United States District Court, D. Vermont
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (DOCS. 10, 17, 19, 20, 21,
23, 24, 26, 30) AND ORDER (DOCS. 15, 16, 22, 25, 39)
M. CONROY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Clinton Bedell, proceeding pro se, has filed a
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 seeking to vacate
his conviction for the sexual assault of a child. (Doc. 5.)
Respondent Lisa Menard has filed a Response. (Doc. 27.)
Presently before this Court are numerous dispositive and
non-dispositive motions filed by Bedell, several of which are
unintelligible. For the reasons set forth below, I recommend
that the dispositive motions filed by Bedell be DENIED.
(Docs. 10, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 30.) With regard to
Bedell's non-dispositive motions, (see Docs. 15,
16, 22, 25, 39), the Court DENIES the motions for the reasons
articulated below. The Court has requested briefing on the
application of the one-year statute of limitations governing
habeas cases under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) and that
supplemental briefing has recently been submitted. (Docs. 34,
35.) Accordingly, Bedell's underlying habeas corpus
petition will remain pending for further consideration.
and Procedural Background
February 4, 1998, Bedell pleaded guilty in Washington County
Superior Court to sexual assault of a minor after
impregnating his daughter. (Docs. 27-15, 27-16.) The Vermont
Supreme Court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal.
State v. Bedell, No. 1999-115 (Vt. Nov. 24, 1999)
(unreported. mem.). Bedell unsuccessfully sought
reconsideration of his sentence in state court in March 2000,
which the trial court denied in December 2000. See State
v. Bedell, Nos. 2002-244, 2003-047, 2003 WL 25745982, at
*1 (Vt. April 1, 2003) (unreported mem.). In May 2002, more
than two years after his original judgment of conviction was
affirmed on appeal, Bedell filed a second motion for
reconsideration as well as a habeas corpus petition, both of
which the trial court denied, and these denials were affirmed
on appeal in 2003. Id. at *2; see also In re
Bedell, No. 2006-519, 2007 WL 5313337 (Vt. April 1,
2007) (unreported mem.). Subsequently, in July 2009, Bedell
filed a complaint in superior court pursuant to Vermont Rule
of Civil Procedure 75. Bedell v. Washington Cty.
State's Attorney, No. 2009-341, 2010 WL 716111 (Vt.
Feb. 25, 2010) (unreported mem.). The trial court dismissed
the complaint, finding it unintelligible. Id. at *1.
The Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal on appeal.
Id. It also appears that Bedell has sought other
collateral relief in state court. See, e.g., Bedell v.
State of Vermont, No. 585-9-15 Wncv, 2016 WL 10860906
(Vt. Super. Ct. Dec. 6, 2016); (see also Doc. 27-4;
current habeas petition before this Court, Bedell challenges
his conviction under Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, §
3252(b)(2), arguing in opaque language that his conviction
should be invalidated because he is a “fundamentalist
Mormon with a belief” in polygamy who legally married
his daughter and, alternatively, because his plea was
involuntary due to insanity. (Doc. 5 at 1-2.) As noted above,
Menard has filed a response to the petition, (Doc. 27), and
the parties have submitted supplemental briefing. (Docs. 34,
Bedell's Dispositive Motions
Motion for Preliminary and Permanent Injunction
first dispositive motion, Bedell moves for a preliminary and
permanent injunction. (Doc. 10.) Although difficult to
understand precisely what he seeks to be enjoined, Bedell
appears to assert in his motion that he has a constitutional
right to engage in polygamy and intimate relations with his
daughter. Id. He apparently pursues a judicial
endorsement of this perceived right. Id. Based on
the following, I recommend that his motion be DENIED.
preliminary injunction is considered an
“extraordinary” remedy that should not be granted
as a routine matter. See JSG Trading Corp. v. Tray-Wrap,
Inc., 917 F.2d 75, 80 (2d Cir. 1990); Hanson Trust
PLC v. ML SCM Acquisition, Inc., 781 F.2d 264, 273 (2d
Cir. 1986) (observing preliminary injunction is “one of
the most drastic tools in the arsenal of judicial
remedies”); Medical Soc'y of the State of New
York v. Toia, 560 F.2d 535, 538 (2d Cir. 1977) (stating
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary and drastic
remedy[, ] which should not be routinely granted”). For
a court to grant a preliminary injunction, black-letter law
the party seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that: (1) absent injunctive relief, it will suffer an
irreparable injury; and (2) either (a) a likelihood of
success on the merits or (b) sufficiently serious questions
going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation
and the balance of hardships tips in favor of the movant.
Alliance Bond Fund, Inc. v. Grupo Mexicano de
Desarrollo, S.A., 143 F.3d 688, 696 (2d Cir.1998);
see also Maryland Cas. Co. v. Realty Advisory Bd. on
Labor Relations, 107 F.3d 979, 984 (2d Cir.1997). The
standards governing the issuance of a permanent injunction
are essentially the same as for a preliminary injunction,
except that the plaintiff must demonstrate “actual
success” on the merits for the Court to issue a
permanent injunction. Amoco Prod. Co. v. Vill. of
Gambell, 480 U.S. 531, 546 n.12 (1987).
Bedell cannot satisfy the standard for either the issuance of
a preliminary injunction or permanent injunction because his
likelihood of success on the merits is minimal at best. As
the Vermont Superior Court has stated, there is simply no
constitutional right of a father to engage in any sexual
relationship with his child or to marry his daughter.
Bedell v. State of Vermont, No. 585-9-15 Wncv, 2016
WL 10860906 (Vt. Super. Ct. Dec. 6, 2016); Vt. Stat. Ann.
tit. 15, § 1a. Further, the Supreme Court has
specifically upheld, over free exercise of religion claims,
the criminal prohibition of polygamy as applied to Mormons.
Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 161-67
(1878). Accordingly, Bedell's Motion for a Preliminary
and Permanent Injunction should be DENIED because he has not
established the likelihood of success on the merits.
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
Bedell moves for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 24.) Like
his other motions, the basis of the motion is difficult to
discern, but Bedell again appears to generally assert the
same constitutional rights he claims in his underlying habeas
petition. (See generally id.) In any case, judgment
on the pleadings is inappropriate because the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases do not contemplate such a motion. See
generally 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Habeas Rules 1-12.
Although the Court may apply the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure when appropriate, id. Habeas Rule 11,
Bedell's motion seeks no greater relief than that he
seeks in the underlying habeas petition. Because the Habeas
Rules do not contemplate a motion for judgment on the
pleadings and because Bedell appears to seek the same relief
as his underlying habeas petition, the Court should deny the