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Gomez v. Curry

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


July 16, 2008

ELKIN GOMEZ, PETITIONER,
v.
B. CURRY, WARDEN, BOARD OF PRISON TERMS, RESPONDENTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Maxine M. Chesney United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT'S REQUEST FOR STAY; GRANTING REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF TIME (Docket Nos. 5 & 8)

On September 20, 2007, petitioner, a California prisoner incarcerated at Soledad State Prison and proceeding pro se, filed the above-titled petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the denial of parole by the California Board of Parole Hearings. On April 14, 2008, the Court ordered respondent to show cause why the petition should not be granted.

Now before the Court is respondent's request to stay the instant matter pending issuance of the mandate in Hayward v. Marshall, 512 F.3d 536 (9th Cir.), reh'g en banc granted, No. 06-55392, slip op. at 1 (9th Cir. May 16, 2008). Respondent argues a stay is warranted on grounds of judicial order and economy. Habeas proceedings, however, "implicate special considerations that place unique limits on a district court's authority to stay a case in the interests of judicial economy." INS v. Yong, 208 F.3d 1116, 1120 (9th Cir. 2000). Consequently, while a short stay may be appropriate in a habeas case to await a determination in a parallel case in the same court, it is an abuse of discretion for a district court to enter an indefinite, potentially lengthy stay on grounds of judicial economy. See id. at 1120-22 (holding district court abused discretion by staying habeas case indefinitely pending resolution of appeal in case involving parallel issues).

Here, oral argument was heard in Hayward on June 24, 2008. Subsequently, on July 10, 2008, the Hayward panel filed an order directing the parties to brief the question, inter alia, whether the order granting rehearing en banc in Hayward should be vacated and submission of the matter deferred, pending the California Supreme Court's decisions in In re Lawrence, No. S154018 and In re Shaputis, No. S155872, both of which cases were argued on June 4, 2008. (See Order, filed July 10, 2008.) In light of the procedural posture of the Hayward appeal, the Court finds that, irrespective of whether the order granting rehearing en banc ultimately is vacated, the estimated time frame for a decision by the Ninth Circuit on the merits of Hayward is too indefinite to warrant a stay of the proceedings in the instant matter.

Accordingly, the request for a stay is hereby DENIED.

Also before the Court is respondent's request for an extension of time in which to respond to the petition, pending resolution of respondent's motion to stay. Good cause appearing, the request is hereby GRANTED. Respondent shall file a response to the petition within thirty days of the date this order is filed. Within thirty days of the date such response is filed, petitioner shall file with the Court and serve on respondent a responsive pleading thereto. If respondent files a motion to dismiss, respondent shall file a reply to petitioner's opposition within fifteen days of the date such opposition is filed.

This order is without prejudice to Respondent's seeking a further extension based on later developments in connection with the appeal in Hayward. This order terminates Docket Nos. 5 and 8.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20080716

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