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Zagala v. Valenzuela

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 9, 2013

MATTHEW C. ZAGALA, Petitioner,
v.
E. VALENZUELA, Warden, Respondent.

ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

JAMES V. SELNA, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

On March 7, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ("Northern District"), Matthew C. Zagala ("Petitioner"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus ("Petition") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On May 28, 2013, the Northern District transferred the action to this Court for further consideration. On June 14, 2013, the United States Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R"), recommending that the Petition be dismissed with prejudice. On July 3, 2013, Petitioner filed Objections to the R&R ("Objections").

DISCUSSION

The R&R recommends that the Petition be summarily dismissed with prejudice because "[f]airly construed, Petitioner's single claim for relief in the Petition challenges a decision of the California Board of Parole Hearings ("[BPH]") finding him unsuitable for parole", and "[t]he United States Supreme Court's decision in Swarthout v. Cooke, __ U.S. __ , 131 S.Ct. 859 (2011) (per curiam), definitively forecloses Petitioner's claim." (R&R at 1.) Petitioner objects that he does not contest the parole hearing. (Objections at 3.) However, the Petition challenges the fact that the "BPH is using [an altered] copy [of Petitioner's confession] as truth[.]" (Petition at 6; see id., Attachment at 14.)[1] Therefore, the Court fairly construes Petitioner's claim as disputing the BPH's reliance on a falsified copy of Petitioner's confession to deny him parole, notwithstanding Petitioner's assertion to the contrary. (See Petition at 6; id., Attachment at 14; Objections at 3.) This is consistent with Petitioner's contention in his Objections that he is "now... being kept in prison" based on an allegedly falsified and uncertified copy of his confession. (Objections at 3.) Accordingly, notwithstanding Petitioner's Objections, the Court fairly construes Petitioner's single claim for relief as challenging the BPH's denial of parole.[2] Petitioner's claim is foreclosed by Swarthout, and the pending Petition must be summarily dismissed.

CONCLUSION

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the pleadings, the records on file, the Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge, and the Objections to the Report and Recommendation. The Court has engaged in a de novo review of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which Petitioner has objected. The Court accepts the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judgment shall be entered denying the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and dismissing this action with prejudice.


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