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Cole v. Adams

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 12, 2017

KARI MARIE COLE, Petitioner,
DARRELL ADAMS, Warden, Respondent.





         On June 18, 2000, Petitioner was convicted in the Fresno County Superior Court of second degree murder with gun enhancements. Petitioner was sentenced to an indeterminate term of forty-years-to-life. Petitioner sought review in the state courts.

         This petition challenges the 2000 conviction and presents a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. However, the instant petition is successive. Petitioner has filed two prior habeas petitions concerning the 2000 conviction: Case No. 1:06-cv-00222-LJO-TAG-HC, Cole v. Gonzales (dismissed for failure to prosecute); and Case No. 1:11-cv-00800-GSA-HC, Cole v. On Habeas Corpus (dismissed as successive).


         A dismissal for failure to prosecute is treated as a judgment on the merits. Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211, 228 (1995); Reyes v. United States, 1999 WL 1021815 *3 (E.D.N.Y.1999) (dismissal of first habeas petition for failure to prosecute pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b) constitutes dismissal on the merits and renders subsequently filed habeas petition second or successive). If a previous petition is deemed to have been decided on the merits, then a subsequent petition raising the same claims or challenging the same conviction is treated as a successive petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). A federal court must dismiss a second or successive petition that raises the same grounds as a prior petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(1). The court must also dismiss a second or successive petition raising a new ground unless the petitioner can show that 1) the claim rests on a new, retroactive, constitutional right or 2) the factual basis of the claim was not previously discoverable through due diligence, and these new facts establish by clear and convincing evidence that but for the constitutional error, no reasonable factfinder would have found the applicant guilty of the underlying offense. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)(A)-(B). However, it is not the district court that decides whether a second or successive petition meets these requirements, which allow a petitioner to file a second or successive petition.

         Section 2244 (b)(3)(A) provides: "Before a second or successive application permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application." In other words, Petitioner must obtain leave from the Ninth Circuit before she can file a second or successive petition in district court. See Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 656-657 (1996). This Court must dismiss any second or successive petition unless the Court of Appeals has given Petitioner leave to file the petition because a district court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over a second or successive petition. Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 152 (2007); Cooper v. Calderon, 274 F.3d 1270, 1274 (9th Cir. 2001).

         Because the current petition was filed after April 24, 1996, the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) apply to Petitioner's current petition. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 327 (1997). Petitioner makes no showing that she has obtained prior leave from the Ninth Circuit to file her successive petition attacking the conviction. That being so, this Court has no jurisdiction to consider Petitioner's renewed application for relief from that conviction under Section 2254 and must dismiss the petition. See Greenawalt, 105 F.3d at 1277; Nunez, 96 F.3d at 991.


         A prisoner seeking a writ of habeas corpus has no absolute entitlement to appeal a district court's denial of his petition, and an appeal is only allowed in certain circumstances. Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 335-36 (2003). The controlling statute in determining whether to issue a certificate of appealability is 28 U.S.C. § 2253, which provides as follows:

(a) In a habeas corpus proceeding or a proceeding under section 2255 before a district judge, the final order shall be subject to review, on appeal, by the court of appeals for the circuit in which the proceeding is held.
(b) There shall be no right of appeal from a final order in a proceeding to test the validity of a warrant to remove to another district or place for commitment or trial a person charged with a criminal offense against the United States, or to test the ...

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