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King v. Scott

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 23, 2014

WILLIAM KING, Petitioner,
v.
JOHN SCOTT, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

TERRY J. HATTER, Jr., District Judge.

On April 11, 2014, Petitioner, a civil detainee pursuant to California's Sexually Violent Predator Act ("SVPA"), filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254.

I.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 201, this court takes judicial notice of the records in two prior actions brought by Petitioner in this district. The first is King v. County of Los Angeles, Case No. CV 10-6592-TJH (AGR) (" King I "), a civil rights case.

In King I, a Report was issued on December 4, 2013, recommending granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment, denying Petitioner's motion for summary judgment, and dismissing the complaint with prejudice. Id., Dkt. No. 137. Briefly, Petitioner alleged due process claims related to his detention in the Los Angeles County jail and a claim for inadequate medical care. ( Id. at 2.) On January 10, 2014, the Court accepted the findings and recommendation of the Report and entered judgment on January 13. (Dkt. Nos. 142-43.) On March 11, 2014, the Ninth Circuit dismissed Petitioner's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 147.)

The second case is King v. Baca, Case No. CV 14-73-TJH (AGR) (" King II "), a habeas case. In King II, the Court summarily dismissed the petition based on abstention on January 31, 2014. Id., Dkt. Nos. 3-4. On March 17, 2014, the Ninth Circuit denied Petitioner's request for a certificate of appealability. Id., Dkt. No. 8.

II.

DISCUSSION

The petition was filed after enactment of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Therefore, the Court applies the AEDPA in reviewing the petition. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336, 117 S.Ct. 2059, 138 L.Ed.2d 481 (1997).

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States Courts provides that "[i]f it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner." Here, summary dismissal is warranted.

Petitioner does not challenge his underlying conviction in 1984. (Petition at 2.) He acknowledges his SVPA proceeding in the Superior Court is "in [the] pre-trial stage." ( Id. ) In Ground One, Petitioner alleges that the Ghilotti review violated his due process rights. ( Id. at 5.)[1] In Ground Two, Petitioner alleges that the Superior Court lost subject matter jurisdiction when "both prosecution evaluators filed negative evaluation reports." In Ground Three, he alleges the Superior Court lost subject matter jurisdiction when it "admitted information not found on face of reports challenged via the Ghilotti review." ( Id. at 6.) In Ground Four, Petitioner alleges that the Superior Court lost subject matter jurisdiction when the "second panel of prosecution evaluators filed conflicting reports." ( Id. )

With limited exceptions, a federal district court should not interfere with ongoing state proceedings. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44-45, 91 S.Ct. 746, 27 L.Ed.2d 669 (1971). Abstention is required if the proceedings are ongoing, implicate important state interests, and afford an adequate opportunity to raise federal questions. Middlesex County Ethics Comm'n v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432, 102 S.Ct. 2515, 73 L.Ed.2d 116 (1982). Younger applies to civil proceedings under the SVPA. See Quackenbush v. Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 718, 116 S.Ct. 1712, 135 L.Ed.2d 1 (1996) ("the authority of a federal court to abstain from exercising its jurisdiction extends to all cases in which the court has discretion to grant or deny relief"); see also Hill v. Colorado, 530 U.S. 703, 715, 120 S.Ct. 2480, 147 L.Ed.2d 597 (2000) ("It is a traditional exercise of the States' police power to protect the health and safety of their citizens.") (citation and quotation marks omitted); Middlesex, 457 U.S. at 432 ("[t]he importance of the state interest may be demonstrated by the fact that the noncriminal proceedings bear a close relationship to proceedings criminal in nature"); Miller v. Cate, 2011 WL 4457666, *4 (E.D. Cal. 2011) (applying Younger abstention to an ongoing SVP proceeding and collecting cases).

In the petition, all three of Younger 's requirements have been met. The proceedings are ongoing, implicate California's important interests to adjudicate the SVPA, and afford Petitioner an adequate opportunity to raise federal questions. No exception to Younger applies.[2] See Kindred v. Superior Court, County of Orange, 2013 WL 1127902 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 30, 2013) (summarily dismissing a habeas petition of an SVP based on abstention because the SVPA proceedings are ongoing), adopted by 2013 WL 1147153 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 19, 2013).

III.

ORDER

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judgment be entered summarily dismissing the petition without prejudice based on abstention.


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