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Hill v. Hatton

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 17, 2019

RYLAND G. HILL, JR., Petitioner,
v.
HATTON, WARDEN, Respondent.

          ORDER

          DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner, formerly a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 while incarcerated. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302. Both parties have consented to the undersigned’s jurisdiction in this matter. (See ECF Nos. 6, 10); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1).

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 25, 2013, petitioner was convicted of several charges including but not limited to[1] driving under the influence of alcohol (Cal. Veh. Code § 23152, subd. (a)), driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher (Cal. Veh. Code § 23152, subd. (b)), and driving on a DUI-related suspended license (Cal. Veh. Code § 14601.2 subd. (a)). [Clerk’s Transcript, Vol. 2 (“CT 2”), at 361-63, 365-67; Lodged Document (“LD”) 10 at 1]. As a result, petitioner was sentenced to serve a term of eight years and eight months in state prison. [LD 10 at 1].

         In August 2014, petitioner appealed his conviction by filing an opening brief in the California Court of Appeal. [LD 4]. Thereafter, after making minor adjustments to the trial court’s sentence and judgment, the appellate court affirmed the judgment in all other respects. [LD 7 at 14-15].

         On May 16, 2016, petitioner filed a petition for review in the Supreme Court of California. [LD 8]. The high court summarily denied the petition on June 22, 2016. [LD 9].

         On February 6, 2014, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of California. [LD 11]. On April 9, 2014, the court denied the petition. [LD 13].

         On September 6, 2016, petitioner filed the instant petition in this court. (ECF No. 1). On August 30, 2017, respondent filed the answer and does not contest the timeliness of the petition. (See ECF No. 18 at 5). Petitioner did not file a traverse. The matter is deemed ready for review.

         II. BACKGROUND

         In its unpublished opinion affirming petitioner’s conviction on appeal, the California Court of Appeal for the Third District provided the following relevant factual and procedural summary.

July 2012 DUI Arrest
On July 14, 2012, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy John Wilson was interviewing a witness who had reported a shooting incident. While speaking with the witness, Deputy Wilson observed a black Mercedes sedan drive by and fail to stop at a nearby stop sign. The witness said the vehicle might have been involved in the shooting. Deputy Wilson got in his patrol car, turned on his overhead lights and siren, and began pursuing the Mercedes. After committing several more vehicle code infractions, the driver of the Mercedes eventually parked at an apartment complex.
Defendant was driving the car. He smelled of alcohol and had an unsteady gait. He admitted he had been drinking. Deputy Wilson arrested defendant and transported him to the county jail. Although he refused to participate in field sobriety tests at the jail, defendant nevertheless consented to a blood test. Defendant’s blood sample contained a .11 percent blood-alcohol concentration.
. . . .
August DUI Arrest
After leaving [Alvin] Green’s[2] house in the early morning hours of August 13, defendant drove to his apartment in the same black Mercedes that he had been driving when Deputy Wilson arrested him for DUI a month earlier. Defendant happened to pass Deputy Wilson on the way home. Deputy Wilson recognized defendant’s car and knew ...

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