Garcia v. Commandant, USDB, No. 10-3027 (10th Cir. May 27, 2010).

Fernando Garcia was convicted after a guilty plea before a general court martial. He then sought habeas relief in federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, arguing that the military appellate courts failed to afford him adequate review of his Fourth Amendment claim based on Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006). Because we agree with the district court that the military courts gave this argument full and fair consideration, we affirm its denial of Mr. Garcia’s petition.

This was a guilty plea case.  NMCCA affirmed the conviction and held that Garcia waived the Randolph issue with his guilty plea.  CAAF denied his petition.  Had Garcia not plead guilty, he may have benefitted from Randolph which came out after his trial but during the course of appellate proceedings.  You will recollect that Randolph is the third-party consent to search case.

Mr. Garcia protests that it was unfair to find waiver in his case because he couldn’t have foreseen the decision in Randolph, which wasn’t decided until after he pled guilty. Accordingly, he contends Randolph should apply retroactively to his case despite his failure to raise the issue before the court martial and decision to plead guilty. But, again, Mr. Garcia thoroughly presented this argument to the military courts, even going so far as to urge adoption of a new rule explicitly permitting appellate review in such circumstances. Those courts found the argument without merit. The district court was thus correct to hold that it lacked authority to review Mr. Garcia’s claim any further. We affirm its denial of Mr. Garcia’s § 2241 habeas petition.

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