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Joice v. Stolc

United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division

April 29, 2014

DESMOND DAVID JOICE, Petitioner,
v.
BRUNO STOLC, Warden, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER

DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, Magistrate Judge.

Respondent moves to dismiss Petitioner's claims because the California Supreme Court never reviewed their merits, instead rejecting them on procedural grounds. The Court agrees that Petitioner's claims are unexhausted because they were not pleaded with particularity in state court. Therefore, the Court must grant Respondent's motion and dismiss this action without prejudice.

I.

BACKGROUND

On February 9, 2012, in Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. MA054890, Petitioner Desmond Joice ("Petitioner") pleaded no contest to corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant. Petitioner also admitted a great bodily injury allegation and a prior strike conviction allegation. Petitioner was sentenced to a total term of seven years in state prison. See Respondent's Notice of Lodging, Lodged Document ("LD") 1.

Petitioner filed a direct appeal of his conviction to the California Court of Appeal. Counsel for Petitioner raised no arguable issues, but requested that the appellate court independently review the record for errors in accordance with the procedures of People v. Wende , 25 Cal.3d 436 (1979). On December 31, 2012, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment. LD 2. Petitioner apparently did not file a petition for review in the California Supreme Court.

Before his direct appeal was decided, Petitioner filed petitions for writ of habeas corpus in both the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the California Supreme Court, alleging that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel and that he was mentally incompetent when he pleaded no contest. LD 3, 5. The Superior Court denied the petition on June 13, 2012, for failing to state a prima facie case for relief. LD 4. The California Supreme Court denied the petition on June 20, 2012, with a citation to People v. Duvall , 9 Cal.4th 464, 474 (1995). LD 6.

On March 9, 2013, Petitioner filed a second petition for writ of habeas corpus in the California Supreme Court, raising the same issues of ineffective assistance of counsel and mental incompetence. LD 7. The court denied this second petition on May 15, 2013, again citing Duvall. LD 8. Petitioner has not sought further state habeas relief.

On June 26, 2013, Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody in this Court. Dkt. 1 ("Petition"). On July 15, 2013, Petitioner filed a letter attaching several exhibits to the Petition. Dkt. 5. On July 31, 2013, the previously-assigned U.S. Magistrate Judge ordered the Petition be deemed amended to include the exhibits accompanying Petitioner's letter filed July 15, 2013. Dkt. 6. On September 25, 2013, this Court dismissed the amended Petition with leave to amend, finding that Petitioner had not stated his claims as federal constitutional claims and that it appeared that one or more claims were unexhausted. Dtk. 9. The Court ordered Petitioner to file a Second Amended Petition within 35 days. Id.

On November 5, 2013, Petitioner filed a Second Amended Petition alleging the same grounds for habeas relief. Dkt. 10 ("SAP"). Petitioner argues that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel and that he was incompetent to stand trial. Id. at 5-6.

On March 4, 2014, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the SAP on the ground that both claims raised in the SAP are unexhausted. Dkt. 23. Petitioner failed to file an opposition to the motion to dismiss in the time allowed.

II.

DISCUSSION

The California Supreme Court twice denied habeas petitions containing Petitioner's ineffective assistance and mental incompetence claims with reference to Duvall. The question raised by Respondent's motion to dismiss ...


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