The opinion of the court was delivered by: Maxine M. Chesney United States District Judge
On August 25, 2008, petitioner, a California prisoner incarcerated at San Quentin 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 reversal, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ("Governor"), of a grant of parole by the California Board of Parole Hearings ("Board"). Petitioner has paid the filing fee.
In 1981, in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, petitioner pleaded guilty to second degree murder. He was sentenced to a term of fifteen years to life in state prison. In December 2005, the Board found petitioner suitable for parole and set a release date. On May 26, 2006, the Governor reversed the grant of parole. On February 27, 2008, the California Supreme Court denied petitioner's state habeas corpus petition challenging the Governor's reversal.
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 U.S.C. § 2254(a); Rose v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975). A district court 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." 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Summary dismissal is appropriate only where the allegations in the petition are vague or conclusory, palpably incredible, or patently frivolous or false. See Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490, 491 (9th Cir. 1990) (quoting Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 75-76 (1977)).
Petitioner claims the Governor's reversal of the Board's decision to grant parole violated petitioner's federal constitutional right to due process because the Governor's determination that petitioner's release would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety was not supported by some evidence, and the Governor relied solely on the circumstances of the commitment offense to justify the denial of parole. Liberally construed, petitioner's claims are cognizable.
For the reasons stated above, the Court orders as follows:
1. The Clerk shall serve by certified mail a copy of this order and the petition, along with the exhibits lodged in support thereof, upon respondent and respondent's counsel, the Attorney General for the State of California. The Clerk shall also serve a copy of this order on petitioner.
2. Respondent shall file with the Court and serve on petitioner, within ninety (90) days of the date this order is filed, 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 granted based on petitioner's cognizable claims. 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 thirty (30) days of the date the answer is filed.
3. In lieu of an answer, respondent may file, within ninety (90) days of the date this order is filed, a motion to dismiss on procedural grounds, 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 thirty (30) days of the date the motion is filed, and respondent ...