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Hanson v. Baker

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 5, 2019

MARK A. HANSON, Petitioner,
v.
RENEE BAKER, et al., Respondents.

          ORDER GRANTING EMERGENCY MOTION TO RELEASE PETITIONER (ECF NO. 192)

          MIRANDA M. DU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In this habeas corpus action, this Court granted the petitioner, Mark A. Hanson, a conditional writ of habeas corpus on March 13, 2018. (ECF No. 180 (order); ECF No. 181 (judgment).) The judgment was stayed pending any appeal. (Id.)

         Respondents appealed, and on March 25, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment granting the writ. (ECF No.188 (Court of Appeals' Memorandum).) The Court of Appeals ordered that this Court “shall order Hanson released from custody within sixty days of the issuance of the mandate, unless, within that sixty-day period, the State files a written notice in the district court of its election to retry Hanson, and the State thereafter, within sixty days after the filing of that notice, actually commences Hanson's retrial.” (Id.) The Court of Appeals issued its mandate on April 16, 2019. (ECF No. 189.)

         The following day, April 17, 2019, this Court lifted the stay of this action, and reiterated the Court of Appeals' order, confirming that “the petitioner, Mark A. Hanson, shall be released from custody no later than Saturday, June 15, 2019, unless, no later than that date, the State files a written notice of its election to retry Hanson, and the State thereafter, within sixty (60) days after the filing of that notice, actually commences Hanson's retrial.” (ECF No. 191 (order entered April 17, 2019).)

         On May 30, 2019, Hanson filed an “Emergency Motion to Release Petitioner” (“Motion for Release”), requesting an order of this Court directing the Respondents to release Hanson from custody on or before June 15, 2019. (ECF No. 192.) The Court set an expedited briefing schedule regarding Hanson's motion. (ECF No. 193.) Respondents filed a response in opposition to the motion on June 3, 2019 (ECF No. 194), and Hanson replied on June 4, 2019 (ECF No. 195).

         In support of his Motion for Release, Hanson states the following factual background, which is supported by a declaration of counsel and exhibits (ECF Nos. 192-1, 192-2, 192-3, 192-4), and none of which is disputed by Respondents.

         Within two days after the Court of Appeals' ruling, the Elko County District Attorney reached out to Hanson's counsel about a resolution of the case. (ECF No. 192 at 2.) After negotiations, the State filed a Second Amended Criminal Information (“Criminal Information”), in Nevada's Fourth Judicial District Court, on April 15, 2019, charging Hanson with one count of voluntary manslaughter and one count of abuse or neglect of a child with substantial bodily harm, significantly lesser charges than the first-degree murder charge on which Hanson was convicted in 1999. (Id. at 2; ECF No. 192-2 (Criminal Information).) Also on April 15, the parties filed a plea agreement in the Fourth Judicial District Court. (See ECF No. 192 at 2; ECF No. 192-3 (No Contest Plea Agreement).) The plea agreement provides, in relevant part:

I hereby agree to enter a plea of Nolo Contendere (“No Contest”), pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970), to: one count of voluntary manslaughter, a violation of Nev. Rev. Stat § 200.050, a Category B felony; and one count of abuse, neglect or endangerment of a child resulting in substantial bodily harm, a violation of Nev. Rev. Stat § 200.508(1)(1)(2), a Category B felony.
My decision to plead no contest is based ... upon the plea agreement in this case, which is as follows:
In light of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming the federal district court's grant of habeas relief ... this Court will vacate my prior convictions and sentence in this case. the State will file an Amended Information charging me with the counts identified above. In exchange for my No. Contest pleas to each count, the parties will stipulate to a sentence of 48 to 120 months imprisonment on Count 1. The parties will stipulate to a sentence of 52 to 132 months on Count 2 consecutive to Count 1.
The parties stipulate to enter judgment from this plea nunc pro tunc to April 28, 1999 with credit for 463 days served. The parties stipulate that I have already served the maximum term of incarceration and I will be immediately paroled and discharged. It is the intentions of the parties that I be released from custody immediately.
This plea supersedes the original guilty verdict on the original charge of first-degree murder entered on April 28, 1999, pursuant to a jury trial.
The terms and conditions of the plea are conditional on this Court. If this Court rejects this negotiation, the parties will be returned to the position they were in prior to the entry of this plea.
At the time of my arraignment in district court, and prior to the entry of the plea of No. Contest contemplated by this agreement, the parties agree that I will inquire of the Court, in line with State v. Cripps, 122 Nev. 764 (2006), whether it will be inclined to limit its sentence to the agreement describe[d] above. Under Cripps, this Court must “indicate on the record whether the judge is inclined to follow a particular sentencing recommendation of the parties.” Should this Court “express an inclination to follow the parties' sentencing recommendation, the defendant must be ...

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