UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
September 22, 2011
JAMES D. HARTLEY,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS [Doc. 1]
Petitioner is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus on July 21, 2011. Petitioner attached a copy of the September 21, 2009, decision of the California Board of Parole Hearings. Petitioner claims the California courts unreasonably determined that there was some evidence he posed a current risk of danger to the public if released.
On August 10, 2011, the Court issued an order to show cause why the petition should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner filed a response on September 12, 2011.
Because California's statutory parole scheme guarantees that prisoners will not be denied parole absent some evidence of present dangerousness, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that California law creates a liberty interest in parole that may be enforced under the Due Process Clause. Hayward v. Marshall, 602 F.3d 546, 561-563 (9th Cir. 2010); Pearson v. Muntz, 606 F.3d 606, 608-609 (9th Cir. 2010); Cooke v. Solis, 606 F.3d 1206, 1213 (2010), rev'd, Swarthout v. Cooke, ___ U.S.___, 131 S.Ct. 859 (2011). The Ninth Circuit instructed reviewing federal district courts to determine whether California's application of California's "some evidence" rule was unreasonable or was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence. Hayward v. Marshall. 603 F.3d at 563; Pearson v. Muntz, 606 F.3d at 608.
On January 24, 2011, the Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion in Swarthout v. Cooke, ___ U.S.___, 131 S.Ct. 859 (2011). In Swarthout, the Supreme Court held that "the responsibility for assuring that the constitutionally adequate procedures governing California's parole system are properly applied rests with California courts, and is no part of the Ninth Circuit's business." Id. at 863. The federal habeas court's inquiry into whether a prisoner denied parole received due process is limited to determining whether the prisoner "was allowed an opportunity to be heard and was provided a statement of the reasons why parole was denied." Id. at 862, citing, Greenholtz v. Inmates of Neb. Penal and Correctional Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 16 (1979). Review of the instant case reveals Petitioner was present at his parole hearing, was given an opportunity to be heard, and was provided a statement of reasons for the parole board's decision. (See ECF No. 6, Ex. A.) Per the Supreme Court, this is "the beginning and the end of the federal habeas courts' inquiry into whether [the prisoner] received due process." Swarthout, 131 S.Ct. at 862. "The Constitution does not require more [process]." Greenholtz, 442 U.S. at
16. Therefore, the instant petition does not present cognizable claims for relief and should be denied.
Petitioner argues that the Supreme Court's decision in Swarthout was contrary to other controlling federal law and asks this Court to reconsider or not follow its holding. This Court is bound to follow the holdings issued by the United States Supreme Court. See Hutto v. Davis, 454 U.S. 370, 375 (1982).
Accordingly, the Court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that the petition for writ of habeas corpus be DENIED with prejudice.
This Findings and Recommendation is submitted to the assigned United States District Court Judge, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. section 636 (b)(1)(B) and Rule 304 of the Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court, Eastern District of California. Within thirty (30) days after date of service of this Findings and Recommendation, any party may file written objections with the Court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation." Replies to the Objections shall be served and filed within fourteen (14) days after date of service of the Objections. The Finding and Recommendation will then be submitted to the District Court for review of the Magistrate Judge's ruling pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(C). The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the Order of the District Court. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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