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Lee K. Clarke v. Shasta County Jail

October 24, 2012



Petitioner, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, together with a request to proceed in forma pauperis.

Examination of the affidavit reveals petitioner is unable to afford the costs of this action. Accordingly, leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).

An application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody under a judgment of a state court can be granted only for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Moreover, federal habeas corpus relief is not available for any claim decided on the merits in state court proceedings unless the state court's adjudication of the claim:

(1) 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

(2) 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). It is the habeas petitioner's burden to show he is not precluded from obtaining relief by § 2254(d). See Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 25 (2002).

The "contrary to" and "unreasonable application" clauses of § 2254(d)(1) are different. As the Supreme Court has explained:

A federal habeas court may issue the writ under the "contrary to" clause if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in our cases, or if it decides a case differently than we have done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. The court may grant relief under the "unreasonable application" clause if the state court correctly identifies the governing legal principle from our decisions but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the particular case. The focus of the latter inquiry is on whether the state court's application of clearly established federal law is objectively unreasonable, and we stressed in Williams [v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362 (2000)] that an unreasonable application is different from an incorrect one.

Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002) (internal citations omitted).

A petition must allege facts concerning the applicant's commitment or detention. See 28 U.S.C. § 2242. While the court liberally construes applications from pro se petitioners, see Laws v. Lamarque, 351 F.3d 919, 924 (9th Cir. 2003), the court will not order a response if it appears from the application that petitioner is not entitled to relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 2243. Petitioner's allegations in his habeas petition are unintelligible and incomprehensible. The court cannot determine whether petitioner may be entitled to relief nor can the court adequately address petitioner's claims. However, petitioner will be granted leave to file an amended habeas petition. Petitioner shall legibly and distinctly set forth the federal grounds for relief along with facts supporting his claims in any amended habeas petition he elects to file.

Petitioner is also advised that "[a] petitioner for habeas corpus relief must name the state officer having custody of him or her as the respondent to the petition." Stanley v. California Supreme Court, 21 F.3d 359, 360 (9th Cir. 1994). It does not appear from petitioner's habeas petition that he has named the proper respondent. In any amended petition that petitioner may elect to file, he is advised that the proper respondent in the usual habeas action is the warden of the institution where the petitioner is currently incarcerated. See Stanley, 21 F.3d at 360.

Petitioner is cautioned that the exhaustion of state court remedies is a prerequisite to a federal court's consideration of claims presented in habeas corpus proceedings. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1); Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 522 (1982). A petitioner satisfies the exhaustion requirement by providing the highest state court with a full and fair opportunity to consider all claims before presenting them to the federal court. See Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 276 (1971); Middleton v. Cupp, 768 F.2d 1083, 1086 (9th Cir. 1985).

Petitioner is also cautioned that the applicable habeas corpus statute imposes a one-year statute of limitations for filing such petitions in federal court. Typically, the one-year period starts to run on the date on which the state court judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of time for seeking direct review. The statute of limitations is tolled while a properly filed application for post-conviction relief or other collateral review is pending. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).

Finally, petitioner filed four sets of exhibits to his habeas petition on June 26, 2012, July 13, 2012, July 30, 2012 and August 14, 2012. In any amended habeas petition that petitioner may elect to file, he is instructed to attach any exhibits he seeks to have the court consider ...

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