Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Robert Mason v. James Walker

January 12, 2011

ROBERT MASON,
PETITIONER,
v.
JAMES WALKER, WARDEN,
RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

Doc. No. 13

On October 5, 2010, this court issued an order denying the above-entitled petition for writ of habeas corpus with prejudice. (Doc. No. 10.) Petitioner now requests a certificate of appealability in order to appeal the court's ruling. (Doc. No. 13.)

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

On September 21, 2005, Petitioner Robert Mason was convicted by a jury of committing battery resulting in serious bodily injury in violation of CAL. PENAL CODE § 243(d). He was sentenced under the state's "Three Strikes Law" to an indeterminate term of twenty-five years to life, with two five-year enhancements added based on two prior serious felony convictions. Petitioner's sentence was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal, and his petition for review was subsequently denied by the California Supreme Court.

Petitioner went on to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in state court, which was denied at all levels.

On July 15, 2009, Petitioner Robert Mason filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court. Petitioner's filing raised four claims for relief: (1) that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to strike a prior felony conviction from 1990; (2) that he was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel in entering his plea agreement in that same 1990 felony case; (3) that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his Faretta motion; and (4) that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion for a mistrial based on the revelation of Petitioner's prior incarceration by a trial witness. Of the four claims, only the first two were previously raised by Petitioner in his state habeas petitions.

On August 5, 2010, Magistrate Judge Adler issued a Report and Recommendation (hereafter "R&R") in Petitioner's case, recommending that his petition be denied with prejudice. The magistrate judge's conclusion was based on the grounds that the petition was time-barred by the one-year statute of limitations set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (hereafter "AEDPA"). Specifically, in situations such as Petitioner's, AEDPA requires that federal habeas petitions be filed within one year of the date on which direct review of the underlying state conviction was concluded. (28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).) Here, direct review of Petitioner's § 243(d) conviction concluded on June 12, 2007, ninety days after the California Supreme Court denied his petition for review. (See SUP. CT. R. 13(1); Bowen v. Roe, 188 F.3d 1157, 1159-60 (9th Cir. 1999).) Therefore, the AEDPA statute of limitations in Petitioner's case expired on June 12, 2008. Petitioner's federal habeas petition was not filed until June 9, 2009. The magistrate judge further concluded that neither statutory nor equitable tolling was sufficient to justify the delay in filing.

After reviewing the magistrate judge's analysis, this court adopted the R&R in full and dismissed the petition for writ of habeas corpus with prejudice. Petitioner now seeks to appeal the court's decision, and requests that the court issue a certificate of appealability ("COA") in his case. (Doc. No. 13.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under AEDPA, an appeal from a final order in a habeas corpus proceeding may not be taken"[u]nless a circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of appealability." (28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1).) However, such a certificate may only issue "if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right." (28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).)

The "substantial showing" requirement imports essentially the same standard as that announced by the Supreme Court in Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880 (1983) for the issuance of certificates of probable cause. (Lambright v. Stewart, 220 F.3d 1022, 1024 (9th Cir. 2000).) In order to satisfy this "modest standard," "the petitioner 'must demonstrate that the issues are debatable among jurists of reason; that a court could resolve the issues [in a different manner]; or that the questions are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.'" (Id. at 1024-25 (quoting Barefoot, 463 U.S. at 893 n.4) (emphasis in original).)

However, "[t]he issue . . . 'becomes somewhat more complicated where . . . the district court dismisses the petition based on procedural grounds.'" (Id. at 1026 (quoting Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000)).)

In those situations, the court must engage in a two-part Barefoot inquiry. First, the court must decide whether "jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right." Second, the court must decide whether "jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling." (Id. (quoting Slack, 529 U.S. at ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.