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Thornton v. Brown

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

February 18, 2014

WILLIAM CECIL THORNTON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
EDMUND G. BROWN, Jr., [*] Governor of California; MATTHEW CATE, Secretary of Corrections; LEWIS, John Doe, Parole Unit Supervisor; MARK JOSEPH, Parole Agent; CHRISTINE CAVALIN, Parole Agent; JOHN DOE #1, Parole Agent, Defendants-Appellees

Page 835

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. D.C.No. 3:10-cv-01583-RBB. Ruben B. Brooks, Magistrate Judge, Presiding.

Before: Myron H. Bright,[**] Susan P. Graber, and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges. Dissent to Order by Judge O'Scannlain. O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge, joined by BYBEE, CALLAHAN, BEA, and IKUTA, Circuit Judges, dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc.

OPINION

Page 836

ORDER

The opinion and dissenting opinion, filed on July 31, 2013, and published at 724 F.3d 1255, are replaced by the amended opinion and amended dissenting opinion filed concurrently with this order. With these amendments, Judges Bright and Graber have voted to deny the petition for panel rehearing, and Judge Ikuta has voted to grant it. Judge Graber has voted to deny the petition for rehearing en banc, and Judge Bright has so recommended. Judge Ikuta has voted to grant it.

The full court has been advised of the petition for rehearing en banc. A judge of the court called for a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc. On such vote, a majority of the nonrecused active judges failed to vote in favor of en banc rehearing.

The petition for panel rehearing and petition for rehearing en banc are DENIED. No further petitions for panel rehearing or petitions for rehearing en banc shall be entertained.

DISSENT

O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge, joined by BYBEE, CALLAHAN, BEA, and IKUTA, Circuit Judges, dissenting from the denial of rehearing en banc:

Today, a panel of our Court disregards the " strong considerations of comity" between federal courts and the States, grasping power for itself where it is " difficult to imagine . . . a State has a stronger interest." Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 491-92, 93 S.Ct. 1827, 36 L.Ed.2d 439 (1973). To reach this result, the panel misapplies Supreme Court precedent and creates a split with the Seventh Circuit, as described in Judge Ikuta's compelling dissent. I write to emphasize the important federalism and practical concerns that warranted rehearing this case en banc.

I

The central question in this appeal is whether William Cecil Thornton may challenge his parole conditions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or whether he must instead petition for a writ of habeas corpus. To a casual observer, this issue may appear trivial, but as the relevant statutory framework and Supreme Court precedents make clear, the answer to this question directly implicates our constitutional system's respect for state sovereignty and the limitations Congress has placed on federal judicial power.

As the Supreme Court has observed, federal habeas review " frustrates both the States' sovereign power to punish offenders and their good-faith attempts to honor constitutional rights." Calderon v. Thompson, 523 U.S. 538, 555-56, 118 S.Ct. 1489, 140 L.Ed.2d 728 (1998) (internal quotation marks omitted). When a federal court has authority to review state criminal matters, it " intrudes on state sovereignty to a degree matched by few exercises of federal judicial authority." Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 131 S.Ct. 770, 787, 178 L.Ed.2d ...


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