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Ronald Llama Galindez v. Solano Public Guardian

November 16, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge


Petitioner is presently confined by the State of California and proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On October 19, 2011, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court. (Doc. 1). On October 31, 2011, after conducting a preliminary screening of the petition, the Court ordered Petitioner to file an amended petition because the original petition was incomprehensible. (Doc. 6). On November 7, 2011, Petitioner filed his first amended petition. The form petition itself contains no claims whatsoever; rather, under "Ground One" Petitioner has simply listed the letters referencing nine of the ten general descriptive categories for raising a habeas claim contained in the form petition. (Doc. 11, p. 4).

A. Preliminary Screening of the Petition.

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases requires the Court to make a preliminary review of each petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Court must dismiss a petition "[i]f it plainly appears from the face of the petition . . . that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490 (9th Cir.1990). Otherwise, the Court will order Respondent to respond to the petition. Rule 5 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases.

B. Failure to State a Comprehensible and Cognizable Habeas Claim.

A federal court may only grant a petition for writ of habeas corpus if a petitioner can show that "he is in custody in violation of the Constitution . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (a). Furthermore, in order to succeed in a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, Petitioner must demonstrate that the adjudication of his claim in state court resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1),(2).

A petition for writ of habeas corpus must therefore specify the grounds for relief. Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The petition must also allege the facts surrounding the petitioner's incarceration. 28 U.S.C. § 2242. The petitioner must make specific factual allegations that would entitle him to habeas corpus relief if they are true. O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d 418, 420 (9th Cir. 1990); United States v. Poopola, 881 F.2d 811, 812 (9th Cir. 1989).

At a minimum, the Court must be able to discern (1) the constitutional nature of the habeas claim; (2) the pertinent facts supporting the claim; and (3) the relief requested. In the instant petition, the Court can discern none of these essential components of a cognizable habeas petition because Petitioner's "claim" or "claims" are entirely incomprehensible.

The original petition, which is almost entirely handwritten, names as Respondents the following: California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District; Solano County Counsel; Napa State Hospital; California Mental Health in Sacramento, California; and Country Villa Merced Mental Health. (Doc. 1, p. 1). The last-named Respondent is the venue where Petitioner is presently confined, apparently pursuant to a mental health order issued in Solano County, California. The front page of the petition refers to an order of conservatorship. (Id.). Unfortunately, that is the sum total of the information this Court has been able to glean from the petition.

The handwritten portion of the petition begins with a rambling, seemingly stream-of-consciousness discussion about "Miss Edison," "Sonny Berger," Nazis, attacks on various individuals, as well as items apparently taken from current newspaper articles. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Other references include a man named Todd who was doused with gasoline and set on fire, Jimmy, who was busted for making methamphetamine, and a motorcycle club and its members, whom Petitioner accuses of stealing $18,000 from Petitioner. (Doc. 1, pp. 4-6). The handwritten portion of the petition then moves on to descriptions, including detailed diagrams, of how to prepare certain illegal drugs for consumption, possibly rock cocaine or crystal methamphetamine.

As the Court noted in its order to amend: [A]lthough the Court cannot comprehend much of what Petitioner has written, what is abundantly clear is that the petition, in its present form, contains no discernable claims for federal habeas relief. Moreover, Petitioner has provided insufficient information regarding his present "confinement" for the Court to conduct its regular preliminary screening of the petition for venue and habeas jurisdiction. (Doc. 6, p. 3). Accordingly, Petitioner was ordered to file an amended petition within thirty days.

Petitioner dutifully filed his first amended petition on November 7, 2011. However, the first amended petition provides even less information than the original petition, and contains neither discrete claims nor any supporting facts, information, or legal citations. Rather, Petitioner simply underlines the phrase "in custody unlawfully" on the form petition and lists subparagraphs a, and c through j of paragraph 12 on the form petition as grounds for his habeas claim. The various subparagraphs of paragraph 12, however, are not intended to be actual grounds for habeas relief, but rather are intended to provide a petitioner with various generalized categories of types of claims that a petitioner might raise. So, for example, paragraph 12 (c) refers to a "[c]onviction obtained by use of evidence gained pursuant to an unconstitutional search and seizure." Subparagraph 12 (g) refers to a "[c]onviction obtained by a violation of the protection against double jeopardy." Subparagraph 12 (j) refers to a "[d]enial of a right of appeal."

Obviously, these generalized categories are intended only to direct inmates unskilled in the practice of law to particular areas in the legal process from which habeas claims might derive. They are not claims in and of themselves, and simply referencing the subparagraphs, without providing any further information or details, is grossly inadequate to properly assert a cognizable federal habeas claim. Thus, for example, if a petitioner were to allege a claim under subparagraph 12(g), he would be expected to provide the district court with additional information regarding the specific search and/or seizure he is claiming was unconstitutionally conducted, e.g., the date of the search or seizure, the place or person searched, the evidence seized, and at least a minimal ...

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