Kamondai v. Arizona, State of et al

Filing 56

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION. It is Ordered Petitioner's Motion to Attach [a] Letter [to Petitioner's] Objections [to the R&R] (Doc. 42 ) is granted. This Court accepts and adopts Magistrate Judge Pyle's R&R (Doc. 36 ) as the findings of fact and conclusions of law of this Court. Petitioner's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 21 ) is denied. Petitioner's Motion for a Stay of Proceedings (Doc. 39 ) is denied as moot (see attached Order for complete details). Signed by Chief Judge Raner C Collins on 3/10/2016. (MFR)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Kamondai Richard Young, Petitioner, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV-14-00733-TUC-RCC (CRP) Arizona, State of, et al. 13 Respondent. 14 15 Pending before the Court is Magistrate Judge Pyle’s Report and Recommendation 16 (“R & R”) (Doc. 36) regarding Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 21) and Petitioner’s 17 Objections thereto (Doc. 41); Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration of [Petitioner’s] 18 Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 40); Petitioner’s Motion for a Stay of Proceedings (Doc. 39); 19 and Petitioner’s Request to Attach [a] Letter [to] Motion to Dismiss Recommendation re: 20 41, Objection to Report and Recommendation (Doc.42). 21 This Court grants Petitioner’s Motion to Attach [a] Letter …[to Petitioner’s] 22 Objections [to the R&R] (Doc. 42), but concludes that none of the supplemental 23 objections in Petitioner’s letter (Doc. 40) alter the Court’s position regarding Magistrate 24 Judge Pyle’s R&R and or its decision regarding Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss. For the 25 following reasons, and over all of Petitioner’s objections (Docs 41 & 40), this Court 26 accepts and adopts Magistrate Judge Pyle’s R & R (Doc. 36) as the findings of fact and 27 conclusions of law of this Court. Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 21) is denied. 28 Moreover, Petitioner’s Motion for a Stay of Proceedings (Doc. 39) is denied as moot. 1 I. Background 2 A. Procedural History 3 The following facts are supported by the record: 4 On January 21, 2014 Petitioner Kamondai Young filed this action pursuant to 28 5 U.S.C. §2254. Doc. 1. Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma 6 pauperis. In his First Amended Petition Petitioner raises three grounds for relief: (1) that 7 his Sixth Amendment confrontation rights were violated when the trial court permitted 8 Deputy Ortiz to testify about an out-of-court conversation involving Elizabeth Freiya; (2) 9 that the trial court improperly instructed and coerced the jury to continue deliberations 10 after the jury foreperson informed the Court that the jury was unable to reach a verdict on 11 one of the Counts Petitioner faced in his underlying Cochise County Superior Court 12 Case; and (3) that evidence discovered after trial would have altered the verdict and/or 13 sentence he received in the underlying criminal matter. Doc. 8. 14 On October 14, 2014, this Court ordered Charles Ryan and the Arizona Attorney 15 General to respond to Petitioner’s First Amended Petition within 40 days of receipt of 16 service. Doc 9. The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Pyle for further proceedings 17 pursuant to Rules 72.1 and 72.2 of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure. Id. Service on 18 the Respondents was executed on October 20, 2014 and October 21, 2014. Docs. 10, 11. 19 Respondents filed a timely, limited answer on November 17, 2014 requesting 20 Petitioner’s claims be denied as untimely and further requesting dismissal with prejudice. 21 Doc. 13. Respondents also sought leave to file a supplemental answer addressing the 22 merits of the Petition in the event the Court reject[ed] their limited affirmative defenses. 23 Id. Petitioner requested an extension of time to file a reply on December 18, 2014 (prior 24 to the expiration of his time to reply) citing obstacles he was encountering while 25 attempting to research and draft his reply. Judge Pyle, finding good cause for Petitioner’s 26 request, extended his time to file a reply until January 20, 2015. Doc. 15. Petitioner did 27 file a pleading on the January 20, 2015 deadline, however it was not a reply. (Doc. 16). 28 According to Petitioner’s pleading of January 20, 2015, he had been transferred to -2- 1 Yuma County Detention Center on December 31, 2014 in connection with new charges 2 in an unrelated matter. Doc. 16. Petitioner asserted that, as a result of the transfer, he did 3 not receive a copy of the Court’s Order dictating he should file his reply on or before 4 January 20, 2015 (Doc. 15) until he received his forwarded mail on January 15, 2015. Id. 5 Further, Petitioner complained that he had already started his reply prior to his transfer 6 but that he had been prohibited from bringing said reply and all attendant legal research 7 when he was moved to the Yuma facility. Id. Petitioner explicitly requested the Court 8 order his “legal work box” and its contents be sent to him at the Yuma County Detention 9 Center. Id. 10 Judge Pyle set the matter for a telephonic status conference so that the parties 11 could discuss the circumstances described in Petitioner’s January 20, 2015 motion. Doc. 12 17. The hearing was not recorded and the Court’s reporter was not present, however 13 Petitioner and Counsel for the Respondents appeared telephonically. Doc. 18. The 14 Minute Entry from the February 19, 2015 hearing reflects that Magistrate Judge Pyle 15 granted Petitioner’s request that the Court to order the Department of Corrections to send 16 him his legal work box at the Yuma facility. Id. Magistrate Judge Pyle also confirmed 17 that the Petitioner was proceeding pursuant to his Amended Petition (Doc. 8). Id. The 18 Court ordered that Respondents would have until March 11, 2015 to file an Amended 19 Answer addressing Petitioner’s Amended Petition and that Petitioner would have until 20 March 31, 2015 to file a Reply, should he chose to do so (though, the order noted the 21 Court would adjust this deadline based upon the status of Petitioner’s access to his 22 forthcoming legal materials). Id. 23 On March 10, 2015, before the expiration of the deadline for Respondent’s to file 24 their Amended Answer, Magistrate Judge Pyle issued an order staying this matter, sua 25 sponte, until such time as it could be determined whether Petitioner would remain at the 26 Yuma facility to face new state court charges (or whether Petitioner would be returned to 27 ADOC custody in Florence). Doc. 19. The record does not reflect that a copy of this 28 Order was mailed to the Petitioner. -3- 1 On April 13, 2015 Magistrate Judge Pyle issued another order, sua sponte, setting 2 the matter for a telephonic status conference on April 28, 2015. Doc. 20. A copy of this 3 Order was mailed to Petitioner. The next day, however, the Clerk of the Court docketed 4 a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 21) that had signed by Petitioner on April 7, 2015. 5 Magistrate Judge Pyle denied Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 23), but 6 ultimately vacated that order in favor of submitting a Report and Recommendation (the 7 instant R&R) to this Court. Doc. 35. Respondent filed timely objections to the R&R 8 (Doc. 41), as well as a request to supplement his Objections to the R&R with a letter to 9 the Court (Doc. 42). No letter to the Court was attached to Petitioner’s Request to 10 Supplement (Doc. 42), however, Petitioner did identify the referenced letter by name. 11 See Doc. 42 at 1. Said letter (Doc. 40), which was apparently filed in response to the 12 June 5, 2015 telephonic hearing and before Petitioner filed his request to supplement his 13 objection(s) to the R&R, was docketed by the Clerk of the Court as a Motion. However, 14 in light of Petitioner’s express request that this Court admit and construe this letter as a 15 supplemental objection to the R&R (Doc. 42 at 1), this Court will construe it as such. 16 17 Finally, Petitioner filed a Motion seeking a stay in this matter until such time as this Court could issue a ruling on Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss. Doc. 39. 18 B. Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss 19 On March 14, 2015 Petitioner filed a Motion entitled “Motion to Dismiss.” Doc. 20 21. In actuality, the relief sought by Petitioner by and through this pleading is entry of 21 default judgement in his favor. See, Id. Petitioner argues that such relief is appropriate 22 because Respondents did not file their amended answer on or before March 11, 2015, the 23 deadline set by the Court during the February 19, 2015 telephonic status conference. Id. 24 In support of this argument, Petitioner cites the general rule that deadlines [set by the 25 Court] are to be strictly adhered to and a section of the Court’s Order of June 10, 2014 26 warning Petitioner that failure to comply with a Court order may result in dismissal of his 27 action. Id. (citing Doc. 5). 28 C. Magistrate Judge Pyle’s R&R -4- 1 Magistrate Judge Pyle noted the following well-settled, tenant: “[t]he failure to 2 respond to claims raised in a petition for habeus corpus does not entitle the petitioner to a 3 default judgement.” Doc. 36 (citing Gordan v. Duran, 895 F.2d 610, 612 (9th 4 Cir.1990)(internal citations omitted)). He also observed that the Respondents did not, in 5 fact, fail to comply with a Court ordered deadline because the Court stayed this matter 6 prior to the expiration of Respondent’s deadline to file their answer to the Amended 7 Petition. Id. at 3. 8 II. ANALYSIS 9 10 A. Standard of Review Where the parties object to an R & R, “[a] judge of the [district] court shall make a 11 de novo determination of those portions of the [R & R] to which objection is made.” 28 12 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985). The Court will not 13 disturb a magistrate judge’s order unless his factual findings are clearly erroneous or his 14 legal conclusions are contrary to law. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). “[T]he magistrate 15 judge’s decision…is entitled to great deference by the district court.” U.S. v. Abonce- 16 Barrera, 257 F.3d 959, 969 (9th Cir. 2001). 17 B. Petitioner’s Objections 18 (i) Objections (Doc. 41) 19 Petitioner raises several objections to the R&R, though none address Magistrate 20 Judge Pyle’s citation to the holding in Gordan. Nor does Petitioner point to evidence 21 undermining the Magistrate Judge Pyle’s observation that Respondent’s deadline was 22 suspended as a result of the March 10, 2015 stay order. Instead, Petitioner uses these 23 objections to contest the appropriateness of Magistrate Judge Pyle’s order temporarily 24 staying proceedings in this case. Petitioner cites no support for his contention that entry 25 of default judgment in his favor (and against Respondent) is an appropriate remedy for an 26 allegedly improper stay order. 27 (ii) Supplemental Objections (Docs. 42, 40) 28 By and through Petitioner’s Request to Attach Letter of Motion to Dismiss -5- 1 Recommendation (Doc. 42), Petitioner seeks to supplement his objections to the R&R 2 with a letter addressed to this Court. Though no copy of the referenced letter was 3 attached to Petitioner’s request to supplement, only one letter was received by the Court 4 that meets Petitioner’s description. Said letter (Doc. 40), dated June 15, 2015, recites 5 Petitioner’s interpretation of the procedural events that occurred in this matter. 6 Petitioner’s letter also makes several of the same objections to the R&R seen in Doc. 41. 7 That is, Petitioner argues that Magistrate Judge Pyle’s sua sponte stay order amounted to 8 “prejudice in fact,” because it altered the deadline by which Respondents were to file 9 their answer to his Amended Petition, thereby frustrating Petitioner’s ability to capitalize 10 on what would have been, hypothetically, an untimely pleading. Id. at 8. Once again, 11 Petitioner cites no support for his ultimate contention that entry of default judgment in his 12 favor (and against Respondent) is an appropriate remedy for an allegedly improper stay 13 order. 14 C. Analysis of Petitioner’s Objections 15 Respondent has appeared in this case and has actively defended against 16 Petitioner's habeas petition. See, cf. Rule 55(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 17 (default judgment is appropriate when a party “has failed to plea or otherwise defend.”). 18 Additionally, and contrary to Petitioner's assertion, Respondent's Answer was timely as 19 the deadline for filing was suspended by Magistrate Judge Pyle’s March 10, 2015 stay 20 order. Moreover, and more importantly, even if Respondent had completely failed to 21 respond in any meaningful fashion, the Ninth Circuit has determined that “[t]he failure to 22 respond to claims raised in a petition for habeas corpus does not entitle the petitioner to a 23 default judgment.” Gordon, 895 F.2d at 612. 24 Neither Petitioner’s complaints concerning any clerical error, nor Petitioner’s 25 arguments regarding the appropriateness of the Magistrate Judge Pyle’s March 10, 2015 26 stay order, are relevant to the relief sought in his Motion to Dismiss. 27 28 After a thorough and de novo review of the record and issues raised by and through Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss (and all attendant pleadings), the Court agrees -6- 1 with Magistrate Judge Pyle’s recommendation that Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss 2 (Doc.21) should be denied. 3 Accordingly, 4 IT IS ORDERED 5 (1) 6 R&R] (Doc. 42) is granted, however; 7 (2) 8 arguments in Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 40) as a recitation of 9 supplemental objections to Magistrate Judge Pyle’s R&R, for the reasons laid forth in Petitioner’s Motion to Attach [a] Letter … [to Petitioner’s] Objections [to the While Court has, pursuant to Petitioner’s request (Doc. 42), construed the 10 Section C of this Order, and over all Petitioners objections (Docs. 40 and 41)… 11 (3) 12 findings of fact and conclusions of law of this Court. 13 (4) Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 21) is denied. 14 (5) Petitioner’s Motion for a Stay of Proceedings (Doc. 39) is denied as moot. 15 (6) This matter is referred back to Magistrate Judge Charles R. Pyle pursuant to Rules 16 72.1 and 72.2 of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure for further proceedings and a report 17 and recommendation. The Clerk of the Court shall docket this matter Case No. 4:14-cv- 18 00733-RCC (CRP). 19 This Court accepts and adopts Magistrate Judge Pyle’s R&R (Doc. 36) as the Dated this 10th day of March, 2016. 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -7-

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