Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wilkins v. Price

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 3, 2019

RYAN MICHAEL WILKINS, Petitioner,
v.
BRANDON PRICE, Respondent.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [DOC. 13] FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR STAY OF PROCEEDINGS [DOC. 15]

          JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On June 10, 2019, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss contending that this Court should abstain from addressing Petitioner's claims for relief and dismiss the habeas petition without prejudice. (Doc. 13.) Petitioner filed an opposition to the motion on June 20, 2019. (Doc. 14.) Subsequently, Petitioner filed a request to stay the state court proceedings on July 24, 2019. (Doc. 15.) Respondent filed an opposition to the request to stay on August 14, 2019. (Doc. 17.) The Court recommends that Respondent's motion to dismiss be GRANTED and Petitioner's motion for a stay be DENIED.

         DISCUSSION

         I. State Procedural Background

         On March 3, 2009, the district attorney's office for the County of Sacramento filed a petition in state court to designate Petitioner as a sexually violent predator pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 6600 et seq. (Doc. 13 at 18-21.) On March 27, 2009, pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 6601.5, the court reviewed the petition and found probable cause to believe that Petitioner is likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon his release. (Doc. 13 at 23.) The court ordered Petitioner to be detained in a secure facility until a hearing pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 6602 could be held. (Doc. 13 at 23.) On August 12, 2009, the court found probable cause to believe that Petitioner is likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon his release and ordered that he be transported to Coalinga State Hospital to be detained in a secure facility pending trial. (Doc. 13 at 25.) The case has been continued numerous times since then. (Doc. 13 at 10-16.)

         In April 2018, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Sacramento County Superior Court. (Doc. 13 at 2.) The superior court denied the petition on June 27, 2018 and held that Petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief because he had an available remedy in the trial court. (Doc. 13 at 27.) The superior court rejected Petitioner's claim that the SVP commitment violated the terms of his plea bargain. (Doc. 13 at 27.)

         Petitioner thereafter filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus with request for stay in the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District on July 27, 2018. (Doc. 13 at 29.) On August 2, 2018, the Third DCA denied the petition for failure to raise the claims in the superior court in the first instance. (Doc. 13 at 29-30.) The Third DCA noted that Petitioner could file a habeas corpus petition raising the same contentions in the superior court and added that Petitioner could also file a Marsden[1]motion to request to replace his appointed counsel. (Doc. 13 at 29-30.)

         Petitioner then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus with request for stay in the superior court. (Doc. 13 at 32.) On September 19, 2018, the superior court denied the petition. (Doc. 13 at 32-33.) First, the court rejected Petitioner's claim that there was no probable cause hearing, stating that “[a] review of the records demonstrates that on August 12, 2009, a Judge of the Superior Court entered an order finding probable cause to that [sic] Petitioner was likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon his release and ordered his civil commitment.” (Doc. 13 at 33.) The superior court observed that recommitment proceedings remained pending in the trial court and trial remedies were available to address Petitioner's claims. (Doc. 13 at 33.)

         On November 1, 2018, Petitioner returned to the Third DCA and filed a second petition for writ of habeas corpus with request for stay. (Doc. 13 at 35.) On November 15, 2018, the Third DCA denied the petition without prejudice to Petitioner filing a Marsden motion in the trial court. (Doc. 13 at 35-37.)

         On November 29, 2018, Petitioner filed a petition for review with application for stay in the California Supreme Court. (Doc. 13 at 39-41.) On February 20, 2019, the court denied the petition and application for stay. (Doc. 13 at 39-41.)

         On March 4, 2019, Petitioner filed the instant federal habeas petition in this Court. (Doc. 1.) On June 10, 2019, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss contending that this Court should abstain from addressing Petitioner's claims for relief and dismiss the habeas petition without prejudice. (Doc. 13.) Petitioner filed an opposition to the motion on June 20, 2019. (Doc. 14.) Respondent did not file a reply to the opposition. Subsequently, Petitioner filed a request to stay the state court proceedings. (Doc. 15.) Respondent filed an opposition to the request to stay on August 14, 2019. (Doc. 17.)

         II. Motion for Stay

         A district court has discretion to stay a mixed petition and allow a petitioner to return to state court to exhaust state remedies. Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 277 (2005). However, the Supreme Court has held that this discretion is circumscribed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). Id. In light of AEDPA's objectives, “stay and abeyance [is] available only in limited circumstances.” Id. at 277. Specifically, the Court said a stay is appropriate only when (1) good cause exists for petitioner's failure to exhaust; (2) petitioner's unexhausted claims are not “plainly meritless” and (3) there is no indication that petitioner engaged in “abusive litigation tactics or intentional delay.” Id. at 277-78; Robbins v. Carey, 481 F.3d 1143, 1149 (9th Cir. 2005). When a petitioner has met these requirements, his interest in obtaining federal review of his claims outweighs the competing interests in finality and speedy resolution of federal petitions. Rhines, 544 U.S. at 278.

         In his motion to stay, Petitioner argues that this Court should intervene to stay the proceedings in state court during the pendency of this habeas proceeding. (Doc. 15 at 2.) However, although this Court has discretion to stay a habeas petition filed in this Court, this Court does not have the authority to stay the state court proceedings. Accordingly, Petitioner's motion for a stay is DENIED.

         III. Procedural Grounds for Motion to Dismiss

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases allows a district court to dismiss a petition if it "plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.