Dennis Rydbom, pro se, appeals the December 22, 2016, order
of the Circuit Court of Wood County denying his petition for
a writ of habeas corpus. Respondent Donnie Ames,
Superintendent, Mt. Olive Correctional Complex,
counsel Caleb A. Ellis, filed a response in support of the
circuit court's order. Petitioner filed a reply.
Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record
on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented, 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. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
affirming the circuit court's order is appropriate under
Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
February 6, 1998, petitioner was convicted by a jury in the
Circuit Court of Wood County of first-degree murder. The
circuit court sentenced petitioner to a life term of
incarceration without the possibility of parole. On June 1,
1999, this Court refused petitioner's criminal appeal.
Following his appeal, petitioner initiated the instant
proceeding challenging his conviction on May 24, 2000, by
filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the circuit
court. Though petitioner was initially appointed habeas
counsel, the case laid dormant from 2003 to 2007.
3, 2007, petitioner filed a petition for a writ of mandamus
in this Court due to the dormancy of his habeas case. This
Court dismissed the mandamus petition on October 22, 2007,
following the resumption of activity in the habeas
proceeding. Eventually, petitioner proceeded in the
habeas case pro se with standby counsel. The circuit court
held the omnibus hearing on November 9, 2016. Petitioner
raised numerous issues, including the ineffective assistance
of trial counsel, under ten general categories: (1) violation
of petitioner's speedy trial rights; (2) denial of both
petitioner's right to represent himself and his right to
counsel; (3) unconstitutional searches and seizures; (4)
denial of petitioner's right to a fair trial given the
admission of pieces of underwear allegedly belonging to the
victim; (5) denial of petitioner's right to a fair trial
due to the extensive participation by the State of Ohio in
the West Virginia criminal prosecution; (6) improper
admission of hearsay evidence; (7) violation of
petitioner's right against self-incrimination; (8)
prejudicial pretrial publicity; (9) biased judge; and (10)
cumulative error. On December 22, 2016, the circuit court
entered a comprehensive order rejecting petitioner's
grounds for relief and denying the habeas petition.
Petitioner now appeals the circuit court's December 22,
2016, order denying habeas relief.
Syllabus Point 1 of Anstey v. Ballard, 237 W.Va.
411, 787 S.E.2d 864 (2016), we held:
"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).
See also Syl. Pt. 1, State ex rel. Postelwaite
v. Bechtold, 158 W.Va. 479, 212 S.E.2d 69 (1975)
(holding that "[f]indings of fact made by a trial court
in a post-conviction habeas corpus proceeding will not be set
aside or reversed on appeal by this Court unless such
findings are clearly wrong").
appeal, petitioner argues that the circuit court erred in
denying his habeas petition.Respondent counters that the
circuit court properly denied petitioner's habeas
petition. We agree with respondent. Having reviewed the
circuit court's December 22, 2016, "Opinion and
Order," we hereby adopt and incorporate the circuit
court's well-reasoned findings and conclusions, which we
find address petitioner's assignments of error. The Clerk
is directed to attach a copy of the
22, 2016, order to this memorandum decision. Accordingly,
based on our review of the record, we conclude that the
circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying habeas
foregoing reasons, we affirm the circuit court's December
22, 2016, order denying petitioner's petition for a writ
of habeas corpus.
CONCURRED IN BY: Chief Justice Elizabeth D. Walker Justice
Margaret L. Workman Justice Tim Armstead Justice Evan ...