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Anthony B. Tillman v. Mendoz K. Powers

January 21, 2011

ANTHONY B. TILLMAN,
PETITIONER,
v.
MENDOZ K. POWERS,
RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND THE FIRST AMENDED PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (DOC. 11)AND TO DECLINE TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DENY PETITIONER'S MOTION TO GRANT THE WRIT (DOC. 12) AS MOOT DEADLINE FOR OBJECTIONS: THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER SERVICE OF THIS ORDER

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The matter has been referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rules 302 and 304. Pending before the Court is the first amended petition filed on November 29, 2010, pursuant to the Court's order granting leave to amend the initial petition, which lacked specificity, failed to demonstrate exhaustion of state court remedies, and concerned conditions of confinement as distinct from matters affecting the legality or duration of Petitioner's detention.

I. Screening the Petition

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (Habeas Rules) requires the Court to make a preliminary review of each petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Court must summarily dismiss a petition "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court...." Habeas Rule 4; O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d 418, 420 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490 (9th Cir. 1990). Habeas Rule 2(c) requires that a petition 1) specify all grounds of relief available to the Petitioner; 2) state the facts supporting each ground; and 3) state the relief requested. Notice pleading is not sufficient; rather, the petition must state facts that point to a real possibility of constitutional error. Rule 4, Advisory Committee Notes, 1976 Adoption; O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d at 420 (quoting Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 75 n. 7 (1977)). Allegations in a petition that are vague, conclusory, or palpably incredible are subject to summary dismissal. Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490, 491 (9th Cir.1990).

Further, the Court may dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus either on its own motion under Habeas Rule 4, pursuant to the respondent's motion to dismiss, or after an answer to the petition has been filed. Advisory Committee Notes to Habeas Rule 8, 1976 Adoption; see, Herbst v. Cook, 260 F.3d 1039, 1042-43 (9th Cir. 2001).

A. Lack of Specificity

In the petition before the Court, Petitioner does not identify a particular decision or a particular decision maker. Petitioner identifies the grounds for his petition as "Denial of effective assistance of counsel." (pet. 4.) His statement of supporting facts is equally brief:

Did not call (produce) witnesses on my behalf. Did not offer or produce the video tape that would have cleared me of all charges.(Pet. 4.)

Petitioner has failed to state specific facts that point to a real possibility of constitutional error. Petitioner's allegations are so lacking in factual support that the identity of the proceedings being challenged is uncertain. Petitioner's allegations are vague and conclusional, and thus they are subject to summary dismissal. For this reason, the petition must be dismissed.

B. Exhaustion of State Remedies

A petitioner who is in state custody and wishes to challenge collaterally a conviction or decision by a petition for writ of habeas corpus must exhaust state judicial remedies. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1). The exhaustion doctrine is based on comity to the state court and gives the state court the initial opportunity to correct the state's alleged constitutional deprivations. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991); Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518 (1982); Buffalo v. Sunn, 854 F.2d 1158, 1162-63 (9th Cir. 1988).

A petitioner can satisfy the exhaustion requirement by providing the highest state court with the necessary jurisdiction a full and fair opportunity to consider each claim before presenting it to the federal court, and demonstrating that no state remedy remains available. Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275-76 (1971); Johnson v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 829 (9th Cir. 1996). A federal court will find that the highest state court was given a full and fair opportunity to hear a claim if the petitioner has presented the highest state court with the claim's factual and legal basis. Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995) (legal basis); Kenney v. Tamayo-Reyes, 504 U.S. 1, 9-10 (1992), superceded by statute as stated in Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362 (2000) (factual basis).

Additionally, the petitioner must have specifically told the state court that he was raising a federal constitutional claim. Duncan, 513 U.S. at 365-66; Lyons v. Crawford, 232 F.3d 666, 669 (9th Cir.2000), amended, 247 F.3d 904 (9th Cir. 2001); Hiivala v. Wood, 195 F.3d 1098, 1106 (9th Cir. 1999); Keating v. Hood, 133 F.3d 1240, 1241 (9th ...


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