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Ford v. People

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 12, 2017

DAVID TYRONE FORD, Petitioner,
v.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.

          ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO ENTER JUDGMENT AND CLOSE CASE ORDER DECLINING ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner[1] has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 claiming California's Three Strikes law is unconstitutionally vague in light of Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), and he should be resentenced. Because his claims concern issues of state law, the Court is without habeas jurisdiction. Therefore, the Court will DISMISS the petition.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Petitioner is currently serving a sentence of 25-years-to-life under California's Three Strikes law for his conviction of armed robbery. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.) He suffered two prior strikes in 1983 for robbery and attempted robbery. (Doc. No. 1, Ex. C.) On June 22, 2016, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking resentencing pursuant to Johnson. (Doc. No. 1 at 4.) On September 1, 2016, the Kern County Superior Court denied the petition finding his contentions without merit as a matter of state law, because his current conviction of armed robbery and his prior strikes for robbery and attempted robbery are clearly defined in the statutes as serious and violent felonies. (Doc. No. 1, Ex. C.) Petitioner appealed to the California Court of Appeal, Fifth District Court, which summarily denied the petition on December 8, 2016. (Doc. No. 1, Ex. B.) Petitioner then filed a petition for review in the California Supreme Court. The petition was summarily denied on February 15, 2017. (Doc. No. 1, Ex. A.) Petitioner filed this federal petition in this Court on May 1, 2017. (Doc. No. 1.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Preliminary Review of Petition

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases requires the Court to make a preliminary review of each petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Court must summarily dismiss a petition “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court . . . .” Rule 4; O'Bremski v. Maass, 915 F.2d 418, 420 (9th Cir. 1990). The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 8 indicate that the Court may dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus, either on its own motion under Rule 4, pursuant to the respondent's motion to dismiss, or after an answer to the petition has been filed.

         B. Failure to State a Cognizable Federal Claim

         The basic scope of habeas corpus is prescribed by statute. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) states:

The Supreme Court, a Justice thereof, a circuit judge, or a district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to a judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.

(emphasis added). See also Rule 1 to the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Court. The Supreme Court has held that “the essence of habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody upon the legality of that custody . . .” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973).

         Furthermore, in order to succeed in a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, Petitioner must demonstrate that the adjudication of his claim in state court

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts ...

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