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Eric Johnson v. Raul Lopez

June 22, 2011

ERIC JOHNSON,
PETITIONER,
v.
RAUL LOPEZ, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DISMISS THE PETITION WITHOUT PREJUDICE AS A MIXED PETITION CONTAINING UNEXHAUSTED CLAIMS ) (Docs. 16, 11, 1) FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DECLINE TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY AND TO DIRECT THE CLERK TO CLOSE THE ACTION OBJECTIONS DEADLINE: THIRTY (30) DAYS

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a petition 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 303. Pending before the Court is the petition, which was filed on February 16, 2010.

I. Background

Petitioner is an inmate of the California State Prison at Corcoran serving a sentence of five years and four months for eight counts of indecent exposure in violation of Cal. Pen. Code § 314.1. Petitioner challenges various aspects of the trial proceedings that resulted in his conviction.

On November 24, 2011, the Court found that Petitioner had admitted that only one of his numerous claims had been presented to the California Supreme Court; thus, the petition was a mixed petition containing exhausted and unexhausted claims. The Court informed Petitioner that it must dismiss the petition without prejudice unless Petitioner withdrew the unexhausted claims and proceeded with the exhausted claim in lieu of suffering dismissal. Petitioner was directed to file a motion to withdraw the unexhausted claims within thirty days. Petitioner was informed that if he did not file such a motion, the Court would assume he desired to return to state court to exhaust the unexhausted claims and would therefore dismiss the petition without prejudice.

The order was served by mail on Petitioner on November 24, 2011. Over thirty days passed, but Petitioner did not file a motion to withdraw the admittedly unexhausted claims. Instead, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal on January 3, 2011. On April 19, 2011, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

On May 4, 2011, the Court directed Petitioner to show cause in writing within twenty-one days why the petition should not be dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust state court remedies. The order was served on Petitioner on the same date. Over twenty-one days have passed, but Petitioner has not shown any cause why the petition should not be dismissed as a mixed petition. Instead, on May 5, 2011, Petitioner filed a document in which he pointed out that although the time had passed, the Court had not dismissed the action, which was prejudicing Petitioner's right to prosecute an appeal. (Doc. 17.)

II. Dismissal of the Petition

A petitioner who is in state custody and wishes to challenge collaterally a conviction 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 Cir. 1998). In Duncan, the United States Supreme Court reiterated the rule as follows:

In Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275...(1971), we said that exhaustion of state remedies requires that petitioners "fairly presen[t]" federal claims to the state courts in order to give the State the "'opportunity to pass upon and correct' alleged violations of the prisoners' federal rights" (some internal quotation marks omitted). If state courts are to be given the opportunity to correct alleged violations of prisoners' federal rights, they must surely be alerted to the fact that the prisoners are asserting claims under the United States Constitution. If a habeas petitioner wishes to claim that an evidentiary ruling at a state court trial denied him the due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, he must say so, not only in federal court, but in state court.

Duncan, 513 U.S. at 365-366. The Ninth Circuit examined the rule further in Lyons v. Crawford, 232 F.3d 666, 668-69 (9th Cir. 2000), as amended by Lyons v. Crawford, 247 F.3d 904, 904-05 (9th Cir. 2001), stating:

Our rule is that a state prisoner has not "fairly presented" (and thus exhausted) his federal claims in state court unless he specifically indicated to that court that those claims were based on federal law. See, Shumway v. Payne, 223 F.3d 982, 987-88 (9th Cir. 2000). Since the Supreme Court's decision in Duncan, this court has held that the petitioner must make the federal basis of the claim explicit either by citing federal law or the decisions of federal courts, even if the federal basis is "self-evident," Gatlin v. Madding, 189 F.3d 882, 889 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 7... (1982), or the underlying claim would be decided under state law on the same considerations that would control ...


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