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Rymalowicz v. Gipson

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 2, 2014

PAUL RYMALOWICZ, Petitioner,
v.
CONNIE GIPSON, Warden, Respondent.

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE FIRST AMENDED PETITION SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED FOR LACK OF EXHAUSTION

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding in propria persona with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The original petition was filed on May 15, 2013. (Doc. 1). After conducting a preliminary screening of the petition, the Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the petition because the only claim appeared to be one for a reduction in restitution. Accordingly, the Court issued Findings and Recommendations to dismiss the petition for lack of jurisdiction. (Doc. 5). On June 28, 2013, the District Judge adopted those Findings and Recommendations. (Doc. 8). Subsequently, Petitioner appealed the dismissal and, on May 21, 2014, the Ninth Circuit vacated the dismissal and remanded the case back to the Magistrate Judge for consideration of Petitioner's claim that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. (Doc. 13). The Ninth Circuit did not disturb the Court's conclusion that it lacked jurisdiction over Petitioner's claim to reduce restitution.

On May 23, 2014, the Court ordered Petitioner to file a first amended petition because the original petition contained only the bare allegation that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to assist Petitioner in filing his notice of appeal. (Doc. 14). In that order, the Court pointed out to Petitioner that, to be successful, a federal claim of ineffective assistance required proof that (1) counsel's representation fell below the minimum standard required for legal representation and (2) that this error was prejudicial, i.e., that more likely than not if the error had not occurred a different result would have obtained. The Court explained to Petitioner that any amended petition must contain allegations explaining why counsel's failure to assist him with filing his notice of appeal was prejudicial, i.e., what claims he would have raised had counsel helped him to file a timely notice of appeal. Without such allegations, a claim of ineffective assistance fails to state a cognizable federal habeas claim. The Court will not just assume that prejudice results from a claim of federal error.

On August 29, 2014, Petitioner, after several extensions of time, filed his first amended petition. That first amended petition alleges that the trial judge erred in permitting the introduction of statutory "text" that was unauthorized. (Doc. 20). Petitioner does not contend that trial counsel was ineffective.

DISCUSSION

A. Preliminary Review of Petition.

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases allows a district court to dismiss a petition if it "plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court...." Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 8 indicate that the court may dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus, either on its own motion under Rule 4, pursuant to the respondent's motion to dismiss, or after an answer to the petition has been filed. Herbst v. Cook , 260 F.3d 1039 (9th Cir.2001).

B. Exhaustion.

A petitioner who is in state custody and wishes to collaterally challenge his conviction by a petition for writ of habeas corpus must exhaust state judicial remedies. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1). The exhaustion doctrine is based on comity to the state court and gives the state court the initial opportunity to correct the alleged constitutional deprivations. Coleman v. Thompson , 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991); Rose v. Lundy , 455 U.S. 509, 518 (1982); Buffalo v. Sunn , 854 F.2d 1158, 1163 (9th Cir. 1988).

A petitioner can satisfy the exhaustion requirement by providing the highest state court with a full and fair opportunity to consider each claim before presenting it to the federal court. Duncan v. Henry , 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995); Picard v. Connor , 404 U.S. 270, 276 (1971); Johnson v. Zenon , 88 F.3d 828, 829 (9th Cir. 1996). A federal court will find that the highest state court was given a full and fair opportunity to hear a claim if the petitioner has presented the highest state court with the claim's factual and legal basis. Duncan , 513 U.S. at 365 (legal basis); Kenney v. Tamayo-Reyes , 504 U.S. 1, 112 S.Ct. 1715, 1719 (1992) (factual basis).

Additionally, the petitioner must have specifically told the state court that he was raising a federal constitutional claim. Duncan , 513 U.S. at 365-66; Lyons v. Crawford , 232 F.3d 666, 669 (9th Cir. 2000), amended, 247 F.3d 904 (2001); Hiivala v. Wood , 195 F.3d 1098, 1106 (9th Cir. 1999); Keating v. Hood , 133 F.3d 1240, 1241 (9th Cir. 1998). In Duncan, the United States Supreme Court reiterated the rule as follows:

In Picard v. Connor , 404 U.S. 270, 275... (1971), we said that exhaustion of state remedies requires that petitioners "fairly presen[t]" federal claims to the state courts in order to give the State the "opportunity to pass upon and correct alleged violations of the prisoners' federal rights" (some internal quotation marks omitted). If state courts are to be given the opportunity to correct alleged violations of prisoners' federal rights, they must surely be alerted to the fact that the prisoners are asserting claims under the United States Constitution. If a habeas petitioner wishes to claim that an evidentiary ruling ...

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