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Clarence Leon Dews v. Superior Court of State of California

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 9, 2012

CLARENCE LEON DEWS,
PETITIONER,
v.
SUPERIOR COURT OF STATE OF CALIFORNIA, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara A. McAuliffe United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO SEND PETITIONER THE STANDARD FORM FOR 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ACTIONS, DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO TERMINATE ACTION, AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY [Doc. 11]

Petitioner is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1), Petitioner has consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge. Local Rule 305(b).

Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus on December 7, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The petition was transferred to this Court on December 8, 2011.

On December 21, 2011, the Court issued an order to show cause why the petition should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

On January 6, 2012, Petitioner filed a first amended petition, and on January 13, 2012, Petitioner filed a response to the order to show cause.

Pursuant to Rule 15(a)(1), a party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within:

(A) 21 days after serving it; or

(B) if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e) or (f), whichever is earlier.

Petitioner has exercised his right to amend his petition once as a matter of course and the action is now proceeding on the amended petition.

DISCUSSION

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 petition . . . that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing 2254 Cases; see also Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490, 491 (9th Cir. 1990). A petition for habeas corpus should not be dismissed without leave to amend unless it appears that no tenable claim for relief can be pleaded were such leave granted. Jarvis v. Nelson, 440 F.2d 13, 14 (9th Cir. 1971).

A habeas corpus petition is the correct method for a prisoner to challenge the "legality or duration" of his confinement. Badea v. Cox, 931 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1991), quoting, Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 485 (1973); Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 1 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. In contrast, a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the proper method for a prisoner to challenge the conditions of that confinement. McCarthy v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136, 141-42 (1991); Preiser, 411 U.S. at 499; Badea, 931 F.2d at 574; Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 1 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.

In the amended petition, Petitioner contends that prison officials are prohibiting him from practicing his religion. Petitioner is challenging the conditions of his confinement, not the fact or duration of his confinement. Thus, Petitioner is not entitled to habeas corpus relief, and this petition must be dismissed.

CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

A state prisoner seeking a writ of habeas corpus has no absolute entitlement to appeal a district court's denial of his petition, and an appeal is only allowed in certain circumstances. Miller-El v. Cockrell, 123 S.Ct. 1029, 1039 (2003). The controlling statute in determining whether to issue a certificate of appealability is 28 U.S.C. § 2253, which provides as follows:

(a) In a habeas corpus proceeding or a proceeding under section 2255 before a district judge, the final order shall be subject to review, on appeal, by the court of appeals for the circuit in which the proceeding is held.

(b) There shall be no right of appeal from a final order in a proceeding to test the validity of a warrant to remove to another district or place for commitment or trial a person charged with a criminal offense against the United States, or to test the validity of such person's detention pending removal proceedings.

(c) (1) Unless a circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of appealability, an appeal may not be taken to the court of appeals from--

(A) the final order in a habeas corpus proceeding in which the detention complained of arises out of process issued by a State court; or

(B) the final order in a proceeding under section 2255.

(2) A certificate of appealability may issue under paragraph (1) only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.

(3) The certificate of appealability under paragraph (1) shall indicate which specific issue or issues satisfy the showing required by paragraph (2).

If a court denies a petitioner's petition, the court may only issue a certificate of appealability "if jurists of reason could disagree with the district court's resolution of his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further." Miller-El, 123 S.Ct. at 1034; Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). While the petitioner is not required to prove the merits of his case, he must demonstrate "something more than the absence of frivolity or the existence of mere good faith on his . . . part." Miller-El, 123 S.Ct. at 1040.

In the present case, the Court finds that reasonable jurists would not find the Court's determination that Petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief debatable, wrong, or deserving of encouragement to proceed further. Petitioner has not made the required substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. Accordingly, the Court hereby DECLINES to issue a certificate of appealability.

ORDER

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

1) The petition for writ of habeas corpus is DISMISSED for failure to allege grounds that would entitle Petitioner to habeas corpus relief;

2) The Clerk of Court IS DIRECTED to send Petitioner the standard form for claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983

3) The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment and close the case; and

4) The Court DECLINES to issue a certificate of appealability.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120209

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