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Briggs v. State

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 5, 2017

KEVIN BRIGGS, Petitioner,
v.
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.

          ORDER OF DISMISSAL DOCKET NO. 19

          EDWARD M. CHEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Kevin Briggs filed this pro se action seeking a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondent has moved to dismiss the habeas petition as untimely and procedurally defaulted. Mr. Briggs has not opposed the motion. For the reasons discussed below, the Court determines that the action is timely but procedurally defaulted, and dismisses the action as procedurally defaulted.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. State Court Activities

         Mr. Briggs pled no contest and was convicted in Santa Clara County Superior Court of making a criminal threat. He also admitted having suffered a prior conviction. In September 2013, he was sentenced to a term of four years in prison.

         Mr. Briggs appealed. The California Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of conviction on September 11, 2014. See People v. Briggs, No. H040202, 2014 WL 4471546 (Cal.Ct.App. Sept. 11, 2014). Mr. Briggs did not file a petition for review in the California Supreme Court.

         Mr. Briggs filed three habeas petitions in the state courts. On November 4, 2014, he signed and apparently mailed a habeas petition in the California Court of Appeal, challenging both his 2006 parole revocation in another case and his enhanced sentence in this case due to the parole revocation. (State Petition # 1). The California Court of Appeal summarily denied State Petition # 1 on December 16, 2014.

         On June 29, 2015, Mr. Briggs filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the California Supreme Court, again challenging both his 2006 parole revocation in another case and his enhanced sentence in this case due to the parole revocation. (State Petition # 2.) On October 14, 2015, the California Supreme Court denied State Petition # 2 in an order citing In re Robbins, 18 Cal.4th 770, 780 (Cal. 1998), and In re Swain, 34 Cal. 2d 300, 304 (Cal. 1949). See Docket No. 19-1 at 46.

         On September 13, 2015, Mr. Briggs signed and apparently mailed another petition for writ of habeas corpus in the California Supreme Court. (State Petition # 3.) On December 9, 2015, the California Supreme Court denied State Petition # 3 in an order citing In re Clark, 5 Cal.4th 750, 767-69 (Cal. 1993). See Docket No. 19-1 at 70.

         B. Earlier Federal Court Filings

         Although not mentioned in Respondent's moving papers -- and before filing this action --Mr. Briggs made some earlier efforts to file a federal habeas action challenging his current conviction.

         On April 15, 2015, Mr. Briggs filed a one-page document entitled “petition for writ of habeas corpus and motion for stay and abeyance pending exhaustion of claim in state court.” Docket No. 1 in Briggs v. State of California, N.D. Cal. No. 15-cv-1853 NJV. Other than its title, the document does not purport to be a petition for writ of habeas corpus; the document does not identify the conviction being challenged or assert any claim for relief, and instead simply states that Mr. Briggs is pursuing a habeas petition in the Santa Clara County Superior Court and requests a stay pending the exhaustion of state court remedies. Id. Magistrate Judge Vadas construed the document to be a letter requesting a stay (rather than an actual habeas petition), and dismissed the action without prejudice because Mr. Briggs had not filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus although he was notified of that deficiency and given an opportunity to file a habeas petition. Docket No. 9 in Briggs v. State of California, N.D. Cal. No. 15-cv-1853 NJV.

         A few months later, Mr. Briggs filed a form petition for writ of habeas corpus in the federal court. The habeas petition contained several claims for relief and challenged his current conviction. The habeas petition was mailed to the court on September 16, 2015, and stamped “filed” on October 5, 2015. Docket No. 1 in Briggs v. State of California, Case No. 15-cv-4576 . At the same time, Mr. Briggs also filed a motion to stay proceedings in federal court while he exhausted his state court remedies. Docket No. 2 in Briggs v. State of California, Case No. 15-cv-4576. On October 29, 2015, Magistrate Judge Vadas (to whom Case No. 15-cv-4576 was assigned) construed the petition to have only unexhausted claims, and dismissed it ...


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