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Simpson v. MacOmber

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 5, 2015

EARL SIMPSON, Petitioner,
v.
JEFF MACOMBER, Respondent.

ORDER CONSTRUING PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS AS A PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY PETITION SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED FOR EXHAUSTION

GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner is a former state prisoner who has been civilly committed to Coalinga State Hospital. On April 9, 2015, Petitioner filed the instant action by filing a document entitled "Petition for Writ of Mandamus and Prohibition." Petitioner has consented to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

I.

DISCUSSION

A. Construing Petitioner's Filing as a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

It appears that Petitioner is challenging the fact of his commitment to Coalinga State Hospital, and therefore, his federal remedy is a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500, 93 S.Ct. 1827, 36 L.Ed.2d 439 (1973). A habeas corpus petition is the sole federal vehicle for challenging the fact or duration of confinement. Id. at 498-99. Civilly committed persons may pursue habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 to challenge their involuntary civil commitment. Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 176, 121 S.Ct. 2120, 150 L.Ed.2d 251 (2001) (stating that a state court order of civil commitment satisfies Section 2254's "in custody" requirement); Huftile v. Miccio-Fonseca, 410 F.3d 1136, 1139-40 (9th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1166, 126 S.Ct. 2325, 164 L.Ed.2d 844 (2006) ("[D]etainees under an involuntary civil commitment scheme... may use a § 2254 habeas petition to challenge a term of confinement."); Hubbart v. Knapp, 379 F.3d 773 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 1071, 125 S.Ct. 913, 160 L.Ed.2d 807 (2005) (adjudicating habeas challenge to civil commitment under California's Sexually Violent Predator Act). Thus, plaintiff's sole remedy for invalidating his civil commitment in federal court and obtaining release from Coalinga State Hospital is a habeas petition. Therefore, Petitioner's filing will be construed as a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

B. Exhaustion of State Remedies

Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases requires the Court to make a preliminary review of each petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Court must dismiss a petition "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition... that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." See Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490 (9th Cir. 1990).

A petitioner who is in state custody and wishes to collaterally challenge his civil commitment by a petition for writ of habeas corpus must exhaust state judicial remedies. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1). The exhaustion doctrine is based on comity to the state court and gives the state court the initial opportunity to correct the state's alleged constitutional deprivations. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991); Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518 (1982); Buffalo v. Sunn, 854 F.2d 1158, 1163 (9th Cir. 1988).

A petitioner can satisfy the exhaustion requirement by providing the highest state court with a full and fair opportunity to consider each claim before presenting it to the federal court. Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 276 (1971); Johnson v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 829 (9th Cir. 1996). A federal court will find that the highest state court was given a full and fair opportunity to hear a claim if the petitioner has presented the highest state court with the claim's factual and legal basis. Duncan, 513 U.S. at 365 (legal basis); Kenney v. Tamayo-Reyes, 504 U.S. 1, 8-10 (1992) (factual basis).

Additionally, the petitioner must have specifically told the state court that he was raising a federal constitutional claim. Duncan, 513 U.S. at 365-66; Lyons v. Crawford, 232 F.3d 666, 669 (9th Cir.2000), amended, 247 F.3d 904 (2001); Hiivala v. Wood, 195 F.3d 1098, 1106 (9th Cir.1999); Keating v. Hood, 133 F.3d 1240, 1241 (9th Cir.1998). In Duncan, the United States Supreme Court reiterated the rule as follows:

In Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275... (1971), we said that exhaustion of state remedies requires that petitioners "fairly presen[t]" federal claims to the state courts in order to give the State the "opportunity to pass upon and correct alleged violations of the prisoners' federal rights" (some internal quotation marks omitted). If state courts are to be given the opportunity to correct alleged violations of prisoners' federal rights, they must surely be alerted to the fact that the prisoners are asserting claims under the United States Constitution. If a habeas petitioner wishes to claim that an evidentiary ruling at a state court trial denied him the due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, he must say so, not only in federal court, but in state court.

Duncan, 513 U.S. at 365-366. The Ninth Circuit examined the rule further, stating:

Our rule is that a state prisoner has not "fairly presented" (and thus exhausted) his federal claims in state court unless he specifically indicated to that court that those claims were based on federal law. See Shumway v. Payne, 223 F.3d 982, 987-88 (9th Cir. 2000). Since the Supreme Court's decision in Duncan, this court has held that the petitioner must make the federal basis of the claim explicit either by citing federal law or the decisions of federal courts, even if the federal basis is "self-evident, " Gatlin v. Madding, 189 F.3d 882, 889 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 7... (1982), or the underlying claim would be decided under state law on the same considerations ...

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