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Nathan Clark v. L.S. Mcewen

April 11, 2012

NATHAN CLARK,
PETITIONER,
v.
L.S. MCEWEN,
RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Anthony J. BattagliaU.S. District Judge

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS; AND DENYING PETITIONER'S REQUEST FOR EVIDENTIARY HEARING [Doc. No. 10]

Presently before this Court is Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks' Report & Recommendation ("R & R"). (Doc. No. 10.) The R & R recommends the Court deny Petitioner Nathan Clark's ("Petitioner" or "Clark") petition for writ of habeas corpus, as well as his request for an evidentiary hearing. (Doc. No. 11.) This Court has considered Clark's petition, Respondent L.S. McEwen's ("Respondent" or "McEwen") response, Petitioner's traverse, all supporting documentation, and Petitioner's objections to the R & R. Having considered these documents, the Court ADOPTS the R & R, DENIES Clark's petition for writ of habeas corpus, and DENIES Clark's request for an evidentiary hearing.

Background

Petitioner alleges prison officials violated the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's ("CDCR") policy that prohibits "stacking" when it imposed three separate forfeitures of his good time credits for rules violations that stemmed from the same offense. (Doc. No. 1.) The three violations resulted in a loss of ninety days of good time credits, thirty days for each violation. On January 10, 2010, nearly five years after the alleged "stacking" occurred, Petitioner submitted an inmate grievance that contended the loss of his credits was in violation of CDCR policy. On January 12, 2010, Petitioner's grievance was screened out as untimely, pursuant to section 3084.6(c) of the California Code of Regulations.

Petitioner appealed the decision and explained he had been unaware of CDCR's policy against "stacking" until the time he filed his initial grievance. Petitioner further alleged the hearing officer should have recognized the improper "stacking." On January 20, 2012, Petitioner's appeal was also screened out as untimely.

On February 8, 2010, Clark filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the California Superior Court for the County of Imperial. Clark alleged due process violations that arose from prison officials "stacking" three instances of rules violations. (Doc. No. 1.) On March 19, 2010, the superior court denied the petition because it was untimely and failed to account for the significant delay in filing the state petition. Id. (citing In re Clark, 5 Cal.4th 750 (Cal. 1993)). Petitioner filed a petition with the California Supreme Court, which was denied on August 18, 2010. (Id. at 42.)

On October 12, 2010, Clark filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Doc. No. 1.) Respondent filed a response on December 30, 2010. (Doc. No. 6.) Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks issued an R & R to this Court, recommending that the Petition be denied, and that Petitioner's request for an evidentiary hearing also be denied. (Doc. No. 10.) Clark filed objections to the R & R with this Court on March 27, 2012. (Doc. No. 11.)

Legal Standard

The duties of a district court in connection with a magistrate judge's R & R are set forth in Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). A district court must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report . . . to which objection is made," and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3) (2007); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 676, 100 S.Ct. 2406, 65 L.Ed.2d 424 (1980) ("(I)n providing for a ' de novo ' determination . . . Congress intended to permit whatever reliance a district judge, in exercise of sound judicial discretion, chose to place on a [magistrate judge's] proposed findings and recommendations.").

Discussion

The R & R concluded that Clark's petition was time-barred under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's ("AEDPA") one-year statute of limitation because Clark first attempted to exhaust his claims in state court nearly five years after the alleged violations occurred. (R & R, 11:13-15) (citing 28 U.S.C.A. § 2244(d)(1) (West 1996)). The R & R further concluded that neither statutory or equitable tolling apply to Petitioners case. (Id. at 22:11-12.) Finally, the R & R found Petitioner is procedurally barred from bringing his claim, as he did not establish the cause and prejudice exception applies to his case. (Id. at 29:8-10.) After reviewing Petitioner's objections and the entire record, this Court concludes the Magistrate Judge correctly determined Petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief.

Objections

Petitioner objects to the R & R on the grounds that his petition does not challenge a state conviction or judgment of a state court. Further, Petitioner objects on the grounds that his claim is not subject to the procedural bar set forth by the AEDPA's limitations period. See 28 U.S.C.A. ยง 2244(d)(1) (West 1996). Finally, Petitioner objects on the grounds ...


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