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Adams v. United States District Court for Central District of California

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 10, 2013

RONALD LEE ADAMS, Plaintiff/Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA; STEPHEN G. LARSON, MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, in individual and official capacity; THE STATE OF ࠂ젔, Defendants/Respondents.

ORDER DISMISSING PETITIONER'S WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS BY A PERSON IN STATE CUSTODY

MANUEL L. REAL, District Judge.

Petitioner is a state prisoner who is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254. As discussed below, the Court finds that the petition must be dismissed as a successive petition over which the Court lacks jurisdiction. The Court also denies a certificate of appealability as Defendant has not made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, as is required to support the issuance of a certificate of appealability.

I. The Court Lacks Subject Matter Jurisdiction Because the Petition Is Successive

The Court has a duty to screen habeas corpus petitions. See Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, Rule 4 Advisory Committee Notes. Because the petition in the present case was filed after the enactment of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), the AEDPA applies to the petition. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 327, 117 S.Ct. 2059, 138 L.Ed.2d 481 (1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 1069 , 118 S.Ct. 739, 139 L.Ed.2d 676 (1998); Furman v. Wood, 190 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 1999). The AEDPA "greatly restricts the power of federal courts to award relief to state prisoners who file second or successive habeas corpus applications." Tyler v. Cain, 533 U.S. 656, 661-662, 121 S.Ct. 2478, 150 L.Ed.2d 632 (2001). Title 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b) provides, in part:

(b)(1) A claim presented in a second or successive habeas corpus application under section 2254 that was presented in a prior application shall be dismissed.
(2) A claim presented in a second or successive habeas corpus application under section 2254 that was not presented in a prior application shall be dismissed unless -
(A) the applicant shows that the claim relies on a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable; or
(B)(i) the factual predicate for the claim could not have been discovered previously through the exercise of due diligence; and
(ii) the facts underlying the claim, if proven and viewed in light of the evidence as a whole, would be sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that, but for constitutional error, no reasonable factfinder would have found the applicant guilty of the underlying offense.
(3)(A) Before a second or successive application permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application.

Title 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b) (emphasis added.)

The core principle underlying § 2244(b) is that, absent extraordinary circumstances, a federal habeas petitioner will have only one opportunity to litigate a federal habeas petition. At a minimum, a subsequent federal petition filed by a prisoner who has already received one adjudication of a habeas petition constitutes a "second or successive application" within the meaning of § 2244(b). A request for authorization to file such a repetitive petition under § 2244(b)(3) must be denied unless the petitioner's claims fall within one of the two narrow exceptions set forth in § 2244(b)(2). In the absence of proper authorization from the Court of Appeals, a district court lacks jurisdiction to consider a habeas corpus petition that is a second or successive one within the meaning of § 2244(b). Cooper v. Calderon, 274 F.3d 1270, 1274 (9th Cir. 2001); Nunez v. United States, 96 F.3d 990, 991 (7th Cir. 1996). This Court may transfer a second or successive petition erroneously filed with the district court to the Ninth Circuit for its "gatekeeper" review under § 2244(b)(3).

28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A) creates a "gatekeeping" mechanism for the consideration of second or successive petitions. Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 657, 116 S.Ct. 2333, 135 L.Ed.2d 827 (1996). "The prospective applicant must file in the court of appeals a motion for leave to file a second or successive habeas application in the district court." Id. The applicant must make a prima facie showing that the application satisfies the requirements of § 2244(b). Id.

Here, Petitioner challenges his conviction in a California state court of carjacking and the unlawful taking of a vehicle. See Petitioner's Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Petitioners Writ"), CV 13-2704-R, ECF No. 1, p. 2. Petitioner has filed numerous petitions in the past. Most importantly, Petitioner challenged the same conviction in a 2004 writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Adams v. Vazquez, CV 04-2461-SGL. The 2004 petition was dismissed with prejudice by United States District Judge Stephen G. Larsen. Id., ECF No. 65. Although the grounds for the current petition are framed as objections to Judge Larsen's dismissal, Petitioner is still challenging the same custody under the same judgment. The Supreme Court has held that a "second or successive" petition, subject to the "gatekeeping" provisions of the statute, is one that challenges the same custody under the same judgment challenged in the first petition. See ...


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