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Guillermo Villasenor v. Warden

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


March 20, 2013

GUILLERMO VILLASENOR, PETITIONER,
v.
WARDEN, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez United States District Judge

I. SUMMARY

ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

On March 14, 2013, Guillermo Villasenor ("petitioner"), a state prisoner who is proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (the "Petition"). Petitioner challenges a Los Angeles County Superior Court conviction and sentence. It plainly appears from the face of the Petition that petitioner is not entitled to relief at this time because petitioner's claims have not been presented to the California Supreme Court and the Petition is wholly unexhausted. Accordingly, the Petition is dismissed pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.*fn1

II. DISCUSSION

A federal court will not grant a state prisoner's petition for writ of habeas corpus unless it appears that the prisoner has exhausted available state remedies.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), (c); Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999); Park v. California, 202 F.3d 1146, 1150 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 918 (2000). "For reasons of federalism, 28 U.S.C. § 2254 requires federal courts to give the states an initial opportunity to correct alleged violations of its prisoners' federal rights." Kellotat v. Cupp, 719 F.2d 1027, 1029 (9th Cir. 1983) (citation omitted).

Exhaustion requires that the prisoner's contentions be fairly presented to the highest court of the state. Davis v. Silva, 511 F.3d 1005, 1008 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted); James v. Borg, 24 F.3d 20, 24 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 935 (1994). A claim has not been fairly presented unless the prisoner has described in the state court proceedings both the operative facts and the federal legal theory on which his claim is based. See Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365-66 (1995) (per curiam); Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 6 (1982) (per curiam); Scott v. Schriro, 567 F.3d 573, 582 (9th Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 1014 (2009); Weaver v. Thompson, 197 F.3d 359, 364 (9th Cir. 1999).

Petitioner has the burden of demonstrating he has exhausted available state remedies. See, e.g., Williams v. Craven, 460 F.2d 1253, 1254 (9th Cir. 1972) (per curiam); Matthews v. Evatt, 105 F.3d 907, 911 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 833 (1997); Rollins v. Superior Court, 706 F. Supp. 2d 1008, 1011 (C.D. Cal. 2010). In the present proceeding, petitioner affirmatively represents that he has not presented any of his instant claims to the California Supreme Court either by way of a petition for review or a petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Petition at 5-6). Accordingly, it plainly appears from the face of the Petition that petitioner cannot meet his burden to demonstrate that he has exhausted his claims.

The Court notes that the exhaustion requirement may be satisfied if a petitioner's unexhausted claims are clearly procedurally barred under state law. See Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 351-52 (1989); Johnson v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 831 (9th Cir. 1996). In this case, however, it is not "clear" that the California Supreme Court would deem petitioner's claims procedurally barred under state law if he were to raise them in a habeas petition in the California Supreme Court. See In re Harris, 5 Cal. 4th 813, 825 (1993) ("[H]abeas corpus has become a proper remedy in this state to collaterally attack a judgment of conviction which has been obtained in violation of fundamental constitutional rights.") (citations omitted); People v. Sorenson, 111 Cal. App. 2d 404, 405 (1952) (claims that fundamental constitutional rights have been violated may be raised by state habeas petition).*fn2

Once a Court determines that a habeas petition contains only unexhausted claims, it may dismiss the petition for failure to exhaust. Rasberry v. Garcia, 448 F.3d 1150, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, because the Petition in this case is wholly unexhausted, dismissal thereof is appropriate.

III. ORDER

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Petition is dismissed and that Judgment be entered accordingly.

Presented by:*fn3

Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE


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