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Favor v. People

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 20, 2017

BRANDON FAVOR, BOYDD IRVING, Petitioners,
v.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondents.

          ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          JESUS G. BERNAL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On January 6, 2017, Brandon Favor, a prisoner in state custody proceeding pro se, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (“Petition”) purportedly on behalf of Boydd Irving.[1] (Petition at 1, 2.)[2]

         As set forth more fully below, the instant Petition must be dismissed.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Duty to Screen

         This Court has a duty to screen habeas corpus petitions. See Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, Rule 4 Advisory Committee Notes. Rule 4 requires a district court to examine a habeas corpus petition, and if it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any annexed exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the judge shall make an order for summary dismissal of the petition. Id.; see also Local Rule 72-3.2.

         II. The Petition Must Be Summarily Dismissed

         Favor purports to file this habeas petition on behalf of Boydd Irving. Under appropriate circumstances, habeas petitions can "be brought by third parties, such as family members or agents, on behalf of a prisoner. This species of third-party habeas standing, known as next-friend standing, was examined at length by the Supreme Court in Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 161-64, 110 S.Ct. 1717, 109 L.Ed.2d 135 (1990)." Coalition of Clergy v. Bush, 310 F.3d 1153, 1158 (9th Cir. 2002). In Whitmore, the Supreme Court explained the requirements for next friend standing in habeas cases:

A "next friend" does not himself become a party to the habeas corpus action in which he participates, but simply pursues the cause on behalf of the detained person, who remains the real party in interest. Most important for present purposes, "next friend" standing is by no means granted automatically to whomever seeks to pursue an action on behalf of another. Decisions applying the habeas corpus statute have adhered to at least two firmly rooted prerequisites for "next friend" standing. First, a "next friend" must provide an adequate explanation - such as inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other disability - why the real party in interest cannot appear on his own behalf to prosecute the action. Second, the "next friend" must be truly dedicated to the best interests of the person on whose behalf he seeks to litigate, and it has been further suggested that a "next friend" must have some significant relationship with the real party in interest. The burden is on the "next friend" clearly to establish the propriety of his status and thereby justify the jurisdiction of the court.

Whitmore, 495 U.S. at 163-64 (internal citations omitted). Favor does not meet either requirement to establish “next friend” standing that would enable him to file a habeas petition on Irving's behalf. Favor makes no showing that Irving is unable appear on his own behalf to prosecute a habeas action or that Favor is truly dedicated to Irving's best interests or has a special relationship with him.[3]

         Accordingly, Favor lacks standing to bring a petition on behalf of Irving, and the Petition should be dismissed without prejudice for lack of standing.

         CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

         Under AEDPA, a state prisoner seeking to appeal a district court's final order in a habeas corpus proceeding must obtain a Certificate of Appealability (“COA”) from the district judge or a circuit judge. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A). A COA may issue “only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” Id. at § 2253(c)(2); accord Williams v. Calderon, 83 F.3d 281, 286 (9th Cir. 1996). “A petitioner satisfies this standard by demonstrating that jurists of reason could disagree with the district court's resolution of his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327 (2003); see also Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483-84 (2000).

         When a district court dismisses a petition on procedural grounds, the reviewing court should apply a two-step analysis, and a COA should issue if the petitioner can show both: (1) “that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling[;]” and (2) “that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the ...


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