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Branson v. People

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 13, 2015

JAMES WILSON BRANSON, Petitioner,
v.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO GRANT RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS ORDER DIRECTING OBJECTIONS TO BE FILED WITHIN TWENTY-ONE DAYS ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR STAY (Doc. 9)

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

As to this petition, [1] proceeding according to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, Respondent contends it untimely and is unexhausted and on that basis moves the Court to dismiss it. The Court agrees and finds also that it lacks jurisdiction due to Petitioner's failure to name a proper respondent.[2] Therefore, the Court recommends the petition be dismissed.

DISCUSSION

A. Procedural Grounds for Motion to Dismiss

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; See, e.g., O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d 418, 420 (9th Cir. 1990) (using Rule 4 to evaluate motion to dismiss petition for failure to exhaust state remedies). Thus, a Respondent can file a Motion to Dismiss after the court orders a response, and the Court should use Rule 4 standards to review the motion. See Hillery, 533 F.Supp. at 1194 & n. 12.

B. Limitation Period For Filing Petition For Writ Of Habeas Corpus

On April 24, 1996, Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). The AEDPA imposes various requirements on all petitions for writ of habeas corpus filed after the date of its enactment. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 117 S.Ct. 2059, 2063 (1997); Jeffries v. Wood, 114 F.3d 1484, 1499 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc), cert. denied, 118 S.Ct. 586 (1997). The instant petition was filed on January 15, 2015, and thus, it is subject to the provisions of the AEDPA.

The AEDPA imposes a one-year period of limitation on petitioners seeking to file a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). In most cases, the limitation period begins running on the date that the petitioner's direct review became final. Here, Petitioner filed a petition for review that was denied by the California Supreme Court on October 1, 2008. (Lodged Document ("LD") 4). Thus, direct review would have concluded on December 30, 2008, when the ninety day period for seeking review in the United States Supreme Court expired. Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 887 (1983); Bowen v. Roe, 188 F.3d 1157, 1159 (9th Cir.1999); Smith v. Bowersox, 159 F.3d 345, 347 (8th Cir.1998). Petitioner then had one year from the following day, December 31, 2008, or until December 30, 2009, absent applicable tolling, within which to file his federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. The petition was filed on January 15, 2015, over six years after the date the one-year period would have expired. Thus, unless Petitioner is entitled to either statutory or equitable tolling, the instant petition is untimely and should be dismissed.

C. Tolling of the Limitation Period Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2)

Under the AEDPA, the statute of limitations is tolled during the time that a properly filed application for state post-conviction or other collateral review is pending in state court. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). A properly filed application is one that complies with the applicable laws and rules governing filings, including the form of the application and time limitations. Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4, 8, 121 S.Ct. 361 (2000). An application is pending during the time that a California petitioner completes a full round of [state] collateral review, " so long as there is no unreasonable delay in the intervals between a lower court decision and the filing of a petition in a higher court. Delhomme v. Ramirez, 340 F.3d 817, 819 (9th Cir. 2003), abrogated on other grounds as recognized by Waldrip v. Hall, 548 F.3d 729 (9th Cir. 2008)(per curium)(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

Nevertheless, there are circumstances and periods of time when no statutory tolling is allowed. For example, no statutory tolling is allowed for the period of time between finality of an appeal and the filing of an application for post-conviction or other collateral review in state court, because no state court application is "pending" during that time. Nino, 183 F.3d at 1006-1007; Raspberry v. Garcia, 448 F.3d 1150, 1153 n. 1 (9th Cir. 2006). Similarly, no statutory tolling is allowed for the period between finality of an appeal and the filing of a federal petition. Id. at 1007. In addition, the limitation period is not tolled during the time that a federal habeas petition is pending. Duncan v. Walker, 563 U.S. 167, 181-182 (2001); see also, Fail v. Hubbard, 315 F.3d 1059, 1060 (9th Cir. 2001)(as amended on December 16, 2002). Further, a petitioner is not entitled to statutory tolling where the limitation period has already run prior to filing a state habeas petition. Ferguson v. Palmateer, 321 F.3d 820, 823 (9th Cir. 2003) ("section 2244(d) does not permit the reinitiation of the limitations period that has ended before the state petition was filed."); Jiminez v. White, 276 F.3d 478, 482 (9th Cir. 2001). Finally, a petitioner is not entitled to continuous tolling when the petitioner's later petition raises unrelated claims. See Gaston v. Palmer, 447 F.3d 1165, 1166 (9th Cir. 2006).

Here, Petitioner does not claim to have filed any post-appeal habeas petitions until he filed a state habeas petition on March 5, 2015. (LD 5). However, that single petition does not entitle Petitioner to any statutory tolling under the AEDPA because the limitations period has already expired prior to filing a state habeas petition. Green v. White, 223 F.3d 1001, 1003 (9th Cir. 2000); Jiminez v. Rice, 276 F.3d 478 (9th Cir. 2001). As mentioned, the limitations period expired on December 30, 2009, over five years before Petitioner filed his first state habeas petition. Accordingly, he cannot avail himself of the statutory tolling provisions of the AEDPA.

D. Equitable Tolling.

The running of the one-year limitation period under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) is subject to equitable tolling in appropriate cases. See Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 651-652, 130 S.Ct. 2549, 2561 (2010); Calderon v. United States Dist. Ct., 128 F.3d 1283, 1289 (9th Cir. 1997). The limitation period is subject to equitable tolling when "extraordinary circumstances beyond a prisoner's control make it impossible to file the petition on time." Shannon v. Newland, 410 F.3d 1083, 1089-1090 (9th Cir. 2005)(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). "When external forces, rather than a petitioner's lack of diligence, account for the failure to file a timely claim, equitable tolling of the statute of limitations may be appropriate." Miles v. Prunty, 187 F.3d 1104, 1107 (9th Cir. 1999). "Generally, a litigant seeking equitable tolling bears the burden of establishing two elements: "(1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way." Holland, 560 U.S. at 651-652; Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418, 125 S.Ct. 1807 (2005). "[T]he ...


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