United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
JOSEPHINE L. STATON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254 on April 24, 2018. According to the
petition, petitioner is currently in state custody and is
awaiting a criminal trial on charges of attempted murder,
battery, and resisting a peace officer. (ECF No. 1 at 2.) In
the state court preliminary proceedings, petitioner elected
to represent himself. The trial court, however, subsequently
revoked petitioner's pro per status based upon its
findings that petitioner had engaged in disruptive and
obstructive conduct both in and out of court. (ECF No. 1 at
challenged the trial court's ruling by filing a petition
for a writ of mandate in the California Court of Appeal.
(Case No. B286230.) After the petition was denied, petitioner
filed a petition for review in the California Supreme Court.
(Case No. S246177.) His petition also was denied. (ECF No.
federal habeas corpus petition, petitioner alleges that the
trial court's revocation of his pro per status violates
his rights under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806
(1974). Petitioner seeks an order directing the state trial
court to restore his pro per status in the criminal
proceedings. (See ECF No. 1 at 17.) For the
following reasons, the petition is subject to summary
principles of comity and federalism prohibit the federal
courts from enjoining ongoing state proceedings except under
‘extraordinary circumstances.'” Brown v.
Ahern, 676 F.3d 899, 900 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 45 (1971)). The
longstanding public policy against federal court interference
with pending state court proceedings is sufficiently
important that federal courts may raise abstention sua
sponte. See Hoye v. City of Oakland, 653 F.3d 835,
843 n.5 (9th Cir. 2011); Romero v. California, 2012
WL 1570080, at *2 (C.D. Cal. May 3, 2012) (citing New
Orleans Public Service, Inc. v. Council of New Orleans,
491 U.S. 350, 368 (1989)).
abstention is appropriate where: (1) there are ongoing state
judicial proceedings; (2) the proceedings implicate important
state interests; and (3) there is an adequate opportunity in
the state proceedings to resolve federal questions.
Middlesex County Ethics Committee v. Garden State Bar
Association, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982); Dubinka v.
Judges of Superior Ct., 23 F.3d 218, 223 (9th Cir.
1994). In this case, all three of the Younger
criteria are satisfied.
petitioner's criminal proceedings are ongoing. See,
e.g., Wilson v. Gastelo, 2017 WL 2436022, at *2
(C.D. Cal. May 15, 2017) (“Where a federal habeas
petition is filed prior to the state courts' resolution
of the petitioner's direct appeal, district courts
generally find that the above three factors are met.”),
report and recommendation adopted, 2017 WL 2432553
(C.D. Cal. June 1, 2017). Second, states have an important
interest in passing upon and correcting violations of a
criminal defendant's rights. See Roberts v.
Dicarlo, 296 F.Supp.2d 1182, 1185 (C.D. Cal. 2003)
(states have important interest in addressing violations of
criminal defendant's rights, such that Younger
abstention appropriate where petitioner's direct appeal
pending in state court of appeal). Third, petitioner has an
adequate opportunity in the state trial and appellate
proceedings to resolve any federal questions that may have
arisen during the proceedings, including an alleged violation
of his right of self-representation. See Middlesex County
Ethics Committee, 457 U.S. at 432 (where vital state
interests involved, federal court should abstain unless state
law clearly bars interposition of constitutional claims)
(citations and quotations omitted); Pennzoil Co. v.
Texaco, Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 15 (1987) (federal court
should assume state procedures will afford adequate
opportunity for consideration of constitutional claims in
absence of unambiguous authority to contrary).
circumstances may render abstention inappropriate. In
particular, abstention may not be warranted where a
prosecution is “undertaken by state officials without
hope of obtaining a valid conviction, ” or if a
challenged criminal statute is “flagrantly and patently
violative of express constitutional prohibitions.”
Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 85 (1971); see
also Espinoza v. Montgomery, 107 F.Supp.3d 1038, 1042
(N.D. Cal. 2015) (abstention may not be warranted if
“the party seeking relief in federal court does not
have an adequate remedy at law and will suffer irreparable
injury if denied equitable relief” or “the state
tribunal is incompetent by reason of bias”). Here,
nothing suggests that such extraordinary circumstances exist.
the petition is dismissed without prejudice to its refiling
after petitioner's state criminal proceedings (including
his direct appeal) are completed and his federal claims have
been properly presented to the California courts. See
Gomez v. FBI, 2017 WL 5668027, at *2 (CD. Cal. Nov. 27,
2017) (summary dismissal warranted where all of the
Younger requirements were satisfied and no
extraordinary circumstances existed); Romero v.
California, 2012 WL 1570080, at *2 (CD. Cal. May 3,
2012) (“under the Younger Abstention Doctrine,
this Court is barred from directly interfering with
Romero's ongoing state criminal proceedings”).
 The Court takes judicial notice of the
relevant state court dockets, which are accessible at
Fed. Rule Evid. 201; Harris v. County of Orange, 682