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Holguin v. Brazelton

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 28, 2013

DAVID HOLGUIN, Petitioner,
v.
P.D. BRAZELTON, Warden, Respondent.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS FOR FAILURE TO EXHAUST STATE REMEDIES [Doc. 4]

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner is currently in the custody of the California Department of Corrections. On April 9, 2013, Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court challenging a September 17, 2012 prison disciplinary hearing in which he was found guilty of conspiracy to introduce a controlled substance for distribution. (Pet. at 29-32.)

Petitioner made no mention in his petition as to whether his claims had been properly presented to the California Supreme Court. On April 17, 2013, this Court ordered Petitioner to show cause why the petition should not be dismissed for failure to exhaust state remedies. Petitioner was forewarned that the failure to comply with the order would result in dismissal of the petition. (Order, ECF No. 4.) He was ordered to file the response within thirty days of service of the order to show cause.

On April 25, 2013, Petitioner filed a reply. (Reply, ECF No. 7.) In his response, Petitioner apologized and explained that he mistakenly filed the petition with this Court rather than the state courts due to his lack of knowledge of the law. (Id.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Procedural Grounds to Dismiss Petition

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases allows a district court to dismiss a petition if it "plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court...." The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 5 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases state that "an alleged failure to exhaust state remedies may be raised by the attorney general, thus avoiding the necessity of a formal answer as to that ground." Based on the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, the Court will determine whether Petitioner is entitled to relief pursuant to its authority under Rule 4.

B. Exhaustion of State Remedies

A petitioner who is in state custody and wishes to collaterally challenge his 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).

A petitioner can satisfy the exhaustion requirement by providing the highest state court with a full and fair opportunity to consider each claim before presenting it to the federal court. Duncan v. Henry , 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995); Picard v. Connor , 404 U.S. 270, 276 (1971); Johnson v. Zenon , 88 F.3d 828, 829 (9th Cir. 1996). 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 (2001). 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 ...

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