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Wright v. Fox

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 11, 2017

CHRISTOPHER LANE WRIGHT, Petitioner,
v.
ROBERT W. FOX, Warden, Respondent.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION RE: MOTION TO DISMISS [DOC. NO. 14]

          Jan M. Adler United States Magistrate Judge

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that the Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 14] filed by Respondent Robert W. Fox, Warden, be GRANTED and the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [Doc. No. 1 (“Petition”)] filed by Petitioner Christopher Lane Wright (“Wright”) be DISMISSED with prejudice.

         I. INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Wright has a lengthy criminal history that involves many plea-bargained convictions dating back to 1981. See Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. A at 42-46.[1]

         A. Wright's 1990 Conviction

         In July 1990, Wright was charged with several crimes in connection with two domestic violence incidents. Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. A at 43 (regarding No. CR113332). He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, Cal. Penal Code § 245(a), and was granted probation. Id.

         B. Wright's 1995 Conviction

         Thereafter, Wright violated the terms of his probation. Id. at 44. He was arrested and booked in San Diego County Central Jail in August 1995, at which point it was discovered he had smuggled cocaine base into the jail and hidden it in his cell. Id. He entered a guilty plea for the crime of possession of a controlled substance under Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11377(a) and admitted his 1990 conviction was a “strike.” Id. (regarding No. SDC114914).) He received a prison sentence for the drug possession that was enhanced by the 1990 strike. Id.

         In May 2003, after his release and after other crimes, Wright was charged with arson after setting two small fires during a domestic dispute. Id. at 45 (regarding No. SDC175183). He pleaded guilty to arson, Cal. Penal Code § 452(b), admitted he had once been to prison, Cal. Penal Code § 667.5(b), admitted the 1990 strike, and was granted probation. Id.

         C. Wright's 2004 Conviction

         Just a little more than a year later, in June 2004, while he was still on probation, Wright was arrested for shoplifting. Id. (regarding No. SCS185202).) He pleaded guilty to burglary, Cal. Penal Code § 459, and again admitted the 1990 prior strike. His probation was revoked, and he received a four-year prison term for the 2003 conviction, as well as a thirty-two-month prison term for the 2004 convictions. Id. Thus, by 2007, Wright's criminal record included a 1990 strike conviction and he had served two separate terms in prison.

         D. Wright's 2007 Conviction

         Wright was arrested again in February 2007, after he and another individual sold cocaine base to an undercover peace officer. Id. at 46 (regarding SDC204979). The charges filed against him included allegations that Wright had the 1990 strike conviction and had twice gone to prison. Id. at 73-77 (regarding SDC204979). Wright pleaded guilty to drug transportation, Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11352(a), and selling cocaine, Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11351.5; admitted he served two prior prison sentences; and further admitted his 1990 conviction was a strike. Id. at 105, ¶1, 105-07. He received a five-year sentence, but the court suspended execution and granted Wright probation. Id. at 104. His probation included conditions that he spend a year in county jail and he complete a rehabilitation program. Id. at 99-104.

         E. Wright's 2009 & 2011 Probation Hearings

         In March 2009, Wright's probation was revoked and then reinstated as modified. Id. at 46 (regarding SDC204979). During a probation and sentencing hearing held on June 10, 2011, Wright admitted that he had violated his probation and been in possession of a weapon. Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. S-1, at 1-2. Wright's probation was reinstated as modified. Id., Ex. A at 46.

         F. Wright's 2011 Conviction & Current Prison Sentence

         Five days later, on June 15, 2011, Wright was the subject of a car chase, when he fled from San Diego police officers who attempted to pull him over after witnessing him drive a speeding car with inoperative brake lights and make a reckless maneuver with the vehicle. Id. at 40-41. After leading police at high speeds on a series of South County freeways and city streets, Wright drove his vehicle into a cul-de-sac, where he was hemmed in by the pursuing police cars. Id. Wright then turned his car, drove towards a police officer standing near his stopped vehicle, and rammed into the police cruiser with sufficient force to move the car ten feet. Id. When officers attempted to subdue and detain him, Wright repeatedly asked to be killed. Id. A pipe with cocaine base residue and a bottle of Vicodin were found in the vehicle and a blood test established Wright was under the influence of cocaine, amphetamine and opiates. Id. at 41.

         In September 2011, Wright pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, admitted the 1990 strike, and agreed to a ten-year sentence for the 2011 crimes, which was based on the upper term of five years for assault, doubled to ten years due to the strike. Id., Ex. A at 26; Ex. S-3 at 36. He agreed the 2011 crimes violated the terms of his 2007 probation. Id., Ex. A at 148. He also agreed to a reduced term of three years and four months, based upon sixteen months for the 2007 conviction plus one-year each for the two prior terms in prison, instead of the originally imposed, but suspended, term. Id., Ex. A at 26; Ex. S-3 at 37. The sentence for both convictions were to be served consecutively, for a total of thirteen years and four months in prison. Id. His plea deal was accepted by the trial court during a sentencing hearing held in October 2011, at which time the court sentenced Wright to incarceration for the agreed-upon term of thirteen years and four months for both the 2007 and 2011 convictions. Id., Ex. S-3, at 36-40.

         G. Wright's Appeal

         Wright then filed a notice of appeal that he later formally abandoned. Id., Ex. A at 52; Ex. B. The California Court of Appeal accepted Wright's abandonment of the appeal and ...


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