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Williams v. Cullen

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


July 13, 2010

BOB RUSSELL WILLIAMS, JR., PETITIONER,
v.
VINCENT CULLEN, AS WARDEN OF SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

DEATH PENALTY CASE ORDER GRANTING ABEYANCE PENDING EXHAUSTION OF STATE COURT REMEDIES

Petitioner Bob Russell Williams, Jr. ("Williams") is a prisoner under sentence of death by the Kern County Superior Court. On December 28, 2006, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Williams' direct appeal affirming his convictions and death sentence. People v. Williams, 40 Cal.4th 287 (2006). On May 31, 2007, Williams filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the California Supreme Court in the United States Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on October 1, 2007. Williams v. California, 552 U.S. 874 (2007).

On September 19, 2005, Williams filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the California Supreme Court, In re Williams, Case No. S137389. On June 10, 2009, the California Supreme Court issued an order denying this petition. The California Supreme Court denied all of Williams' claims on the merits. The state court denied none of Williams' claims as untimely, although Claim 1 was barred, except insofar as it raises ineffective assistance of counsel, because it was raised and rejected on appeal.

On June 17, 2009, Williams filed a motion for appointment of counsel with this Court. (Doc. 2). On July 13, 2009, this Court appointed Assistant Federal Defender Harry Simon and Tim Brosnan as counsel. (Doc. 9). On June 9, 2010, pursuant to this Court's scheduling order of November 4, 2009 (Doc. 26), Williams filed a state petition for writ of habeas corpus in In Re Williams, California Supreme Court Case No. S183405, and his federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. 29).

On that same date, Williams filed a Motion to Hold Federal Proceedings in Abeyance While State Proceedings Are Pending. (Doc. 30). On June 22, 2010, Respondent Warden Vincent Cullen, as Warden of San Quentin State Prison (the "Warden") filed his Opposition to Williams' abeyance motion. (Doc. 33). On June 24, 2010, Williams filed his Reply in Support of his abeyance motion. (Doc. 35). On July 8, 2010, Williams file a Request for Leave to Submit Supplemental Authorities in support of his abeyance motion. (Doc. 38).

On July 12, 2010, this Court held a hearing on Williams' abeyance motion. Based upon the pleadings discussed above and the arguments of counsel, the Court now rules as follows:

1. Williams' Request for Leave to Submit Supplemental Authorities in Support of Motion to Hold Federal Proceedings in Abeyance (Doc. 38) is GRANTED.

2. Williams' Motion to Hold Federal Proceedings in Abeyance While State Proceedings Are Pending (Doc. 30) is GRANTED. The Court finds that abeyance is appropriate under Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269 (2005).

3. Williams is directed to pursue his state court claims with due dispatch. While state proceedings remain pending, Williams shall prepare and file status reports notifying this Court of the status of his state claims every six months, beginning September 1, 2010, and shall immediately notify the Court when state proceedings have been resolved.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100713

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