United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION AND DENYING A
CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
HONORABLE CORMAC J. CARNEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
6, 2016, petitioner, a California inmate who is proceeding
pro se, formally filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus (“Petition”) including a supporting
memorandum (“Petition Memo”), multiple voluminous
attachments and exhibits (“Petition Ex.”) and
documents which have been filed under seal. Petitioner, who
is serving an indeterminate sentence of life without the
possibility of parole, essentially contends that he was
deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to waive counsel and
represent himself during a state post-conviction proceeding
under California Penal Code section 1054.9 and that the
California Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for
review challenging such deprivation was contrary to and
involved an unreasonable application of clearly established
federal law and an unreasonable determination of the facts in
light of the evidence presented. (Petition at 2, 5-6;
Petition Memo at 2, 18-34; Petition Exs. 19, 21, 27, 38). He
requests that this Court issue multiple orders directing the
Los Angeles County Superior Court to take certain actions in
connection with its handling of the California Penal Code
section 1054.9 proceedings (e.g., vacate its denial
of petitioner’s motion to discharge counsel, allow him
to represent himself and submit certain discovery requests).
(Petition Memo at 16).
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts provides that a petition for writ of
habeas corpus “must” be summarily dismissed
“[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any
attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court.” Here, it plainly appears
from the Petition and accompanying documents that petitioner
is not entitled to the relief he seeks from this Court.
Therefore, the Petition must be dismissed.
Court may entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus on
“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). A federal
court may not grant an application for writ of habeas corpus
on behalf of a person in state custody with respect to any
claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court
proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim: (1)
“resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or
involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established
Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United
States”; or (2) “resulted in a decision that was
based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light
of the evidence presented in the State court
proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
as petitioner candidly acknowledges, “there are no
constitutional provisions during a post-conviction proceeding
regarding . . . the right to waive counsel and be
self-represented[.]” (Petition Memo at 30). While a
criminal defendant has a constitutional right under the Sixth
Amendment to proceed to trial without counsel when he
voluntarily and intelligent elects to do so, Faretta v.
California, 422 U.S. 806, 807 (1975), there is no
clearly established United States Supreme Court authority
suggesting that the United States Constitution bestows a
right to self-representation upon a petitioner in a
post-conviction proceeding. See Martinez v. Court of
Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate Distr., 528 U.S.
152, 163 (2000) (Neither holding nor reasoning in
Faretta requires California to “recognize a
constitutional right to self-representation on direct appeal
from a criminal conviction”; “In requiring
Martinez, under these circumstances, to accept against his
will a state-appointed attorney, the California courts have
not deprived him of a constitutional right.”); In
re Barnett, 31 Cal.4th 466, 475 (2003) (“Although
the United States Supreme Court has not ruled on this matter
specifically, it is logical to conclude that if there is no
federal constitutional right to self-representation in a
state appeal as of right . . . then there is no such
constitutional right in state collateral proceedings. Not
only does the Sixth Amendment right to self-representation at
trial clearly not apply, but the autonomy interests that
survive a judgment of conviction surely are no greater once
the judgment is affirmed on appeal and the inmate is
relegated to the civil remedy of seeking collaterial
relief”) (internal citation to Martinez
omitted); see also Fletcher v. Beard, 2016 WL
2866431, *3 (E.D. Pa. May 16, 2016) (no federal
constitutional right to self-representation in federal habeas
proceeding; federal court has discretion to allow petitioner
to proceed pro se or to insist that he accept
absence of a clearly established federal constitutional right
to self-representation in a post-conviction collateral
proceeding, petitioner cannot demonstrate that the decisions
of the pertinent California courts declining to allow
petitioner to represent himself in the California Penal Code
section 1054.9 habeas-related proceedings, were contrary to,
or involved an unreasonable application of clearly
established federal law or were based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence
presented. Accordingly, it plainly appears from the Petition
and accompanying documents that petitioner is not entitled to
the federal habeas relief he seeks.
THEREFORE ORDERED that the Petition is summarily dismissed.
All other pending motions are denied as moot.
Court also concludes that a certificate of appealability is
unwarranted in this case, because petitioner has failed to
make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
right and, under the circumstances, jurists of reason would
not disagree with the Court’s determinations herein.
Thus, a certificate of appealability is DENIED.
JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
California Penal Code section 1054.9
provides for a limited statutory right to post-conviction
discovery for defendants sentenced to death or life without
the possibility of parole. Barnett v. Superior
Court, 50 Cal.4th 890, 897 (2010), cert.
denied, 563 U.S. 939 (2011). It permits discovery to aid
in preparing a habeas corpus petition even before an actual
petition has been filed. In re Steele, 32 Cal.4th
682, 691 (2004). Discovery pursuant to Section 1054.9 is part
of the prosecution of a habeas corpus matter, not part of the
underlying criminal case. People v. Superior Court
(Pearson), 48 Cal.4th 564, 572 (2010); Rubio v.
Superior Court, 244 Cal.App.4th 459, 479 (2016) (citing
The Court has considered the substance of petitioner’s
Motion to Supplement Petition in assessing whether summary
dismissal is appropriate. The matters referenced therein do
not alter the Court’s analysis or ...