IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
July 21, 2008
JERRY L SULLIVAN, PETITIONER,
ROBERT L AYERS, JR, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Vaughn R Walker United States District Chief Judge
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
Petitioner, a state prisoner incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in San 19 Quentin, California, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC § 2254 challenging the California Board of Parole Hearings' ("BPH") July 30, 2007 decision to deny him parole.
Petitioner was convicted by a jury in Contra Costa County superior court of kidnapping for robbery and attempted murder and, on April 20, 1983, was sentenced to an indeterminate term of seven years to life in state prison. Petitioner has been found not suitable for parole each time he has appeared before the BPH. On March 26, 2008, the Supreme Court of California denied 28 review of his challenge to the BPH's July 30, 2007 decision.
A. Standard of Review
This court may entertain a petition for a writ of habeas corpus "in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 USC § 2254(a). It shall "award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto." Id § 2243.
B. Legal Claims
Petitioner seeks federal habeas corpus relief from the BPH's July 21, 2006 12 decision to deny him parole, and a subsequent hearing for one year, on the ground that it does not comport with due process. Among other things, petitioner claims that the decision is not supported by some evidence in the record. Liberally construed, petitioner's claim appears colorable under § 2254 and merits an answer from respondent. See Sass v Cal Bd of Prison Terms, 461 F3d 1123, 1127-29 (9th Cir 2006) (finding that refusal to set parole date for prisoner with 15-to-life sentence implicated prisoner's liberty interest in release on parole which cannot be denied without adequate procedural due process protections).
For the foregoing reasons and for good cause shown, 1. The clerk shall serve by certified mail a copy of this order and the petition and all attachments thereto on respondent and respondent's attorney, the Attorney General of the State of California. The clerk also shall serve a copy of this order on petitioner.
2. Respondent shall file with the court and serve on petitioner, within 60 days of the issuance of this order, an answer conforming in all respects to Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, showing cause why a writ of habeas corpus should not be issued. Respondent shall file with the answer and serve on petitioner a copy of all portions of the state trial record that have been transcribed previously and that are relevant to a determination of the issues presented by the petition. If petitioner wishes to respond to the answer, he shall do so by filing a traverse with the court and serving it on respondent within 30 days of his receipt of the answer.
3. Respondent may file a motion to dismiss on procedural grounds in lieu of an answer, as set forth in the Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. If respondent files such a motion, petitioner shall file with the court and serve on respondent an opposition or statement of non-opposition within 30 days of receipt of the motion, and respondent shall file with the court and serve on petitioner a reply within 15 days of receipt of any opposition.
4. Petitioner is reminded that all communications with the court must be served on respondent by mailing a true copy of the document to respondent's counsel. Petitioner must also keep the court and all parties informed of any change of address.
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