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William Cecil Thornton v. Matthew Cate

February 28, 2013

WILLIAM CECIL THORNTON,
PETITIONER,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, SECRETARY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Larry Alan Burns United States District Judge

DISMISS [Doc. #60] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO

I. INTRODUCTION

William Cecil Thornton (hereinafter "Petitioner"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, and in forma pauperis with a First Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("FAP"), raises multiple claims challenging the requirement that he register as a sex offender in California on the basis of his 1986 Tennessee conviction, and the conditions of parole attached to that requirement. (FAP at 1 [ECF No. 59] *fn1 .) Respondent has filed a Motion to Dismiss, contending that six of the eight claims raised in the First Amended Petition are untimely filed, and should be dismissed. (Mot. to Dismiss [ECF No. 60].) Thornton has not filed an Opposition.

The Court has considered the First Amended Petition and Motion to Dismiss. Based upon the documents and evidence presented in this case, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss.

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Petitioner has a lengthy criminal history and has filed multiple petitions for writ of habeas corpus in state court. However, the Court focuses only on those convictions and petitions relevant to the disposition of the current Motion. In 2004, Petitioner was convicted of vehicle theft in San Diego County Superior Court, case number SCE245274, and was incarcerated in state prison. (Resp. to Oppo. Mot. for Leave to Amend, Ex. B at 21 [ECF No. 45-1].) In August 2005, before Petitioner's release from prison, he was informed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that he was required to register as a sex offender on the basis of his 1987 Tennessee conviction for sexual battery. (Id.) Thornton was next convicted on March 28, 2006, in San Diego Superior Court for receiving stolen property and was sentenced to sixteen months in prison. In re Thornton, No. EHC 676, filed Dec. 29, 2008 (Sup. Ct.). Petitioner was released on parole, but returned to prison due to a parole violation, and was released again on December 16, 2008. In re Thornton, No. D057623, slip op, at 1 filed Jul 27, 2010 (Cal. Ct. Ap.) On January 22, 2010 Thornton entered a guilty plea in San Diego Superior Court case number SCE295036 to charges of second degree robbery and petty theft with a prior, and was sentenced to three years in prison. In re Thornton, Case No. SCE295036 filed Oct. 8, 2010 (Sup. Ct.)

Petitioner constructively filed the current Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, on January 19, 2011, claiming that his equal protection and due process rights were violated because he was required to register as a sex offender pursuant to California Proposition 83, and that his federal constitutional rights were violated by the state court denial of a certificate of rehabilitation. (Pet. at 4, 5 [ECF No. 1].) On August 10, 2012, Petitioner was granted leave to amend his Petition in the present case. [ECF No. 58.]

The First Amended Petition contains eight claims: (1) the requirement that he register as a sex offender under California law is a violation of due process, equal protection, the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and double jeopardy because he was not required to register in Tennessee as a sex offender for his 1987 conviction (Mot. for Leave to Amend 2); (2) he was denied access to courts because the San Diego District Attorney's office refused to allow the filing of his request for a certificate of rehabilitation with the San Diego Superior Court (id. at 2-3) ; (3) his constitutional rights were violated by the parole conditions applied to him as a consequence of his sex offender status because, in 2007, after being released on parole, he was prohibited from living in his home with his wife because it would be in violation of the terms of his parole (id. at 3); (4) his equal protection rights were violated and he suffered a loss of liberty in 2007 because another sex offender, Richard Lilly, was allowed to live in Petitioner's residence with Petitioner's wife when Petitioner was prohibited from living in the residence (id.); (5) his equal protection and other constitutional rights were violated when he was assigned to a sex offender unit on November 21, 2007, which carried overbroad conditions of parole that did not pertain to his California criminal past (id.); (6) on June 30, 2008 Petitioner's equal protection and freedom of speech rights were violated because Petitioner's parole officer would not intervene to help Petitioner recover his vehicle from Richard Lilly*fn2 , (id. at 4-5); (7) Petitioner was the victim employment discrimination and his right to work was violated because he was given a condition of parole that required that all potential clients be notified of Petitioner's criminal history and prior sex offense before employment commenced (id. at 5); and (8) the imposition of Proposition 83 requirements on Petitioner violated the prohibition against ex post facto laws because the requirement was enacted in November 2007 but his Tennessee conviction was from 1987, twenty years before the enactment of this requirement (id.)

Respondent filed the current Motion to Dismiss on September 12, 2012 seeking dismissal of claims three through eight. [ECF No. 60.] Petitioner has not filed an Opposition.

III. DISCUSSION

Respondent contends that claims three through eight of the First Amended Petition are untimely because the one-year statute of limitations under 28 U.S.C. 2244(d)(1)(D) began to run on June 30, 2008, the latest date upon which Petitioner claims his constitutional rights were violated due to the parole conditions, when his parole officer did not help him retrieve his vehicle. (Mot. at 9-12 [ECF No. 60-1].) Therefore, Respondent claims that Petitioner had until June 30, 2009, in which to bring his claims to federal court, but Petitioner did not file the current action until January 27, 2011. (Id. at 1, 9-10.) Respondent further argues that these claims are time barred because they arise from Petitioner's 2004 conviction and he did not raise any of these claims in a state habeas petition until 2010.*fn3 (Id. at 11-12.)

A. Standard

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), a petitioner has one year to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) (West 2006). Section 2244(d)(1) states:

A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The ...


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