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Gardner v. Clark

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 4, 2019

DELBERT RONDELL GARDNER, Petitioner,
v.
KEN CLARK, Respondent.

          ORDER (1) CONSTRUING TRUST ACCOUNT STATEMENT AS MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; (2) GRANTING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; and (3) DISMISSING CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          Hon. Michael M. Anello United States District Judge.

         Petitioner, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has submitted a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         CONSTRUING TRUST ACCOUNT STATEMENT AS A MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND GRANTING MOTION

         Petitioner has not filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, but has submitted a trust account statement from the California correctional institution in which he is presently confined. The Court CONSTRUES the trust account statement as a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Further, because Petition has $0.00 in his account and therefore cannot afford the $5.00 filing fee, the Court GRANTS Petitioner's application to proceed in forma pauperis, and allows Petitioner to prosecute the above-referenced action without being required to prepay fees or costs and without being required to post security. The Clerk of the Court shall file the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus without prepayment of the filing fee.

         FAILURE TO STATE GROUNDS FOR RELIEF IN PETITION

         In addition, Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases states that the petition “shall set forth in summary form the facts supporting each of the grounds . . . specified [in the petition].” Rule 2(c), 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254; see also Boehme v. Maxwell, 423 F.2d 1056, 1058 (9th Cir. 1970) (trial court's dismissal of federal habeas proceeding affirmed where petitioner made conclusory allegations instead of factual allegations showing that he was entitled to relief). Here, Petitioner has violated Rule 2(c). Although Petitioner does not fail to state factual allegations in the Petition, he does fail to state any grounds for relief in the Petition.

         While courts should liberally interpret pro se pleadings with leniency and understanding, this should not place on the reviewing court the entire onus of ferreting out grounds for relief. See Zichko v. Idaho, 247 F.3d 1015, 1020 (9th Cir. 2001). The Court finds that the Petition contains allegations without any grounds for relief. This Court would have to engage in a tenuous analysis in order to attempt to identify and make sense of the Petition and its attachments. In order to satisfy Rule 2(c), Petitioner must point to a “real possibility of constitutional error.” Cf. Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 75 n.7 (1977) (internal quotation marks omitted). Facts must be stated, in the petition, with sufficient detail to enable the Court to determine, from the face of the petition, whether further habeas corpus review is warranted. Adams v. Armontrout, 897 F.2d 332, 334 (8th Cir. 1990). Moreover, the allegations should be sufficiently specific to permit the respondent to assert appropriate objections and defenses. Harris v. Allen, 739 F.Supp. 564, 565 (W.D. Okla. 1989). Here, the lack of grounds for relief in the Petition prevents the Respondent from being able to assert appropriate objections and defenses.

         FAILURE TO ALLEGE EXHAUSTION OF STATE JUDICIAL REMEDIES

         Further, habeas petitioners who wish to challenge either their state court conviction or the length of their confinement in state prison, must first exhaust state judicial remedies. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), (c); Granberry v. Greer, 481 U.S. 129, 133-34 (1987). Ordinarily, to satisfy the exhaustion requirement, a petitioner must “‘fairly present[]' his federal claim to the highest state court with jurisdiction to consider it, or . . . demonstrate[] that no state remedy remains available.” Johnson v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 829 (9th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). Moreover, to properly exhaust state court remedies a petitioner must allege, in state court, how one or more of his or her federal rights have been violated. For example, “[i]f a habeas petitioner wishes to claim that an evidentiary ruling at a state court trial denied him [or her] the due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, he [or she] must say so, not only in federal court, but in state court.” See Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365-66 (1995)(emphasis added).

         It is not clear from the Petition that Petitioner has exhausted any claims in the California Supreme Court. If Petitioner has raised his claims in the California Supreme Court, he must so specify.

         Further, the Court cautions Petitioner that under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) a one-year period of limitation applies to a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period runs from the latest of:

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or (D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims ...

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