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Gonzalez v. O'Keefe

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 12, 2014

EUSTOLIO GONZALEZ GONZALEZ, Petitioner,
v.
DONALD O'KEEFE, Respondent.

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS; DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

LUCY H. KOH, District Judge.

Petitioner Eustolio Gonzalez Gonzalez, a legal permanent resident of the United States who is awaiting extradition to Mexico, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. He claims that the extradition proceedings violated his right under the Speedy Trial Act. Respondent has filed an answer. Petitioner has filed a traverse. Having reviewed the briefs and the underlying record, the court concludes that petitioner is not entitled to relief, and DENIES the petition.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Petitioner first came to the United States in I962. (Matthews Decl.¶ 2.) He left in 1965 to return to Mexico, where he remained for almost forty years. ( Id. ) In 2004, petitioner returned to the United States, and became a legal permanent resident. ( Id. ) Unbeknownst to petitioner, on April 7, 2006, the government of Mexico issued a warrant for petitioner's arrest for the charge of attempted homicide. In re Extradition of Gonzalez, No. 09-70576 SBA MISC (N.D. Cal.), Docket No. 22. Petitioner visited Mexico in 2007 and 2009 and was never informed that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. (Matthew Decl. ¶ 4.)

On March 5, 2009, the Mexican Government formally requested the United States to extradite petitioner to Mexico to answer to the charge of attempted homicide. In re Extradition of Gonzalez, No. 09-70576 SBA MISC (N.D. Cal.), Docket No. 22, Ex. 4. As a result, on June 26, 2009, the United States filed a complaint for provisional arrest of petitioner to process his extradition to Mexico. Id., Docket No. 1. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong.

It is unclear exactly when petitioner learned about the warrant for his arrest, but petitioner was arrested on September 3, 2009. Id., Docket No. I6. On September 4, 2009, petitioner made his initial appearance in In re Extradition of Gonzalez. Id., Docket No. 3. On September 15, 2009, petitioner was released on bond. Id., Docket No. 12.

On November 3, 2009, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint seeking extradition based on violation of Speedy Trial Clause. Id., Docket No. 19. On October 31, 2011, Judge Armstrong denied petitioner's motion. Id., Docket No. 38. That same day, Judge Armstrong referred the case to Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu for all further proceedings. Id., Docket No. 39. On April 10, 2012, Magistrate Judge Ryu certified that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the underlying charge and ordered extradition. Id., Docket No. 53.

Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus on May 24, 20I2. The case was assigned to the undersigned judge.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

An extradition may be challenged by way of a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court. See Roberts v. Reilly, 116 U.S. 80 (1885); Prasoprat v. Benov, 421 F.3d 1009, 1013 (9th Cir. 2005) (international extradition). In an international extradition, the district court's habeas review of an extradition order is limited to: (1) whether the extradition court had jurisdiction to conduct the proceedings as well as personal jurisdiction over the individual sought; (2) whether the extradition treaty was in force and whether the crime is an extraditable offense under the relevant treaty's terms; (3) whether the're was probable cause that the individual committed the crime; and (4) whether the crime fell within the political offense exception. Id.

DISCUSSION

Petitioner claims that the "lapse of time" between the underlying charge in 2006, and the filing of the complaint seeking extradition, in 2009, violated his right to a speedy trial as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Specifically, petitioner argues that in the treaty between the United States and Mexico, Article 7 states, "Extradition shall not be granted when the prosecution or the enforcement of the penalty for the offense for which extradition has been sought has become barred by lapse of time according to the laws of the requesting or requested party." (Matthews Decl., Ex. D at 21-22.) Thus, alleges petitioner, because the United States would bar the prosecution of petitioner on the ground that the three-year delay violates petitioner's right to a speedy trial, extradition should not be granted.

Respondent argues that courts have consistently interpreted the "lapse of time" phrase to refer only to the applicable statute of limitations, and that the applicable statute of limitations has not yet been met. Further, respondent contends that the Sixth Amendment does not apply to extradition proceedings. Finally, respondent argues that petitioner has not demonstrated prejudice from any delay.

As an initial matter, Judge Armstrong's order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the complaint in In re Extradition of Gonzalez, No. 09-70576 SBA MISC (N.D. Cal.), explicitly considered and rejected this claim. Although application of the law of the case doctrine is discretionary, the doctrine generally precludes a court from reconsidering an issue decided previously by the same court or by a higher court in that case. Hall v. City of Los Angeles, 697 F.3d 1059, 1060, 1067 (9th Cir. 20I2); Gonzalez v. Arizona, 677 F.3d 383, 390 n.4 (2012) (en bane) ("Under the law of the case doctrine, a court will generally refuse to reconsider an issue that has already been decided by the same court or a higher court in the same case."). However, there are three exceptions to this doctrine: where "(I) the [prior] decision is clearly erroneous and its enforcement would work a manifest injustice, (2) intervening controlling authority makes reconsideration appropriate, or (3) substantially different evidence was adduced at a subsequent trial." Id. (quoting Jeifries v. Wood, 114 F.3d 1484, 1488-89 (9th Cir. 1997)(en bane)). Here, petitioner does not argue that any of ...


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