because he had failed to raise the issue in a motion to dismiss prior to trial).

         [¶5] In 2004 and again in 2006, Manley filed, with this Court, petitions seeking permission to file a successive post-conviction petition, and our Court denied both of his requests. In 2007, he appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to modify his sentence, and we affirmed the trial court's judgment. See Manley v. State, 868 N.E.2d 1175 (Ind.Ct.App. 2007), trans. denied.

         [¶6] A few years later, in 2014, Manley appealed from the denial of a motion for relief from judgment that he had filed in the Monroe Circuit Court. After noting that Manley had already litigated a petition for post-conviction relief, that he had failed to follow the procedure set forth in Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 1(12), and that his motion equated to an unauthorized successive petition for post-conviction relief, we ...


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