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Vaughn v. Hill

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 3, 2015

MELVIN B. VAUGHN, Petitioner,
v.
RICK HILL, Warden, Respondent.

ORDER VACATING ORDER OF DISMISSAL AND REOPENING CASE; ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

BETH LABSON FREEMAN, District Judge.

Petitioner, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Court dismissed the petition for failure to pay the filing fee. (Docket No. 9.) Petitioner has since paid the filing fee. (Docket No. 12.) Accordingly, the Court vacates the Order of Dismissal and Judgment and orders the Clerk of the Court to reopen this case.

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

According to the petition, in April 1996, Petitioner was found guilty of two counts of first degree burglary. (Pet. Attach. at 6.) The court also found true several enhancement allegations. ( Id. ) Petitioner was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 30 years and 4 months to life, and imposed additional terms for each enhancement. ( Id. at 6-7.) On August 7, 1996, the court modified his sentence. ( Id. at 7.)

Petitioner appealed his conviction, and the state appellate court affirmed. (Pet. at 3.) The state high court denied review. ( Id. ) Petitioner later filed an additional petition for review in the California Supreme Court, which was denied on April 9, 2014. (Pet. Attach., Ex. A.)

Petitioner filed the instant federal habeas petition on May 14, 2014.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

This court may entertain a petition for a writ of habeas corpus "in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).

It shall "award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto." Id. § 2243.

B. Legal Claims

Liberally construed Petitioner claims the following cognizable grounds for federal habeas relief: (1) trial court erred in failing to strike one of his prior convictions in violation of Petitioner's due process rights ( see Pet. Attach. at 6 and 11-12); (2) the three strikes law, as applied to his sentence, violated the double jeopardy and due process provisions of the Fifth Amendment ( id. at 9, 14 and 26-29); and (3) ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failure to develop exculpatory evidence and for procedurally defaulting the above Fifth Amendment claim ( id. at 6 and 14). These claims merit an answer from Respondent.

The following claims made by Petitioner allege violations of state law and therefore are not cognizable in federal habeas, see Swarthout v. Cooke, 562 U.S. 216, 222 (2011): that his due process rights were violated when he was not provided with an evidentiary hearing as required by section 1265 of the California Penal Code ( id. at 8 and 30); that the state appellate court erred in failing to provide a timely notice of right to appeal as required by section 1170.125 of the California Penal Code ( id. at 6 and 13-14); that his case should have been remanded back to the state court under section 1385 of the California Penal Code ( id. at 13); and that he should have been re-sentenced under section 1170.126 of the California Penal Code ( id. at 13).

The remainder of Petitioner's claims - correctional officers lost his property and were deceptive with regard to that loss; and that his documents were destroyed ( see Pet. Attach. at 30) - do not challenge the fact or duration of his confinement and therefore are not cognizable in federal habeas. If Petitioner seeks to challenge the conditions of his confinement, his claims are properly brought in a civil rights complaint pursuant ...


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