United States District Court, E.D. California
JAMES K. SINGLETON, Jr., Senior District Judge.
John Gonzalez Joseph, a state prisoner represented by counsel, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus with this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. At the time he filed his Petition, Joseph was in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and incarcerated at California State Prison-Solano. It appears that he has been released on supervised parole, as a search on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's inmate locator website (http://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/, Inmate No. K67634) has no record of him. Respondent has answered, and Joseph has replied. As of June 22, 2012, the date his counsel filed the Traverse, it appears that Joseph was still incarcerated at Solano. He has not filed a change of address with this Court.
I. BACKGROUND/PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
Upon direct appeal of his conviction, the California Court of Appeal summarized the following facts underlying Joseph's conviction:
One evening near midnight at the Acapulco restaurant in Monrovia, Joseph and his brother, Robert, became embroiled in an argument with Gerald Brown (Gerald) and his cousin, John Brown.
The conversation was not what you would find in a Jane Austen novel. Joseph angrily told Gerald, "Fuck this shit. We don't have to take this from nobody, you know.... What you want to do?" Gerald replied, "I will treat you like you're my bitch and... I don't have a problem fighting you, you know. Whatever is going to be is going to be." James Holloway (Holloway), a friend of Gerald's, stepped in and separated Gerald and Joseph. Acapulco's manager told them to leave and the assistant manager called the police.
Joseph waved a buck-type knife at Holloway in the parking lot. Joseph threatened, "If you don't stop fucking with me, I'll kill you." Joseph proclaimed he would "blow this whole place up." Gerald tried to intervene, warning Holloway about the knife Joseph held. Gerald and Holloway retreated, but Joseph raised his finger in the air and said "Fuck you" to the retreating men.
The men came back and a fight started. Holloway ran towards the fight, tripped over a parking block and fell. Joseph pounced on Holloway and repeatedly stabbed him in the chest. Holloway died quickly. Joseph's cousin, Doreen, told Joseph he needed to leave. Joseph ran and hid, leaving a trail of blood. Shortly thereafter, the police found Joseph coming out from some bushes with his hands raised. Gerald identified him and the police took him into custody.
Joseph's hands were bleeding profusely. Although the police could not find the knife, Joseph later admitted to Detective Perenishko that he stabbed Holloway with a folding knife.
The jury found Joseph guilty of second degree murder and that he personally used a deadly weapon. The trial court denied his motion for new trial and sentenced him.
The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment against Joseph in a reasoned opinion.
On April 5, 2010, Joseph, represented by counsel, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Los Angeles County Superior Court challenging the September 30, 2009, decision of the Board of Parole Hearings ("Board") finding Joseph unsuitable for parole. The superior court denied the petition, finding that the Board's decision denying Joseph parole was properly supported by evidence that his release would pose a risk of danger to public safety, as required by California law.
Joseph's attorney then filed a habeas petition in the California Court of Appeal, again arguing that the Board violated Joseph's due process rights "because there was not some evidence in the record to support its finding that he poses a current unreasonable risk to public safety." The appellate court summarily denied the petition on October 1, 2010.
Again proceeding through counsel, Joseph filed a habeas petition in the California Supreme Court. He argued before that court that the Board's "unlawful practice of denying parole in 99.7% of initial parole hearings deprived Mr. Joseph of an individualized consideration ...