Edgar W. Friedrichs, Jr. v. David Ballard, Warden (Memorandum Decision)
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STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS
Edgar W. Friedrichs, Jr.,
Petitioner Below, Petitioner
June 22, 2012
RORY L. PERRY II, CLERK
SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS
OF WEST VIRGINIA
vs) No. 11-0564 (Fayette County 10-C-93)
David Ballard, Warden,
Respondent Below, Respondent
Petitioner Edgar W. Friedrichs, Jr., by counsel, Jeffery T. Mauzy, appeals from the Fayette
County Circuit Court’s order entered on August 3, 2010, that denied his pro se petition for postconviction habeas corpus relief without an evidentiary hearing. The State of West Virginia, by
counsel, Thomas W. Rodd, has filed its response on behalf of Respondent, Warden David Ballard.
Petitioner filed a reply.
On January 30, 2002, petitioner was convicted by a jury on one count of first degree sexual
abuse and three counts of sexual abuse by a custodian. Petitioner’s direct appeal from his criminal
convictions was refused by the Court. Petitioner filed his pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus
in circuit court on April 1, 2010. Petitioner appeals the denial of his habeas petition and argues that
the circuit court erred in failing to hold an evidentiary hearing; in denying his motion to appoint
habeas counsel; and in failing to address ten of the twenty-three grounds for relief raised in his
habeas petition. Petitioner seeks a reversal of the circuit court’s decision and a remand for further
This Court has considered the parties’ briefs and the record on appeal. The facts and legal
arguments are adequately presented on appeal, and the decisional process would not be significantly
aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of the standard of review, the briefs, and the record
presented, the Court finds no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error in regard to
petitioner’s first two assignments of error – the circuit court’s decision not to hold an evidentiary
hearing and its denial of petitioner’s motion for appointment of habeas counsel. Therefore, those two
issues will be disposed of in this memorandum decision as contemplated under Rule 21 of the
Revised Rules of Appellate Procedure. Regarding petitioner’s third assignment of error – that the
circuit court failed to rule on ten of petitioner’s grounds for relief, we remand this case for further
“In reviewing challenges to the findings and conclusions of the circuit court in a habeas
corpus action, we apply a three-prong standard of review. We review the final order and the ultimate
disposition under an abuse of discretion standard; the underlying factual findings under a clearly
erroneous standard; and questions of law are subject to a de novo review.” Syl. Pt. 1, Mathena v.
Haines, 219 W. Va. 417, 633 S.E.2d 771 (2006).
In regard to the circuit court’s decision not to hold an evidentiary hearing and its denial of
petitioner’s motion to appoint counsel, we have stated that,
“[a] court having jurisdiction over habeas corpus proceedings may deny a petition for
a writ of habeas corpus without a hearing and without appointing counsel for the
petitioner if the petition, exhibits, affidavits or other documentary evidence filed
therewith show to such court’s satisfaction that the petitioner is entitled to no relief.”
Syllabus Point 1, Perdue v. Coiner, 156 W.Va. 467, 194 S.E.2d 657 (1973).
Syl. Pt. 2, White v. Haines, 215 W.Va. 698, 601 S.E.2d 18 (2004). In its August 3, 2010, order, the
circuit court noted that it had reviewed the complete contents of the court file, the habeas petition,
the underlying criminal case file, the trial transcripts, and the transcripts of all pre-trial and post-trial
hearings. The circuit court added that it had presided over the jury trial in petitioner’s underlying
criminal case and was thoroughly familiar with the case. Accordingly, with the above-stated standard
in mind, we cannot say that the circuit court abused its discretion in denying petitioner’s motion for
appointment of habeas counsel or in choosing to rule on petitioner’s habeas petition absent an
In regard to petitioner’s third assignment of error – that the circuit court failed to rule on ten
of the twenty-three grounds for relief raised in his habeas petition – we remand solely in that regard.
The circuit court’s August 3, 2010, does indeed address only thirteen of petitioner’s twenty-three
grounds for relief. That said, the order in regard to those thirteen issues is extremely thorough, wellreasoned, and supported by the law and the record. Therefore, we believe it likely that, for whatever
reason, the circuit court did not receive the last twenty-five pages of the petition which contain the
discussion of the ten grounds that were not addressed.
For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the circuit court’s August 3, 2010, order and remand the
case to the circuit court with instructions to rule on the remaining ten issues.
For the foregoing reasons, we affirm in part and remand in part.
Affirmed in part and remanded in part.
ISSUED: June 22, 2012
CONCURRED IN BY:
Chief Justice Menis E. Ketchum
Justice Robin Jean Davis
Justice Thomas E. McHugh
Justice Margaret L. Workman
Justice Brent D. Benjamin