United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division
L. ABRAMS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
2, 2017, Rita DeDen (“Ms. DeDen”) filed a
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State
Custody pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
(“Petition” or “Pet.”) on behalf of
her son, Brian Anthony DeDen (“petitioner”). Ms.
DeDen purports to be filing the Petition as a “next
friend, ” pursuant to Central District Local Rule
83-16.3. (Pet. at 2, Attach. to Question 9). According to the
Petition, petitioner is being “detained in Peru
awaiting extradition” to appear in Los Angeles County
Superior Court case number BA425130. (Pet. at 2). He has not
yet been convicted or sentenced. (Id.). The Petition
raises four claims: (1) many of the charges against
petitioner are barred by the four-year statute of limitations
because the acts alleged in this “real estate case . .
. were final -- contracts and grant deeds were fully executed
by property sellers beyond 4-years”; (2) the prosecutor
gave improper or no instructions to the grand jury on the
charges against petitioner; (3) the prosecutor adduced false
testimony and suppressed exculpatory evidence at the grand
jury hearing; and (4) the prosecutor “used old events .
. . to obtain false testimony from people with flexible
memories . . . to gain tactical advantage, ” and
“waited 1.5 years to seek extradition after arresting
and settling [with] all other
defendants.” (Pet. at 3-4).
“NEXT FRIEND” PETITIONS
federal court cannot consider the merits of a legal claim
unless the person seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the
court establishes the requisite standing to sue. Whitmore
v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 154, 110 S.Ct. 1717, 109
L.Ed.2d 135 (1990). A litigant demonstrates standing by
showing that he has suffered an injury in fact that is fairly
traceable to the challenged action and is redressable by a
favorable judicial decision.
party, or “next friend, ” can appear in court on
behalf of detained prisoners who are unable to seek relief
themselves. Id. at 161-62 (noting that 28 U.S.C.
§ 2242, which allows for an application for writ of
habeas corpus to be signed and verified “by the person
for whose relief it is intended or by someone acting in
his behalf, ” codified the “next
friend” doctrine) (emphasis in original). A “next
friend” does not herself become a party to the habeas
corpus action in which she participates. She merely pursues
the cause on behalf of the detained person, who remains the
real party in interest. Id. at 163.
friend' standing is by no means granted automatically to
whomever seeks to pursue an action on behalf of
another.” Id. In order for such standing to be
granted, two requisites must be satisfied. First, the
“next friend” must provide an adequate
explanation, such as inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or
other disability, why the real party in interest cannot
appear on his own behalf to prosecute the action.
See, e.g., United States ex rel. Toth
v. Quarles, 350 U.S. 11, 13 n.3, 76 S.Ct. 1, 100 L.Ed. 8
(1955) (habeas petition brought by sister on behalf of
civilian prisoner held in military prison in Korea);
Massie ex rel. Kroll v. Woodford, 244 F.3d 1192,
1196 (9th Cir. 2001) (next friend must present
“meaningful evidence” that petitioner is
suffering from a mental disease, disorder, or defect that
substantially affects his capacity to make an intelligent
decision); Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 294 F.3d 598 (4th Cir.
2002) (father of alleged enemy combatant detained at a naval
station brig in Virginia granted “next friend”
standing). Second, the “next friend” must have
some significant relationship with, and be truly dedicated
to, the best interests of the petitioner. Massie,
244 F.3d at 1194 (citing Whitmore, 495 U.S. at 163);
cf. Coalition of Clergy, Lawyers, and Professors v.
Bush, 310 F.3d 1153, 1161-62 (9th Cir. 2002) (coalition
lacks standing as “next friend” because it had
not demonstrated any relations with the detainees on whose
behalf the petition was brought). It is clear that a
“next friend” may not file a habeas corpus
petition on behalf of a detainee if the detainee himself
could file the petition. See Whitmore, 495 U.S. at
163 (citing Wilson v. Lane, 870 F.2d 1250, 1253 (7th
Cir. 1989)). These limitations were placed so that the writ
of habeas corpus should not be availed of, as a matter of
course, by intruders or uninvited meddlers, styling
themselves as “next friends.” Whitmore,
495 U.S. at 164. Where a habeas petition is brought by an
individual who lacks standing to proceed as “next
friend” of the petitioner, the Court lacks jurisdiction
over the action. See id. at 166.
forth above, Ms. DeDen has filed the current Petition on
behalf of her son who is being detained in Peru awaiting
extradition. Although Ms. DeDen presumably has a significant
relationship with her son and is dedicated to his best
interests, she has not made any showing as to this
prerequisite. Neither has she demonstrated that
petitioner's detention in Peru renders him
“inaccessible” for purposes of asserting her
“next friend” status. Her desire to litigate on
behalf of her son in and of itself is not sufficient.
Martinez v. Mitchell, 2009 WL 381969, at *2 (E.D.
Cal. Feb. 13, 2009).
does Local Rule 83-16.3 -- pursuant to which Ms. DeDen
purports to bring the Petition -- confer “next
friend” standing on Ms. DeDen. That rule provides the
A next friend petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
exclusion, deportation and removal cases must allege
that the petitioner has been authorized by the applicant for
admission or respondent in the proceedings to file the
petition. If the petition is filed by a relative who is the .
. . mother . . . of the applicant for admission in the
proceedings, that fact shall be alleged and authorization to
file the petition need not be shown.
Local Rule 83-16.3 (emphasis added). In this case, however,
petitioner (as alleged by Ms. DeDen) seeks to
“stay” his extradition from Peru to
appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court. (Pet. at 1,
Attach. to question 9). It appears, therefore, that Local
Rule 83-16.3, providing for “next friend” status
without showing authorization in only three specific types of
cases (exclusion, deportation, and removal), is inapplicable
in this extradition case.
EVEN A “NEXT FRIEND” CANNOT PROCEED WITHOUT
that the Whitmore requirements could be met if
competent evidence were to be provided by Ms. DeDen, even a
qualified “next friend” may not proceed with a
habeas action on behalf of another without an attorney.
See Stoner v. Santa Clara Cty. Off. of Educ., 502
F.3d 1116, 1127 (9th Cir. 2007) (although False Claims Act
authorizes a relator to bring a qui tam action on
behalf of the government, it does not authorize relator to
proceed pro se); see also Mitchell v. Yates, 2011 WL
486568, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 27, 2011) (“individuals
not licensed to practice law by the state may not use the
‘next friend' device as an artifice for the
unauthorized practice of law”) (quoting Weber v.
Garza, 570 F.2d 511, 514 (5th Cir. 1978)). Ms. DeDen
does not contend that she is an attorney, and a non-attorney
has no authority to appear on behalf of anyone but herself.
See United States v. French, 748 F.3d 922, 933 (9th
Cir. 2014) (citing Johns v. Cty. of San Diego, 114
F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997)). In short, Ms. DeDen may not
use the “next friend” vehicle to engage in the
unauthorized practice of law by acting as a pro se
“next friend.” See, e.g.,
Simon v. Hartford Life, Inc., 546 F.3d 661, 664 (9th
Cir. 2008) (“courts have routinely adhered to the
general rule prohibiting pro se plaintiffs from pursuing
claims on behalf of others in a representative