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Clarence Leon Dews v. Kern Valley State Prison

April 3, 2012

CLARENCE LEON DEWS,
PETITIONER,
v.
KERN VALLEY STATE PRISON, ET. AL., RESPONDENT.



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

ORDER TO PETITIONER TO SHOW CAUSE IN THIRTY (30) DAYS WHY THE ) PETITION SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED FOR PETITIONER'S FAILURE TO EXHAUST STATE REMEDIES (Doc. 1)

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding 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 303. Pending before the Court is Petitioner's petition, which was filed on March 12, 2012, and transferred to this Court on March 22, 2012.

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).

Here, Petitioner alleges that he is an inmate of the Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California, which is located within the territory of the Eastern District of California. Petitioner names the warden of the prison as a Respondent. Petitioner alleges that he was convicted and sentenced on October 12, 2011. (Pet. 2.) Petitioner raises the following claims in the petition: 1) this indigent criminal defender must receive transcripts pursuant to Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment law that the accused shall be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, be confronted with the witnesses against him, and have compulsory process; 2) an indigent defender must be allowed a right to a transcript pursuant to the Fourth and Fifth Amendments; 3) the order issued by the Eastern District Court on February 9, 2012, directed the clerk to close the case, which denied Petitioner the right to redress the court under the First Amendment; 4) under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments the accused has an independent right to criminal trial reporter transcripts, the right to be informed of the charges, confront witnesses against him, have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and the assistance of counsel in his defense; and 5) a claim set forth verbatim as follows:

"There are 'the right to study, to confront, to re-examine or to examine, to have the accusation of the cause of the nature of why there is witnesses against, this duty to and indigent defender is compelled by the 5th, 6th, 14th, to have theses (sic) rights by the Constitution of the people of the United Constitutional Amendment. Your honor, this is a constitutional right; it must be protected, it must not be denied a defendant...." (Id. at 5-6.)

Although Petitioner sets forth numerous statements of constitutional violations, he is actually asserting only two claims: a claim that his rights were violated by his failure to receive a copy of the trial transcript with respect to his appeal from the pertinent judgment of conviction, and a claim that this Court improperly and prematurely dismissed Petitioner's petition in a proceeding that is no longer pending, namely, Clarence Leon Dews v. Superior Court, 1:11-cv-02050-BAM, which was dismissed on February 10, 2012, because the amended petition concerned only conditions of confinement.

II. Exhaustion of State Court Remedies

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, ...


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