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Robinson v. Diaz

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 6, 2019

Ronald Robinson
v.
Ralph M. Diaz

          Present: The Honorable Autumn D. Spaeth, United States Magistrate Judge.

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY PETITION SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On November 1');">19, 201');">19, Ronald Robinson (“Petitioner”) filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (“Petition”). [Dkt. No. 1');">1]. Petitioner asserts (1');">1) retaliation by prison staff for appealing an unsatisfactory work evaluation and (2) due process violations when prison staff issued the work evaluation depicting Petitioner's performance as “sub-par”. [Id. at 5].

         For the reasons set forth below, the Petition appears subject to dismissal for failure to name a proper respondent and failure to state a cognizable claim for habeas relief. The Court will not make a final determination regarding whether the Petition should be dismissed, however, without giving Petitioner an opportunity to address these issues.

         II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         Under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, this court is required to conduct a preliminary review of all petitions for writ of habeas corpus filed by state prisoners. Pursuant to Rule 4, this court must summarily dismiss a petition if it “plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.”

         III. NOTICE OF DEFICIENCIES

         A. Improper Respondent

         The Petition fails to name a proper respondent but rather lists as defendant, Ralph M. Diaz, Secretary of Corrections. [Dkt. No 1');">1, p.1');">1]. The Ninth Circuit has held that the “[f]ailure to name the correct respondent destroys personal jurisdiction.” Ortiz v. Gomez, 81');">1 F.3d 891');">1, 894 (9th Cir. 1');">1996) (as amended May 8, 1');">1996). The proper respondent to a habeas petition is “the person who has custody over the petitioner.” Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 434 (2004) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2242). “The default rule is that the proper respondent is the warden of the facility where the prisoner is being held.” Id. As such, it appears the Court lacks jurisdiction over the Petition as filed.

         B. Failure to State a Cognizable Claim for Habeas Relief

         The Court has the authority to dismiss habeas actions sua sponte, pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases. See Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644, 656 (2005); see also Pagtalunan v. Galaza, 1');">1 F.3d 639');">291');">1 F.3d 639, 641');">1, n.1');">1 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Rule 4). Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal court shall entertain an application for writ of habeas corpus “only on the ground that [the petitioner] is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Habeas corpus proceedings are the proper mechanism for challenging the legality or duration of a prisoner's confinement while a civil rights action is the proper method to challenge circumstances of confinement. Badea v. Cox, 1');">1 F.2d 573');">931');">1 F.2d 573, 574 (9th Cir. 1');">1991');">1); Nettles v. Grounds, 830 F.3d 922, 927 (9th Cir. 201');">16) (internal citation omitted). When success of a petitioner's claim would not necessarily lead to his immediate or earlier release from confinement, the claim does not fall within “the core of habeas corpus” and the claim must be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983. Nettles, 830 F.3d at 935.

         Here, the Court has screened the instant Petition and finds it clear on the face of the Petition that Petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief for the claims he asserts. Petitioner's grounds for relief appear to solely challenge the circumstances of his incarceration by asserting claims such as retaliation for appealing a prison staff decision and due process violations for a negative work performance evaluation. [Dkt. No. 1');">1, p. 5]. Those challenges concern the circumstances of his confinement and must be raised in a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1');">1983. Because Petitioner does not appear to challenge the legality or duration of his confinement and his claims would not necessarily lead to his immediate or earlier release, the Petition fails to state a cognizable claim for federal habeas relief.

         IV. PETITIONE ...


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