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Zaragoza v. Cate

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


August 26, 2010

PAUL ZARAGOZA AKA G. GARCIA, PETITIONER,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Dana M. Sabraw United States District Judge

ORDER (1) ADOPTING IN PART AND REJECTING IN PART MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, (2) PROVIDING OPTIONS, AND (3) DENYING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE [Docket Nos. 8, 12]

On July 22, 2009, Petitioner Paul Zaragoza ("Petitioner"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On November 9, 2009, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the grounds that some of Petitioner's claims were unexhausted. On July 6, 2010, Magistrate Judge William McCurine, Jr. issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending that the Court (1) find the petition is "mixed," i.e., it contains exhausted and unexhausted claims, (2) provide Petitioner with a list of options on how to proceed, and (3) grant the motion to dismiss. This Court, having reviewed de novo the Magistrate Judge's Report, and there being no objections filed thereto, adopts in part and denies in part the recommendation.

In light of the Court's finding that the petition is mixed, Petitioner may choose one of the following options.

1) Demonstrate Exhaustion

Petitioner may file further papers with this Court to demonstrate that he has in fact exhausted claims I.A., I.B., II and III.A.

2) Voluntarily Dismiss the Petition

Petitioner may move to voluntarily dismiss his entire federal petition and return to state court to exhaust his unexhausted claims. Petitioner may then file a new federal petition containing only exhausted claims. See Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 510, 520-21 (stating that a petitioner who files a mixed petition may dismiss his petition to "return[] to state court to exhaust his claims").

Petitioner is cautioned that any new federal petition must be filed before expiration of the one-year statute of limitations. Ordinarily, a petitioner has one year from when his conviction became final to file his federal petition, unless he can show that statutory or equitable tolling applies. Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 176 (2001); 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).*fn1 The statute of limitations does not run while a properly filed state habeas corpus petition is pending. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2); see Nino v. Galaza, 183 F.3d 1003, 1006 (9th Cir. 1999). But see Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4, 8 (2000) (holding that "an application is 'properly filed' when its delivery and acceptance [by the appropriate court officer for placement into the record] are in compliance with the applicable laws and rules governing filings."); Bonner v. Carey, 425 F.3d 1145, 1149 (9th Cir. 2005) (holding that a state application for post- conviction relief which is ultimately dismissed as untimely was neither "properly filed" nor "pending" while it was under consideration by the state court, and therefore does not toll the statute of limitations), as amended 439 F.3d 993. However, absent some other basis for tolling, the statute of limitations continues to run while a federal habeas petition is pending. Duncan, 533 U.S. at 181-82.

3) Formally Abandon Unexhausted Claims

Petitioner may formally abandon his unexhausted claims and proceed with his exhausted claim. See Rose, 455 U.S. at 510, 520-21 (stating that a petitioner who files a mixed petition may "resubmit[] the habeas petition to present only exhausted claims").

Petitioner is cautioned that once he abandons his unexhausted claims, he may lose the ability to ever raise those claims in federal court. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 488 (2000) (stating that a court's ruling on the merits of claims presented in a first § 2254 petition renders any later petition successive); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2244 (a)-(b).*fn2

4) File a Motion to Stay the Federal Proceedings

Petitioner may file a motion to stay this federal proceeding while he returns to state court to exhaust his unexhausted claims. There are two methods available to Petitioner, the "stay and abeyance" procedure and the "withdrawal and abeyance" procedure.

If Petitioner wishes to use the "stay and abeyance" procedure he should ask the Court to stay his mixed petition while he returns to state court to exhaust. Under this procedure he must demonstrate there are arguably meritorious claim(s) which he wishes to return to state court to exhaust, that he is diligently pursuing his state court remedies with respect to those claim(s), and that good cause exists for his failure to timely exhaust his state court remedies. Rhines v. Webber, 544 U.S. 269, 277-78 (2005).

If Petitioner wishes to use the "withdrawal and abeyance" procedure, he must voluntarily withdraw his unexhausted claim, ask the Court to stay the proceedings and hold the fully-exhausted petition in abeyance while he returns to state court to exhaust, and then seek permission to amend his petition to include the newly exhausted claim(s) after exhaustion is complete. King v. Ryan, 564 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 130 S.Ct. 214 (2009). Although under this procedure Petitioner is not required to demonstrate good cause for his failure to timely exhaust, the newly exhausted claim(s) must either be timely under the statute of limitations or "relate back" to the claims in the fully-exhausted petition, that is, they must share a "common core of operative facts" with the previously exhausted claims. King, 564 F.3d at1143 (quoting Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644. 659 (2005)).

Petitioner shall inform the Court of his decision on or before September 27, 2010. Upon receipt of Petitioner's response, the Court will invite Respondent to file an appropriate response. If Petitioner fails to respond to this Order, the Petition will be dismissed without prejudice.*fn3 See Rose, 455 U.S. at 522.

In light of these options, Respondent's motion to dismiss is denied without prejudice.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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