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Louvier v. Neuschmid

United States District Court, N.D. California

September 4, 2019

RONNIE LOUVIER, Petitioner,
v.
ROBERT NEUSCHMID, Respondent.

          ORDER RE APPOINTED COUNSEL AND STAY

          JAMES DONATO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, a state prisoner, filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was convicted in San Francisco County which is in this district, so venue is proper here. See 28 U.S.C. § 2241(d). He has paid the filing fee.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2009, a jury found petitioner guilty of murder, intentional discharge of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of cocaine base and possession of a controlled substance. Petition at 1. In 2012 the California Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction and the California Supreme Court denied review. Id. at 15-16. Petitioner filed various state habeas petitions from 2015 to 2017 containing claims similar to the claims in this petition. Id. at 16. An evidentiary hearing was held in 2017 in the superior court, but the petition was denied. Id. at 17. The California Supreme Court denied review on July 11, 2018. Id.

         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) he is actually innocent; (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel; (3) there was juror misconduct; (4) his due process rights were violated under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); and (5) there was cumulative error. Petitioner has also filed a motion to stay the case while he exhausts some or all of these claims.

         The Sixth Amendment right to counsel does not apply in habeas corpus actions. Knaubert v. Goldsmith, 791 F.2d 722, 728 (9th Cir. 1986). But 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B) authorizes a district court to appoint counsel to represent a habeas petitioner whenever “the court determines that the interests of justice so require.” The Court finds that the interests of justice warrant the appointment of counsel. There are complex issues of law and possibly complicated procedural issues that may need to be addressed. This matter is REFERRED to the Federal Public Defender to find representation for petitioner. If petitioner does not want to be represented by an attorney or if he is financially able to employ counsel, he must inform the Court as soon as possible.

         The Clerk is asked to serve a copy of this order to the Office of the Federal Public Defender to obtain a lawyer for the Court to appoint. The case is STAYED pending further order.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

         CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

         I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, ...


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