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Valdez v. Muniz

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 14, 2017

JOE DOMINGUEZ VALDEZ, Petitioner,
v.
W.L. MUNIZ, Respondent.

         FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, MOTION TO STAY PETITION FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO ASSIGN DISTRICT COURT JUDGE TO MATTER (DOCS. 2-3)

          MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges a September 16, 2013 conviction from the Tulare County Superior Court for 26 counts including two counts of attempted murder, discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, conspiracy, participation in a criminal street gang, receipt of stolen property, and narcotics offenses. (Pet., ECF No. 1.) In the petition, it appears that Petitioner is presenting four claims for relief based on claims previously presented to the California Supreme Court in his direct appeals and collateral appeals in the form of petitions for writs of habeas corpus. (See Pet.)

         In the petition, Petitioner asserted that all of the claims were previously exhausted in state court. (See Pet. at 12 (Answering “Yes” to question 13 of the form petition that asks if all grounds for relief have been presented to the highest state court.).) Petitioner now moves the Court to stay the petition while he pursues additional claims that he is filing in the state courts. (Mot. to Stay, ECF No. 3.) However, Petitioner does not describe the additional claims he is attempting to bring in state court or the status of any petitions presently filed before the state courts.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Exhaustion of State Remedies

         The exhaustion of available state remedies is a prerequisite to a federal court's consideration of claims presented in habeas corpus proceedings. See Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 102 S.Ct. 1198, 71 L.Ed.2d 379 (1982); 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). 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. at 518.

         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). 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). 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 that would control resolution of the claim on federal grounds. Hiivala v. Wood, 195 F.3d 1098, 1106-07 (9th Cir. 1999); Johnson v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 830-31 (9th Cir. 1996); . . . .
In Johnson, we explained that the petitioner must alert the state court to the fact that the relevant claim is a federal one without regard to how similar the state and federal standards for reviewing the claim may ...

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