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Edwards v. Patton State Hospital

July 21, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ralph Zarefsky United States Magistrate Judge




The Court issues this Order To Show Cause directed to Petitioner because the face of the petition suggests that the action may be time-barred. The Court also denies Petitioner's requests for (a) own-recognizance release pending resolution of the petition and (b) appointment of counsel.

In 1996, Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"), a portion of which established a one-year statute of limitations for bringing a habeas corpus petition in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). In most cases, the limitations period commences on the date a petitioner's conviction became final. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The limitations period will start instead on one of the following dates, whichever is latest, if any of them falls after the petitioner's conviction becomes final: the date on which a State-created impediment -- itself a violation of Constitutional law -- was removed; the date on which a newly-recognized Constitutional right was established; or the date on which the factual predicate for the claims could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

The time spent in state court pursuing collateral relief in a timely manner is excluded, see 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2), and the statute also is subject to equitable tolling. Holland v. Florida, No. 09-5327, __ U.S. __, __ S.Ct. __, __ L.Ed.2d __, 2010 WL 2346549 (June 14, 2010)).

The current petition was filed on July 7, 2010. Petitioner challenges his original conviction (or probation-violation determination) in 1997 or otherwise late in the 1990s. He does not appear to challenge later legal setbacks, such as his commitment(s) as an involuntary mental patient. From the face of the petition and from judicially-noticeable materials, the Court discerns as follows:

(a) On December 4, 1997 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Petitioner entered a no-contest plea to a charge of burglarizing the home of his ex-girlfriend, Tasha Salters, and her family. The plea was part of a deal with prosecutors, who agreed in turn to dismiss other pending charges of making terrorist threats and assault with a deadly weapon. The trial court sentenced Edwards to five years of probation, with the proviso that he would be sentenced to six years in prison if he violated probation. Edwards violated his probation; the trial court sentenced him to six years in prison. See Pet. ¶ 2; People v. Edwards, No. B168792, 2004 WL 504639 (Cal.App.2d Dist.).

(b) Petitioner appealed, but the California Court of Appeal affirmed on August 31, 2000. The California Supreme Court denied his petition for further direct review on December 13, 2000.

(c) Petitioner had 90 days thereafter to seek certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. See SUP. CT. R. 13.1. He did not do so. His conviction therefore became final after March 13, 2001.

(d) Almost two months passed. On May 10, 2001, Petitioner filed a habeas petition in the California Court of Appeal, which rejected relief seven days later. See Edwards v. The People, No. B149948 (Cal.App.2d Dist. 2001). He tried a similar petition there on July 24, 2001, only to be rebuffed two days later. See Edwards v. The People, No. B151755 (Cal.App.2d Dist. 2001). On August 24, 2001, he sought habeas relief in the California Supreme Court, which rejected the petition on February 2, 2002. In re Edwards, No. S100216 (Cal. Supreme Ct. 2002). The California Supreme Court rejected his second and final habeas petition in that court on July 30, 2003. In re Edwards, No. S114321 (Cal. Supreme Ct. 2003). (This Court is unable to search the trial court records for habeas petitions therein. It is possible that Petitioner pursued trial-court relief on one or more occasions, but the Court doubts that he did so in a sufficiently extraordinary manner as to render this action timely.)

(e) In 2001, 2002 and 2003, Petitioner filed habeas petitions in this Court. All were summarily dismissed, albeit not on the merits. In each instance, Petitioner appeared to wish to challenge his initial conviction, asserting that his actions arose from being gradually poisoned by his ex-girlfriend (and burglary victim), Tasha Salters. See Edwards v. Salters, No. CV 00-8623 GAF (RZ) (dismissed Sept. 13, 2000); Edwards v. Salters, et al., No. CV 02-07173 DDP (RZ) (dismissed Nov. 5, 2002); Edwards v. California, No. CV 03-5866 GAF (RZ) (dismissed Sept. 3, 2003).

(f) In 2003 or 2004, Petitioner was adjudicated as a "mentally disordered offender" (MDO) pursuant to CAL. PENAL CODE § 2962 et seq. and thus left the state prison system for the involuntary care of the state mental health system, where he remains. The California Court of Appeal affirmed that judgment on direct review, People v. Edwards, supra, No. B168792, 2004 WL 504639 (Cal.App.2d Dist. March 16, 2004) (supplying substantial factual background) and, at the same time, rejected habeas relief in two petitions Petitioner filed with that court in 2003 which were consolidated with the appeal. See Edwards v. The People, No. B168929(Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist.) (filed July 29, 2003 and consolidated on Aug. 7); Isaacs [Petitioner's mother Janice, on Petitioner's behalf] v. The People, No. B171752 (Cal. Ct. App.) (filed Dec. 10, 2003 and consolidated on Dec. 23). As before, this Court cannot tell whether Petitioner also pursued habeas relief in the trial court.

(g) Between October 2004 and March 2010, Petitioner peppered the state appellate court with the following eight further habeas petitions, all of which were rejected within a few days to a few months: Edwards v. The People, No. B178399 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2004) (rejected on 15th day); Edwards v. The People, No. B200154 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2007) (rejected on 20th day); Edwards v. The People, No. B208277 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2008) (rejected on 67th day); Edwards v. The People, No. B218155 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2009) (rejected on 170th day); In re Edwards, No. B220506 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 2009) (rejected on 35th day) (filed after, and rejected sooner than, immediately ...

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