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Brown v. Paramo

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 7, 2017

MATTHEW AARON BROWN, Petitioner,
v.
PARAMO, Respondent.

          ORDER FOR RESPONDENT TO SHOW CAUSE DOCKET NO. 2

          JAMES DONATO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Matthew Aaron Brown, a state prisoner, filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He has paid the filing fee.

         BACKGROUND

         A jury found petitioner guilty of second degree murder. People v. Brown, No. A144660, 2016 WL 6744989, at *1 (Cal.Ct.App. Nov. 15, 2016). The California Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction. Id. at 8. The California Supreme Court denied review. Petition at 16.

         DISCUSSION

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         This Court may entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus “in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); Rose v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975). Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). An application for a federal writ of habeas corpus filed by a prisoner who is in state custody pursuant to a judgment of a state court must “specify all the grounds for relief available to the petitioner ... [and] state the facts supporting each ground.” Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. “‘[N]otice' pleading is not sufficient, for the petition is expected to state facts that point to a ‘real possibility of constitutional error.'” Rule 4 Advisory Committee Notes (quoting Aubut v. Maine, 431 F.2d 688, 689 (1st Cir. 1970)).

         LEGAL CLAIMS

         As grounds for federal habeas relief, petitioner asserts that: (1) the trial court erred by precluding him from testifying about his knowledge of the victim's violent acts against third parties; and (2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that petitioner's testimony about the victim's violent acts was proper. Liberally construed, these claims are sufficient to require a response.

         Petitioner has also requested the appointment of counsel. The Sixth Amendment's right to counsel does not apply in habeas corpus actions. Knaubert v. Goldsmith, 791 F.2d 722, 728 (9th Cir. 1986). However, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B) provides that in habeas cases, whenever “the court determines that the interests of justice so require”, representation may be provided for any financially eligible person. Petitioner has presented his claims adequately, and they are not particularly complex.

         CONCLUSION

         1. The motion to appoint counsel (Docket No. 2) is DENIED.

         2. The clerk shall serve by regular mail a copy of this order and the petition and all attachments thereto on respondent and respondent's attorney, the Attorney General of the State of California. The clerk also shall serve a copy of this order on petitioner.

         3. Respondent shall file with the Court and serve on petitioner, within fifty-six (56) days of the issuance of this order, an answer conforming in all respects to Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, showing cause why a writ of habeas corpus should not be granted. Respondent shall file with the answer and serve on petitioner a copy of all portions of the state trial record that have ...


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