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Bridgewater v. People

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 16, 2017

KEITH BRIDGEWATER, Petitioner,
v.
PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.

          ORDER DISMISSING WITHOUT PREJUDICE

          Janis L. Sammartino, United States District Judge

         On September 18, 2017, Petitioner Keith Bridgewater, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, (ECF No. 1). Petitioner is incarcerated at Folsom State Prison in Sacramento County, California, and challenges a conviction from the Superior Court of Imperial County, California. (Id. at 2.) On October 25, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals transferred the Petition to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, where Petitioner is confined. (ECF No. 2.) On November 9, 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California transferred the Petition to this District, where Petitioner was convicted. (ECF No. 4.) The Petition is subject to dismissal without prejudice because Petitioner has failed to satisfy the filing fee requirement, failed to name a proper respondent, and failed to allege exhaustion of state court remedies.

         FAILURE TO SATISFY FILING FEE REQUIREMENT

         Because this Court cannot proceed until Petitioner has either paid the $5.00 filing fee or qualified to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court DISMISSES the case without prejudice. See Rule 3(a), Rules Governing §2254 Cases, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254.

         FAILURE TO NAME PROPER RESPONDENT

         Review of the Petition reveals that Petitioner has failed to name a proper respondent. On federal habeas, a state prisoner must name the state officer having custody of him as the respondent. Ortiz-Sandoval v. Gomez, 81 F.3d 891, 894 (9th Cir. 1996) (citing Rule 2(a), 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254). “Typically, that person is the warden of the facility in which the petitioner is incarcerated.” Id. Federal courts lack personal jurisdiction when a habeas petition fails to name a proper respondent. See id.

         The warden is the typical respondent. However, “the rules following section 2254 do not specify the warden.” Id. “[T]he ‘state officer having custody' may be ‘either the warden of the institution in which the petitioner is incarcerated . . . or the chief officer in charge of state penal institutions.'” Id. (quoting Rule 2(a), 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 advisory committee's note). If “a petitioner is in custody due to the state action he is challenging, ‘[t]he named respondent shall be the state officer who has official custody of the petitioner (for example, the warden of the prison).'” Id. (quoting Rule 2, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254 advisory committee's note).

         Here, Petitioner has incorrectly named “People of California” as Respondent. A long standing rule in the Ninth Circuit holds “that a petitioner may not seek [a writ of] habeas corpus against the State under . . . [whose] authority . . . the petitioner is in custody. The actual person who is [the] custodian [of the petitioner] must be the respondent.” Ashley v. Washington, 394 F.2d 125, 126 (9th Cir. 1968). This requirement exists because a writ of habeas corpus acts upon the custodian of the state prisoner, the person who will produce “the body” if directed to do so by the Court. “Both the warden of a California prison and the Director of Corrections for California have the power to produce the prisoner.” Ortiz- Sandoval, 81 F.3d at 895.

         In order for this Court to entertain the Petition filed in this action, Petitioner must name the warden in charge of the state correctional facility in which Petitioner is presently confined or the Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Brittingham v. United States, 982 F.2d 378, 379 (9th Cir. 1992) (per curiam).

         FAILURE TO ALLEGE EXHAUSTION OF STATE JUDICIAL REMEDIES

         Finally, habeas petitioners who wish to challenge either their state court conviction or the length of their confinement in state prison must first exhaust state judicial remedies. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), (c); Granberry v. Greer, 481 U.S. 129, 133-34 (1987). To exhaust state judicial remedies, a California state prisoner must present the California Supreme Court with a fair opportunity to rule on the merits of every issue raised in his or her federal habeas petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), (c); Granberry, 481 U.S. at 133-34. Moreover, to properly exhaust state court remedies a petitioner must allege, in state court, how one or more of his or her federal rights have been violated. The Supreme Court in Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364 (1995) reasoned: “If state courts are to be given the opportunity to correct alleged violations of prisoners' federal rights, they must surely be alerted to the fact that the prisoners are asserting claims under the United States Constitution.” Id. at 365-66 (emphasis added). For example, “[i]f a habeas petitioner wishes to claim that an evidentiary ruling at a state court trial denied him [or her] the due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, he [or she] must say so, not only in federal court, but in state court.” Id. at 366 (emphasis added).

         Petitioner does not allege that he raised his claims in the California Supreme Court. If Petitioner has raised his claims in the California Supreme Court he must so specify. The burden of proving that a claim has been exhausted lies with the petitioner. Cartwright v. Cupp, 650 F.2d 1103, 1104 (9th Cir. 1981).

         The Court cautions Petitioner that under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) a one-year period of limitation shall apply to a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a ...


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