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Wooten v. Kernan

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 25, 2017

WILLIAM FRED WOOTEN, Petitioner,
v.
SCOTT KERNAN, et al., Respondents.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION FOR ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENTS' MOTION TO DISMISS PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS [ECF No. 8].

          Hon. William V. Gallo United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         William Fred Wooten (“Petitioner”) filed a pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Petition”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 on January 17, 2017, which challenges his 2014 state conviction. (See ECF No. 1.) Now before the Court is Respondents' Scott Kernan, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Kamala D. Harris, former Attorney General of California, [1] (“Respondents”) Motion to Dismiss. Respondents argue the Court should dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction, or in the alternative, for mootness. (See ECF No. 8.)

         For the reasons that follow, the Court RECOMMENDS the Motion be GRANTED and the Petition DISMISSED with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. State Court Background

         On August 13, 2014, a jury convicted Petitioner of violating California Penal Code Section 422, making a criminal threat. (ECF No. 9-1 at 139.)[2] On December 2, 2014, the state court sentenced Petitioner to sixteen months in state prison. (ECF No. 9-2 at 133.) At the time of that sentencing, Petitioner was granted 641 days of credit for time served. (Id.) Prior to this, on April 4, 2014, the United States Marshals Service placed a detainer on Petitioner, indicating Petitioner was wanted in a federal jurisdiction for trial upon release from state custody. (ECF No. 9-2 at 131.) Petitioner was released from state custody and transferred to federal custody on an unknown date. On or around September 8, 2015, Petitioner was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison for unidentified charges (ECF No.1 at 13).[3]

         On December 8, 2014, Petitioner filed a direct appeal to the California court of appeal claiming seven grounds for relief. (See ECF Nos. 1 at 2, 9-8.) The court of appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment in full in an unpublished opinion issued on November 12, 2015. (ECF No. 9-11 at 1.) On December 14, 2015, Petitioner sought review in the Supreme Court of California, raising the same seven claims. (Id.) The petition for review was denied without comment on February 17, 2016. (ECF No. 9-13.) Petitioner did not seek collateral review of his claims.

         B. Federal Court Background

         On January 17, 2017, Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 2254, which sought to attack his 2014 state court conviction. (ECF No. 1.) On April 28, 2017, Respondents filed a motion to dismiss arguing the court lacks jurisdiction or, in the alternative, the Petition is moot. (See ECF Nos. 8, 8-1.) On June 5, 2017, Petitioner timely filed a Response in Opposition. (ECF. No. 11.)

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. “In Custody” Requirement

         i. Petitioner Does Not Meet The “In Custody” Requirement Pursuant To § 2254

         Respondents move to dismiss the Petition for lack of jurisdiction. (ECF No. 8-1 at 1.) Respondents argue Petitioner does not fulfill the “in custody” requirement pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 because he was not in state custody when he filed the Petition. (Id.) In his reply to Respondents' Motion to Dismiss, Petitioner concedes that he had fully served his state ...


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