United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division
DHULKIFL ABDUL-ALI ex rel. GEORGE JEROME STEVENSON; EZEKIEL GAMBA JUDAH, Petitioners,
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.
ORDER DISMISSING PETITION WITH LEAVE TO
L. ABRAMS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
December 19, 2019, a “Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus by Person Committed to State Hospital”
(“Petition”) was filed. The Petition's
pleading caption states: “Dhulkifl Abdul-Ali: Bey ex
rel[.] GEORGE JEROME STEVENSON Ezekiel Gamba Judah” v.
People of the State of California. (ECF No. 1 at 1). The body
of the Petition alleges that petitioner -- who is not
identified by name -- is confined at Patton State Hospital
for mental health treatment pursuant to an order by the Los
Angeles County Superior Court, even though petitioner has
never “been a person with a mental health disorder and
is not a danger to himself or to others, and is not gravely
disabled.” (Id. at 1-2). The Petition seeks as
relief an order from the Court directing the medical director
of Patton State Hospital to release petitioner. (Id.
December 19, 2019, a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 was filed in this matter,
with the caption stating: “GEORGE JEROME STEVENSON
Ezekiel Gamba Judah” v. People of the State of
California. (ECF No. 2 at 1). This second filing, which the
Court refers to as the “Supplemental Petition, ”
alleges that habeas relief is sought for “Pretrial
Detainee Dhulkifi Abdul-Ali: Bey ex rel[.] GEORGE JEROME
STEVENSON, Ezekiel Gamba Judah: PETITIONER[.]”
(Id.). The Court is unable to discern from the
unintelligible and confusing assertions, which do not appear
to reference petitioner's civil commitment to the state
hospital, what claims, if any, petitioner presents in the
Supplemental Petition. (Id. at 1-2).
on the Court's review of the above filings, dismissal of
the Petition without prejudice and with leave to amend is
appropriate for the reasons set forth below.
initial matter, petitioner did not use the proper form,
pursuant to Local Rule 83-16.1, which requires that a
petition for writ of habeas corpus “be submitted on the
forms approved and supplied by the Court.” Habeas forms
are a procedural device which significantly aid the Court in
processing the numerous habeas petitions presented to the
Court. The habeas form used by the Central District of
California is designed to aid a petitioner to present the
relevant information regarding his or her habeas claim(s) in
a “simple, concise, and direct” manner, as
required by Rule 8(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil
petitioner's failure to use the proper habeas form, and
the confusing nature of his assertions, it is not clear from
the Petition and/or Supplemental Petition exactly what, or
how many, grounds for relief petitioner presents or if he has
exhausted any claims. To the extent petitioner is challenging
the state court's order committing him to Patton State
Hospital, his habeas claims would fall under 28 U.S.C. §
2254. See Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 176, 121
S.Ct. 2120, 150 L.Ed.2d 251 (2001) (“[F]ederal habeas
corpus review may be available to challenge the legality of a
state court order of civil commitment[.]”); Huftile
v. Miccio-Fonseca, 410 F.3d 1136, 1139-40 (9th Cir.
2005) (“[D]etainees under an involuntary civil
commitment scheme . . . may use a § 2254 habeas petition
to challenge a term of confinement.”). As a matter of
comity, a federal court will not entertain a habeas corpus
petition unless the petitioner has exhausted the available
state judicial remedies on every ground presented in the
petition. Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518-22, 102
S.Ct. 1198, 71 L.Ed.2d 379 (1982). The habeas statute
explicitly provides that a habeas petition brought by a
person in state custody “shall not be granted unless it
appears that --(A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies
available in the courts of the State; or (B)(i) there is an
absence of available State corrective process; or (ii)
circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to
protect the rights of the applicant.” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1). Moreover, if the exhaustion requirement is to be
waived, it must be waived expressly by the state, through
counsel. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(3).
requires that petitioner's contentions be fairly
presented to the state supreme court even if that court's
review is discretionary. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel,
526 U.S. 838, 845-47, 119 S.Ct. 1728, 144 L.Ed.2d 1 (1999);
James v. Giles, 221 F.3d 1074, 1077 n.3 (9th Cir.
2000). Petitioner must give the state courts “one full
opportunity to resolve any constitutional issues by invoking
one complete round of the State's established appellate
review process” in order to exhaust his claims.
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845. A claim has not
been fairly presented unless the prisoner has described in
the state court proceedings both the operative facts and the
federal legal theory on which his claim is based. See
Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365-66, 115 S.Ct. 887,
130 L.Ed.2d 865 (1995); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S.
270, 275-78, 92 S.Ct. 509, 30 L.Ed.2d 438 (1971); Johnson
v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 830 (9th Cir. 1996); Bland v.
California Dep't of Corrections, 20 F.3d 1469, 1473
(9th Cir. 1994), overruled on other grounds by Schell v.
Witek, 218 F.3d 1017 (9th Cir. 2000). Petitioner has the
burden of demonstrating that he has exhausted available state
remedies. See, e.g., Brown v.
Cuyler, 669 F.2d 155, 158 (3d Cir. 1982). Here, there is
no indication that petitioner has satisfied the exhaustion
petitioner did not properly complete the Petition because he
failed to provide a signed statement certifying
under penalty of perjury that the information
contained in the Petition is true and correct. The
Supplemental Petition has the same defect. (See ECF
No. 1 at 2; ECF No. 2 at 2). 28 U.S.C. § 2242 requires
that a petition for writ of habeas corpus be “signed
and verified by the person for whose relief it is intended or
by someone acting in his behalf.” Accordingly, the
failure to sign and verify the Petition warrants dismissal.
See Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490, 491 (9th
Cir. 1990) (“The district court may refuse to file, or
may dismiss, an unsigned and unverified petition.”)
(citing In re Application of Gibson, 218 F.2d 320
(9th Cir. 1954) (affirming the district court's refusal
to file an unverified petition)).
Petition is also defective because the identity of petitioner
is not clear. The Petition and the Supplemental Petition
reference the names Dhulkifl Abdul-Ali,  George Jerome
Stevenson, and Ezekiel Gamba Judah. While it appears that one
of these individuals may be acting as an “authorized
representative” of petitioner in this matter, the Court
cannot determine with certainty which individual is
petitioner and which individual, if any, is the
“authorized representative.” (See ECF
No. 2 at 2).
it is not clear if a third party is in fact pursuing habeas
relief on petitioner's behalf, the Court notes that,
under those circumstances, jurisdiction would be lacking
unless “next friend” standing was granted. As a
threshold matter, a federal court cannot consider the merits
of a legal claim unless the person seeking to invoke the
jurisdiction of the court establishes the requisite standing
to sue. Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 154, 110
S.Ct. 1717, 109 L.Ed.2d 135 (1990). A litigant demonstrates
standing by showing that he has suffered an injury in fact
that is fairly traceable to the challenged action and is
redressable by a favorable judicial decision. Id. at
155. A third party, or “next friend, ” can appear
in court on behalf of detained prisoners who are unable to
seek habeas relief themselves. Id. at 161-62 (noting
that 28 U.S.C. § 2242, which allows for an application
for writ of habeas corpus to be signed and verified “by
the person for whose relief it is intended or by someone
acting in his behalf, ” codified the “next
friend” doctrine) (emphasis in original). A “next
friend” does not become a party to the habeas action,
but pursues the cause on behalf of the detained person, who
remains the real party in interest. Id. at 163.
friend' standing is by no means granted automatically to
whomever seeks to pursue an action on behalf of
another.” Whitmore, 495 U.S. at 163. Rather,
two prerequisites must be satisfied: first, the “next
friend” must provide an adequate explanation -- such as
inaccessibility, mental incompetence, or other disability --
why the petitioner cannot appear on his own behalf to
prosecute the action; second, the “next friend”
must have a significant relationship with the petitioner and
be truly dedicated to the best interests of the petitioner.
The burden is on the “next friend” to establish
that “next friend” standing is proper.
Id. at 163-64. When a habeas petition is brought by
an individual who lacks standing to proceed as “next
friend” of the petitioner, the federal court lacks
jurisdiction over the action. See id. at 166. And
even if the Whitmore requirements are met, a
“next friend” may not proceed with a habeas
action on behalf of another without an attorney as a
non-attorney has no authority to appear on behalf of anyone
else. See United States v. French, 748 F.3d 922, 933
(9th Cir. 2014) (noting “well-settled rule against lay
representation”); Johns v. County of San
Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 876 (9th Cir. 1997) (“a
non-lawyer has no authority to appear as an attorney for
on these serious deficiencies, amendment is appropriate.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the Petition is
dismissed with leave to amend.
event that petitioner has a “representative” who
seeks to proceed on behalf of petitioner in this action as a
“next friend, ” by no later than January 15,
2020, the “representative” must file a motion
requesting “next friend” status that addresses
the factors cited in Whitmore. Along with the
motion, the “representative” must show his
authorization to practice law before this Court, or otherwise
proceed with legal representation.
“next friend” status is not sought, and the
requisite “next friend” motion is not filed by
the ordered deadline, petitioner is ordered to file, no later
than January 24, 2020, an Amended Petition on the proper
form. The Amended Petition should clearly contain the words
“AMENDED PETITION.” Petitioner, in the Amended
Petition, must clearly state each ground for relief he is
asserting, and include a clear statement of the facts
supporting each ground for relief Additionally, petitioner
must clearly ...