United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DECLINING TO ISSUE CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
[ECF NOS. 11, 12]
Cynthia Bashant, United States District Judge
Pedro Rodriguez, a state prisoner proceeding pro se,
filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. On January 12, 2017, the Court dismissed the
Petition for two reasons. (ECF No. 2.) First, the Court noted
Petitioner had failed to pay the filing fee and had not moved
to proceed in forma pauperis. (Id.) Second,
the Court concluded it is barred from considering
Petitioner's claims under the abstention doctrine
announced in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).
The Court reasoned this doctrine bars consideration of
Petitioner's claims because his criminal case is still
ongoing in state court, the state criminal proceedings
involve important state interests, and Petitioner fails to
demonstrate he has not been afforded an adequate opportunity
to raise his claims in the state proceeding. (Id.)
Further, Petitioner had not demonstrated extraordinary
circumstances that would relieve the Court of its obligation
to abstain from ongoing state criminal proceedings.
(Id.) Thus, the Court dismissed the Petition without
prejudice. (Id.) The Court later denied a motion for
relief from judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
60(b). (ECF No. 8)
February 27, 2017, Petitioner appealed the Court's
dismissal of his Petition. (ECF No. 9.) He also filed on
March 1, 2017, a motion for a certificate of appealability.
(ECF No. 11.) On March 13, 2017, the Ninth Circuit issued an
order (i) noting that this Court had not issued or declined
to issue a certificate of appealability and (ii) remanding
this case “for the limited purpose of granting or
denying a certificate of appealability.” (ECF No. 12.)
Appeal from Order Dismissing Petition
petitioner may not appeal “the final order in a habeas
corpus proceeding in which the detention complained of arises
out of process issued by a State court” unless “a
circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of
appealability.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c). “A
certificate of appealability may issue . . . only if the
applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right.” Id. In Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000), the Supreme Court
articulated a two-part standard governing the issuance of a
certificate of appealability when a district court denies a
habeas petition on procedural grounds. The Court stated:
When the district court denies a habeas petition on
procedural grounds without reaching the prisoner's
underlying constitutional claim, a [certificate of
appealability] should issue when the prisoner shows, at
least,  that jurists of reason would find it debatable
whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right and  that jurists of reason would
find it debatable whether the district court was correct in
its procedural ruling.
the Court principally dismissed the Petition because the
Court concluded it is barred from considering
Petitioner's claims based on Younger abstention.
(ECF No. 2 at 2:25-3:2.) Given that the Court did not reach
the merits of Petitioner's claims, the Court's
decision constitutes a dismissal on procedural grounds.
See Slack, 529 U.S. at 484; accord Strickland v.
Wilson, 399 F.App'x 391, 395 (10th Cir. 2010)
(noting dismissal based on Younger abstention was a
dismissal on procedural grounds for certificate of
appealability purposes). In applying the two-part standard
mentioned above, the Court finds issuing a certificate of
appealability from its order of dismissal is not appropriate.
Reasonable jurists would not find debatable both whether (1)
the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right and (2) this Court's procedural
ruling was correct. See Slack, 529 U.S. at 484.
Thus, the Court declines to issue a certificate of
appealability from its order dismissing the Petition without
prejudice. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c).
Appeal from Order Denying Rule 60(b) Motion
Lynch v. Blodgett, 999 F.2d 401, 402-03 (9th Cir.
1993), the Ninth Circuit held that a certificate of probable
cause-the predecessor to the certificate of appealability
under the former version of 28 U.S.C. § 2253-was
required to appeal the denial of a Rule 60(b) motion in a 28
U.S.C. § 2254 habeas proceeding. Since the revision to
28 U.S.C. § 2253 as part of the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”),
the Ninth Circuit has only “implicitly held” that
a petitioner must now obtain a certificate of appealability
in this context. See United States v. Winkles, 795
F.3d 1134, 1140 (9th Cir. 2015) (discussing Langford v.
Day, 134 F.3d 1381 (9th Cir.1998)). That said, in
United States v. Winkles, the Ninth Circuit held a
petitioner must obtain a certificate of appealability to
appeal the denial of a Rule 60(b) motion in an analogous
context-a habeas proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. 795
F.3d at 1143. In that context, the court held a certificate
should issue “if the movant shows that (1) jurists of
reason would find it debatable whether the district court
abused its discretion in denying the Rule 60(b) motion and
(2) jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the
underlying section 2255 motion states a valid claim of the
denial of a constitutional right.” Id.
district courts have since concluded the Ninth Circuit's
reasoning in Winkles for habeas proceedings under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 is equally applicable to those under 28
U.S.C. § 2254. E.g., Sakellaridis v.
Davey, No. 15-cv-01154-DAD-EPG-HC, 2017 WL 272216, at *2
(E.D. Cal. Jan. 20, 2017); Adams v. Hedgpeth, No. LA
CV-1103852 VBF-FFM, 2016 WL 4035607, at *14 (C.D. Cal. June
8, 2016); Ceja v. Scribner, No. LA CV
07-00606-VBF-KES, 2016 WL 3996152, at *8 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 19,
2016). This Court agrees. In Winkles, the Ninth
Circuit noted that “section 2255 ‘was intended to
mirror § 2254 in operative effect, ' and that the
language used in sections 2253(c)(1)(A) and (c)(1)(B) is
functionally identical.” 795 F.3d at 1141 (quoting
Jones v. Ryan, 733 F.3d 825, 830 n.1 (9th Cir.
2013)). Accordingly, the Court will adapt the standard from
Winkles for § 2255 proceedings and apply it to
the Court's denial of Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion
in this § 2254 proceeding.
Court denied Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion because it
concluded he had not demonstrated the requisite extraordinary
circumstances for relief. (ECF No. 8 at 2:14-21.) The Court
finds Petitioner has not demonstrated that (1) jurists of
reason would find it debatable whether this Court abused its
discretion in denying the Rule 60(b) motion, and (2) jurists
of reason would find it debatable whether the Petition states
a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right.
See Winkles, 795 F.3d at 1143. Consequently, the
Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability from
its order denying Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion.
in response to the Ninth Circuit's order (ECF No. 12),
the Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability
from either (a) its order dismissing the Petition without
prejudice or (b) its order denying Petitioner's Rule
60(b) motion. The Court therefore also ...