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Jackson v. Muniz

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 11, 2015

STEPHEN JACKSON, Petitioner,
v.
W.L. MUNIZ, Warden, Respondent.

ORDER DISMISSING SUCCESSIVE HABEAS ACTION

JOSEPHINE L. STATON, District Judge.

The Court vacates the reference of this action to the Magistrate Judge and summarily dismisses the action pursuant to the successive habeas petition rule in 28 U.S.C. § 2244.

* * *

This is a state habeas action. In 2005, Petitioner was convicted of rape and numerous other sexual offenses and sentenced to 83 years to life in prison. This action represents Petitioner's fifth federal habeas action in this Court.[1]

In the course of Petitioner's fourth habeas action (CV 12-8210), the Court expressly informed Petitioner that he needed permission from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before pursuing a successive habeas case. The appellate court denied Petitioner permission in that action (Docket # 11), which led to its dismissal in this Court. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b).

Petitioner commenced the present habeas action in this Court in February 2015. He broadly alleged his innocence on the original criminal charges, and set forth numerous claims regarding his arrest, questioning, and destruction of records after his conviction. As with Petitioner's previous action, the current petition was not accompanied by a certificate from the Court of Appeals authorizing a successive habeas action.

Magistrate Judge Wilner screened Petitioner's current petition. (Docket # 4.) Judge Wilner again explained the successive-petition-authorization rule to Petitioner. Judge Wilner also directed Petitioner to submit a statement as to why the action should not be summarily dismissed. Petitioner submitted an 85-page document that generally consisted of state court filings and documents related to Petitioner's efforts at obtaining clemency from the governor of California. (Docket # 5.) Nowhere in Petitioner's submission was there a cogent explanation as to why the action was not successive under federal law.

* * *

If it "appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled" to habeas relief, a court may dismiss a habeas action without ordering service on the responding party. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; see also Rule 4 of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts (petition may be summarily dismissed if petitioner plainly not entitled to relief); Local Civil Rule 72-3.2 (magistrate judge may submit proposed order for summary dismissal to district judge "if it plainly appears from the face of the petition [ ] that the petitioner is not entitled to relief").

Under federal law, a state prisoner is generally required to present all constitutional challenges to a state conviction in a single federal action. A habeas petition is second or successive - and subject to dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b) - when the petition "raises claims that were or could have been adjudicated on the merits" in the first action. McNabb v. Yates, 576 F.3d 1028, 1029 (9th Cir. 2009). A prisoner must obtain authorization from the Court of Appeals to pursue such a successive habeas petition before the new petition may be filed in district court. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3); Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147 (2007) (dismissing successive petition for failure to obtain authorization from court of appeals).

* * *

The current petition challenges Petitioner's 2005 conviction. Petitioner previously sought federal habeas relief for those convictions on four previous occasions. He received consideration on the merits of his original habeas claim, but the Court dismissed his later actions as successive and filed without proper authorization as required by statute. Petitioner again failed to obtain permission from the Ninth Circuit to bring the present habeas action. On this basis, the current petition is subject to summary dismissal. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b); Burton, 549 U.S. 147; McNabb, 576 F.3d at 1029. The action is therefore DISMISSED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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