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Witkin v. Yates

January 29, 2010

MICHAEL AARON WITKIN, PETITIONER,
v.
JAMES A. YATES, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Petitioner, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner has paid the filing fee.

PRELIMINARY SCREENING

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases allows a district court to dismiss a petition if it "plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court. . . ." Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 8 indicate that the court may dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus at several stages of a case, including "summary dismissal under Rule 4; a dismissal pursuant to a motion by the respondent; a dismissal after the answer and petition are considered; or a dismissal after consideration of the pleadings and an expanded record."

Moreover, the Ninth Circuit has held that a district court may dismiss sua sponte a habeas petition on the grounds that it is untimely under the statute of limitations so long as the court provides the petitioner adequate notice of its intent to dismiss and an opportunity to respond. See Herbst v. Cook, 260 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2001). These findings and recommendations are intended to notify petitioner of the court's intention to dismiss the instant petition on the ground that it is untimely under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). If petitioner desires to respond and demonstrate to the court that he has filed this action within the applicable statute of limitations or is eligible for statutory or equitable tolling of the limitations period, he may do so by filing objections to these findings and recommendations.

BACKGROUND

On December 9, 2009, petitioner commenced this action by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. On January 8, 2010, the Central District transferred the case to this court where venue is proper. According to the petition, on June 29, 2005, a Sacramento County Superior Court jury convicted petitioner of felony battery and resisting arrest. Pursuant to the jury's verdict, the trial court sentenced petitioner to forty-eight months in state prison. (Pet. at 2.)

Petitioner appealed his conviction to the California Court of Appeal. The state appellate court affirmed his conviction on May 11, 2007. Petitioner did not seek review in the California Supreme Court. He did, however, file a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the California Supreme Court on October 24, 2008. That court denied the habeas petition on December 10, 2008. Petitioner also filed a second petition for writ of habeas corpus with the California Supreme Court on December 8, 2009. The court has not yet ruled on that petition. (Pet. at 2-4.)

ANALYSIS

I. The AEDPA Statute of Limitations

On April 24, 1996, Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). AEDPA amended 28 U.S.C. § 2244 by adding the following provision:

(d) (1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of --

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;

(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;

(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made ...


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