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Grimes v. Superior Court of California

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 6, 2015

JEROME L. GRIMES, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL, Respondents

Jerome L. Grimes, Plaintiff, Pro se, San Francisco, CA.

ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS WITHOUT PREJUDICE

GEORGE H. KING, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

On November 12, 2014, petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (" Pet.") herein. Based on his review of the Petition, the assigned Magistrate Judge issued an Order to Show Cause on November 24, 2014. As the Magistrate Judge noted therein, under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), habeas relief may not be granted unless petitioner has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State.[1] Exhaustion requires that the prisoner's contentions be fairly presented to the state courts and be disposed of on the merits by the highest court of the state. See James v. Borg, 24 F.3d 20, 24 (9th Cir. 1994); Carothers v. Rhay, 594 F.2d 225, 228 (9th Cir. 1979). Moreover, a claim has not been fairly presented unless the prisoner has described in the state court proceedings both the operative facts and the federal legal theory on which his claim is based. See Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365-66, 115 S.Ct. 887, 130 L.Ed.2d 865 (1995); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275-78, 92 S.Ct. 509, 30 L.Ed.2d 438 (1971). As a matter of comity, a federal court will not entertain a habeas corpus petition unless the petitioner has exhausted the available state judicial remedies on every ground presented in the petition. See Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518-22, 102 S.Ct. 1198, 71 L.Ed.2d 179 (1982). Petitioner has the burden of demonstrating that he has exhausted available state remedies. See, e.g., Brown v. Cuyler, 669 F.2d 155, 158 (3d Cir. 1982). The Ninth Circuit has held that a federal court may raise the failure to exhaust issue sua sponte and may summarily dismiss on that ground. See Stone v. San Francisco, 968 F.2d 850, 856 (9th Cir. 1992); Cartwright v. Cupp, 650 F.2d 1103, 1104 (9th Cir. 1982) (per curiam); see also Granberry v. Greer, 481 U.S. 129, 134-35, 107 S.Ct. 1671, 95 L.Ed.2d 119 (1987). As the Magistrate Judge further noted, although the California Court of Appeal dismissed his habeas petition (see attachment to Petition), petitioner has not shown that he has exhausted the claim raised in the Petition in the California Supreme Court. Moreover, it did not appear from the California Appellate Courts website[2] that petitioner had ever sought relief from the California Supreme Court. Thus, it appeared to the Magistrate Judge that the claim alleged in the Petition was unexhausted.

The Magistrate Judge further noted that, if it were clear that the California Supreme Court would hold that petitioner's unexhausted claim was procedurally barred under state law, then the exhaustion requirement would be satisfied.[3] See Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 351-52, 109 S.Ct. 1056, 103 L.Ed.2d 380 (1989); Johnson v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 831 (9th Cir. 1996); Jennison v. Goldsmith, 940 F.2d 1308, 1312 (9th Cir. 1991). However, the Magistrate Judge noted, it was not " clear" here that the California Supreme Court would hold that petitioner's claim was procedurally barred under state law. See, e.g., In re Harris, 5 Cal.4th 813, 825, 21 Cal.Rptr.2d 373, 855 P.2d 391 (1993) (granting habeas relief where petitioner claiming sentencing error, even though the alleged sentencing error could have been raised on direct appeal); People v. Sorensen, 111 Cal.App.2d 404, 405, 244 P.2d 734 (1952) (noting that claims that fundamental constitutional rights have been violated may be raised by state habeas petition). The Magistrate Judge therefore concluded that this was not an appropriate case for invocation of either " exception" to the requirement that a petitioner's federal claims must first be fairly presented to and disposed of on the merits by the state's highest court.

Further, the Magistrate Judge noted that this was not an appropriate case for invocation of the stay-and-abeyance procedure authorized by Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 277-78, 125 S.Ct. 1528, 161 L.Ed.2d 440 (2005), or the stay-and-abeyance procedure authorized by Calderon v. United States Dist. Court (Taylor), 134 F.3d 981, 987-88 (9th Cir. 1998) and Kelly v. Small, 315 F.3d 1063, 1070 (9th Cir. 2004), overruled on other grounds by Robbins v. Carey, 481 F.3d 1143, 1149 (9th Cir. 2007). The Rhines procedure applies to mixed petitions, and the Kelly procedure applies to fully exhausted petitions. See King v. Ryan, 564 F.3d 1133, 1139-40 (9th Cir. 2009). The Petition herein is neither; rather, it constitutes a petition containing a solely unexhausted claim. The Ninth Circuit has held in a post-Rhines decision that the stay-and-abeyance procedure does not apply to petitions containing solely unexhausted claims. See Rasberry v. Garcia, 448 F.3d 1150, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). A petition containing solely unexhausted claims must be dismissed. See Jiminez v. Rice, 276 F.3d 478, 481 (9th Cir. 2001).

Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge ordered petitioner, on or before December 22, 2014, to show cause in writing why this action should not be summarily dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust state remedies pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.

Petitioner has failed to file a response to the Order to Show Cause by the December 22, 2014 filing deadline. For the reasons noted by the Magistrate Judge in the Order to Show Cause, it therefore is ORDERED that this action is summarily dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust state remedies pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.

JUDGMENT

In accordance with the Order re Summarily Dismissing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Without Prejudice filed herein,

IT IS HEREBY ADJUDGED that this action is summarily dismissed without prejudice, pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts.


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