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Maling v. Johnson

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 21, 2018

JEH CHARLES JOHNSON, et al., Respondents.



         Petitioner brought this action for writ of habeas corpus seeking release from immigration detention. The petition was denied on July 17, 2017. ECF No. 29. On July 31, 2017, petitioner filed a “Motion to Make Additional Findings and Amend the Judgment.” ECF No. 31. That motion was denied on December 20, 2017. ECF No. 36. On January 2, 2018, petitioner filed a “Motion to Appoint Counsel and Proceed in Forma Pauperis” (ECF No. 37), a “Motion for Release Pending Appeal” (ECF No. 38), and a Notice of Appeal (ECF No. 39). As discussed below, the motions to appoint counsel and to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) are denied and it is recommended that petitioner's motion for release be denied.

         Appointment of Counsel and In Forma Pauperis Status

         I. Request to Proceed IFP

         Petitioner's appeal is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit. Nevertheless, “[t]he decision to allow an appeal to proceed IFP remains within the jurisdiction of the trial court after the filing of an appeal.” Zambrano v. Gipson, No. LA CV 15-01794, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124226, 2016 WL 4040649, at *1 (C.D. Cal. July 6, 2016) (citation omitted). And, although the district judge declined to issue a certificate of appealability (“COA”) (ECF No. 29), the standard for granting an application to proceed IFP is lower than that for a COA. See Gardner v. Pogue, 558 F.3d 548, 550 (9th Cir. 1977) (“To the extent that appellant equates the issuance of a certificate of probable cause[1] with permission to prosecute an appeal in forma pauperis, he has misstated the law. . . . The test for granting a certificate of probable cause is stricter.”).

         Nevertheless, the court must deny petitioner's current request to proceed IFP. Crucially, he has failed to comply with the requirements of Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(1).[2] He has not provided the required affidavit or otherwise shown his inability to pay or to give security for fees and costs. Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(1)(A). Rather, he simply states that his savings have “been siphoned by the legal expenses [he] has incurred” and that he has “no way of paying for the court fees.” ECF No. 37 at 2. The appellate rules require an affidavit that “shows the detail prescribed by Form 4 of the Appendix of Forms.” Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(1)(A). That required detail is far greater than what petitioner has provided. Thus, petitioner's request to proceed IFP will be denied without prejudice.

         II. Request for Appointment of Counsel

         A district court may appoint counsel for financially eligible petitioners seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 when the interests of justice so require. See 18 U.S.C. § 3006A (a)(2). The court finds that the interests of justice do not militate in favor of appointment in this case. Notably, the court has already denied the current petition and declined to issue a certificate of appealability. ECF No. 29. Additionally, petitioner's claims are neither novel nor complex and, based on his petition, he appears capable of articulating those claims himself.

         Motion for Release Pending Appeal

         Petitioner also requests, pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 23(b), [3] he be released on “reasonable bond and/or reasonable conditions on (sic) supervision.” ECF No. 38 at 2. The Ninth Circuit has previously held that the applicable standard for evaluating such a request is:

the traditional standard for interim injunctive relief, [according to which] the moving party must show either (1) a probability of success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable harm, or (2) that serious legal questions are raised and the balance of hardships tips sharply in the moving party's favor.

         Nadarajah v. Gonzales, 443 F.3d 1069, 1083 (9th Cir. 2006). As noted in the foregoing section, this court has already denied petitioner's claims and declined to issue a certificate of appealability. For the same reasons that the petition was denied and no certificate was issued, the court concludes that petitioner's probability of success on the merits is low.

         Addressing the irreparable harm prong, petitioner argues that he has spent more than 34 months in “prison-like detention” and the failure to release him pending the outcome of his appeal would cause him to “be suffering irreparable harm further (sic).” While the loss of personal liberty even for limited duration is irreparable, this prong must be viewed in the context full of detention considerations under Fed. R. App. P. 23(b). Petitioner argues that: (1) he considers this country his home; (2) his family members are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents; and (3) that he goes to school, church, and works in Northern California. ECF No. 38 at 2. These are important considerations but do not take account of the government's rationale for his continued detention. A recent decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals determined that petitioner was ineligible for bond because he was a flight risk. ECF No. 35 at 12-13. It noted that petitioner “fled his native Philippines to avoid a pending homicide charge” and affirmed the Immigration Judge's ...

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