IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
January 5, 2009
JAMES GRISSO, PETITIONER,
STEVE MOORE, ACTING WARDEN, DEUEL VOCATIONAL INSTITUTE, RESPONDENT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Timothy M. Burgess United States District Judge
At Docket No. 19 this Court issued its Order to Show Cause why this matter should not be stayed pending the issuance of the mandate by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Hayward v. Marshall, 512 F.3d 536, rehrg en banc granted, 527 F.3d 797 (9th Cir. 2008), Case No. 06-55392. At Docket No. 20 Petitioner, a state prisoner appearing through counsel, opposed staying this matter.
Petitioner argues that regardless of the outcome in Hayward, this Court's decision is foreclosed by its facts and the decision of the California Supreme Court in In re Lawrence.*fn1
Petitioner misperceives the role of the federal courts in federal habeas corpus proceedings reviewing state criminal convictions. This Court cannot grant relief unless the decision of the state court was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States" or "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding."*fn2 The Supreme Court has explained that "clearly established Federal law" in § 2254(d)(1) "refers to the holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of [the Supreme Court] as of the time of the relevant state-court decision."*fn3 Thus, where holdings of the Supreme Court regarding the issue presented on habeas review are lacking, "it cannot be said that the state court 'unreasonabl[y] appli[ed] clearly established Federal law.'"*fn4 Whatever view the California Supreme Court may have construing Federal law, no matter how persuasive, is irrelevant in a federal habeas proceeding.*fn5
Squarely before the en banc panel in Hayward is whether the dicta in Biggs v. Terhune,*fn6 "[a] continued reliance in the future on an unchanging factor, the circumstances of the offense and conduct prior to imprisonment, runs contrary to the rehabilitative goals espoused by the system and could result in a due process violation," is, or should be, the Federal law of the circuit. Whatever the decision reached in Hayward may be, this Court will be bound by that decision,*fn7 not the decision of the California Supreme Court in Lawrence.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT this matter is stayed pending the issuance of the mandate by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Hayward v. Marshall, 512 F.3d 536, rehrg en banc granted, 527 F.3d 797 (9th Cir. 2008), Case No. 06-55392.