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HARRIS v. YATES

United States District Court, N.D. California


ARTHUR HARRIS, Petitioner,
v.
JAMES YATES, Respondent.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MAXINE CHESNEY, District Judge

ORDER OF DISMISSAL; GRANTING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

(Docket No. 2).

Petitioner, a California prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He alleges that he is being prosecuted in state court for violating California Penal Code § 422. He seeks to have the criminal complaint dismissed on the grounds that § 422 is unconstitutional.

  Under principles of comity and federalism, a federal court should not interfere with ongoing state criminal proceedings by granting injunctive or declaratory relief absent extraordinary circumstances. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-54 (1971); Samuels v. Mackell, 401 U.S. 66, 68-74 (1971). Younger abstention is required when: (1) state proceedings, judicial in nature, are pending; (2) the state proceedings involve important state interests; and (3) the state proceedings afford adequate opportunity to raise the constitutional issues. See Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982). The rationale of Younger applies throughout appellate proceedings, requiring that state appellate review of a state court judgment be completed before federal court intervention is permitted. See Huffman v. Pursue, Ltd., 420 U.S. 592, 607-11 (1975). Here, criminal proceedings are pending against petitioner in state court, and there is no indication that petitioner does not have an adequate opportunity to present his claims in those proceedings. Because a decision on the instant federal petition would interfere with the pending criminal proceedings in the state court, this Court must abstain from deciding the instant petition.

  Accordingly, the instant petition is DISMISSED without prejudice to refiling upon the completion of the state court proceedings, and exhaustion of petitioner's claims through the California Supreme Court.

  The application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

  This order terminates docket number 2.

  The Clerk shall close the file.

  IT IS SO ORDERED. [] Jury Verdict. This action came before the Court for a trial by jury. The issues have been tried and the jury has rendered its verdict.

  [X] Decision by Court. This action came to trial or hearing before the Court. The issues have been tried or heard and a decision has been rendered.

  IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED the instant petition is DISMISSED without prejudice to refiling upon the completion of the state court proceedings, and exhaustion of petitioner's claims through the California Supreme Court.

  The application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

20040901

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