Kerry Fritz v. County of Los Angeles, CA

Filing 5

ORDER DISMISSING PETITION WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY by Judge James V. Selna(ec)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 KERRY FRITZ II, 12 Petitioner, 13 14 v. COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES CA, 15 Respondent. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) NO. CV 12-8435-JVS (MAN) ORDER DISMISSING PETITION WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABIILITY 16 17 18 On October 1, 2012, a habeas petition submitted by Petitioner was 19 filed in this Court (“Petition”).1 The cursory Petition, which consists 20 of two handwritten pages, is not signed under penalty of perjury. 21 Although Petitioner apparently is in custody at the Los Angeles County 22 Jail, the Petition does not specify whether Petitioner is a pretrial 23 detainee or a convicted prisoner. 24 what relief, if any, Petitioner has sought in the state courts with 25 respect to the allegations of the Petition. The Petition also does not identify 26 27 28 1 The Petition originally was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, which transferred it to this District. 1 Although the allegations of the Petition are cryptic, it appears 2 Petitioner complains that: 3 Penal Code § 1368 competency proceeding in his present criminal case in 4 retaliation for his refusal to accept a plea offer and insistence on 5 going 6 connection with that competency proceeding; Petitioner has been unable 7 to “appeal” the outcome of that competency proceeding; Petitioner’s 8 counsel has failed to investigate the circumstances of Petitioner’s 9 arrest; to trial; and his he was wrongly subjected to a California counsel Petitioner’s provided counsel ineffective incorrectly assistance believes that in the 10 provisions of the California Penal Code under which Petitioner presently 11 is charged are “strict liability” statutes. (Petition at 1-2.) 12 13 Pursuant to Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Court 14 has reviewed, and takes judicial notice of, the electronic dockets for 15 the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court.2 Those 16 judicially-noticed records show that: 17 sustained a conviction in the Kern County Municipal Court (Case No. 18 TM070145A); he thereafter filed mandamus and other proceedings related 19 to that 2005 conviction in the California Court of Appeal, Fifth 20 Appellate District, which were denied on November 25, 2008, and March 21 24, 2010 (Case Nos. F056490 and F059521); and he filed an untimely 22 petition for review and application for relief from default related to 23 that 2005 conviction in the California Supreme Court, which were denied 24 on December 24, 2008 (Case No. S169280). Those judicially-noted records 25 also show that Petitioner has not filed any other action in the 26 California Supreme Court, nor has he filed any action in the California in December 2005, Petitioner 27 28 2 Available at http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov. 2 1 Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District -- the court in which an 2 appeal from any conviction sustained in Los Angeles County should be 3 filed. 4 5 In addition, the Court takes judicial notice of the Inmate 6 Information Center records available on the Los Angeles County Sheriffs 7 Department website.3 8 arrested and booked on June 22, 2012; and his next court hearing is 9 scheduled for November 30, 2012, in Case No. AM019458RM. Those records indicate that: Petitioner was Thus, it 10 appears that Petitioner presently is charged with one or more crimes in 11 Los Angeles County, but he has not yet been either tried on, or 12 convicted of, those charges. 13 14 THE THRESHOLD JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE 15 16 As federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, a plaintiff 17 bears the burden of establishing that his case is properly in federal 18 court. 19 Ct. 1673, 1675 (1994); In re Ford Motor Co./Citibank (South Dakota), 20 N.A., 264 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 2001). 21 to hear and determine only such causes as Congress has by statute 22 provided.” Van Buskirk v. Wilkinson, 216 F.2d 725, 737 (9th Cir. 1954). 23 Petitioner, however, has not specified any statutory jurisdictional 24 predicate for this action. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Federal courts “are empowered 25 26 28 U.S.C. § 2241 “provides generally for the granting of writs of 27 28 3 Available at http://sheriff.lacounty.gov. 3 1 habeas corpus by federal courts, implementing ‘the general grant of 2 habeas authority provided by the Constitution.’” 3 F.3d 724, 735 (9th Cir. 2008)(en banc)(quoting White v. Lambert, 370 4 F.3d 1002, 1006 (9th Cir. 2004)). 5 on a district court to issue a writ of habeas corpus when a federal or 6 state prisoner establishes that he ‘is in custody in violation of the 7 Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.’” 8 F.3d at 1006 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2241(a) and (c)(3)). 9 implements a general grant of habeas corpus authority for a person in 10 custody “for some other reason, such as pre-conviction custody, custody 11 awaiting extradition, or some other forms of custody that are possible 12 without a conviction.” Frantz v. Hazey, 533 “Section 2241 confers jurisdiction White, 370 Section 2241 Id. 13 14 Because Petitioner has not yet sustained a state court conviction 15 on the presently pending charges, it is Section 2241, rather than 28 16 U.S.C. § 2254, that 17 jurisdiction on a district court to issue “a writ of habeas corpus on 18 behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court 19 . . . on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the 20 Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 21 the general grant of habeas authority in § 2241 is available for 22 challenges by a state prisoner who is not in custody pursuant to a state 23 court judgment — for example, a defendant in pre-trial detention or 24 awaiting extradition.’” 25 2004)(quoting White); see also McNeeley v. Blanas, 336 F.3d 822, 824 & 26 n.1 (9th Cir. 2003)(allowing a California pre-trial detainee asserting 27 a speedy trial claim to proceed under Section 2241). governs this case. Section 2254(a) confers “‘By contrast, Stow v. Murashige, 389 F.3d 880, 886 (9th Cir. 28 4 1 THE COURT NEED NOT RESOLVE THE JURISDICTIONAL ISSUE, 2 BECAUSE IT IS CLEAR THAT ABSTENTION IS REQUIRED 3 4 Only a limited number of pre-trial challenges have been found 5 cognizable under Section 2241. 6 have been allowed only when a state defendant contends he is being 7 deprived of his right to a speedy trial or the Double Jeopardy Clause 8 will be violated if he is tried. 9 Circuit Court, 410 U.S. Generally, pre-trial habeas challenges 484, See, e.g., Braden v. 30th Judicial 489-93, 93 S. Ct. 1123, 1126-28 10 (1973)(speedy trial); McNeeley, 336 F.3d at 824 n.1 (speedy trial); 11 Mannes 12 jeopardy). v. Gillespie, 967 F.2d 1310, 1312 (9th Cir. 1992)(double 13 14 The Supreme Court has made clear that “federal habeas corpus does 15 not lie, absent ‘special circumstances,’ to adjudicate the merits of an 16 affirmative defense to a state criminal charge prior to a judgment of 17 conviction by a state court.” 18 1127 (citation omitted); see also Carden v. Montana, 626 F.2d 82, 83-84 19 (9th Cir. 1980)(observing that Braden “reaffirmed the established rule 20 that federal adjudication of an affirmative defense prior to a state 21 criminal 22 “prohibited by principles of comity unless the petitioner could show 23 that ‘special circumstances’ warranted federal intervention”). 24 recently, in Brown v. Ahern, 676 F.3d 899, 903 (9th Cir. 2012), the 25 Ninth Circuit confirmed that abstention principles require a federal 26 court to abstain from exercising habeas jurisdiction when the petitioner trial” violates the Braden, 410 U.S. at 489, 93 S. Ct. at Younger abstention doctrine4 and More 27 28 4 See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S. Ct. 746 (1971). 5 is 1 seeks relief based on an affirmative defense to the state prosecution, 2 and the only exceptions to that rule are (a) when a prosecution is 3 proven to be undertaken in bad faith and is baseless or (b) when 4 extraordinary circumstances exist and irreparable injury is shown. 5 6 Petitioner’s allegations fail to surmount these requirements. 7 Younger and its progeny reflect a longstanding public policy against 8 federal court interference with pending state court proceedings. 9 Green v. City of Tucson, 255 F.3d 1086, 1094 (9th Cir. 2001)(en banc); 10 H.C. v. Koppel, 203 F.3d 610, 613 (9th Cir. 2000). Principles of comity 11 and federalism require federal courts to abstain from interfering with 12 ongoing state criminal proceedings, absent extraordinary circumstances 13 that create a threat of irreparable injury. Younger, 401 U.S. at 43-45, 14 91 S. Ct. at 750-51. 15 preclude and/or stay criminal prosecution in toto and attempts to obtain 16 more limited or piecemeal intervention in state criminal actions. 17 e.g., Kugler v. Helfant, 421 U.S. 117, 130, 95 S. Ct. 1524, 1533 18 (1975)(federal courts should not “intervene piecemeal to try collateral 19 issues” in state criminal prosecutions, such as a request to enjoin the 20 admission of evidence); Dubinka v. Judges of the Superior Court, 23 F.3d 21 218, 223 (9th Cir. 1994)(a request to enjoin enforcement of a criminal 22 discovery statute and to suppress evidence obtained under that statute 23 could not be entertained). See Younger abstention applies to both attempts to See, 24 25 The concerns that motivate the Younger doctrine preclude this Court 26 from granting Petitioner habeas relief and require dismissal of this 27 action. Criminal charges are pending against Petitioner in state court, 28 and the State of California’s interest in prosecuting those who are 6 1 charged with violating its laws is indisputable. The issues Petitioner 2 raises in the instant Petition, if cognizable, can be raised within his 3 pending criminal case and on state appeal should he be convicted, and 4 thus, he has an opportunity to raise his constitutional claims in state 5 court. 6 raise federal claims in state proceedings requires abstention). 7 “special circumstances” have been alleged or shown here, Petitioner’s 8 allegations do not merit federal intervention, and comity dictates that 9 this Court not interfere in his state criminal proceeding. See Dubinka, 23 F.3d at 224 (the existence of an opportunity to As no See Braden, 10 410 U.S. at 489, 93 S. Ct. at 1127 (a petitioner seeking pre-conviction 11 habeas relief under Section 2241 must await the outcome of his state 12 proceedings 13 circumstances”). before seeking federal habeas relief while there absent “special 14 15 The Court further notes that, is no statutory 16 exhaustion requirement for Section 2241 actions, federal courts have 17 imposed a prudential exhaustion requirement. 18 in federal habeas corpus actions is rooted in considerations of federal- 19 state comity” and is “not limited to challenges to the validity of state 20 court convictions.” 21 1827, 1837 (1973); see also Carden, 626 F.2d at 83 (in Section 2241 22 cases, “[a]s an exercise of judicial restraint,” “federal courts elect 23 not to entertain habeas corpus challenges to state court proceedings 24 until habeas petitioners have exhausted state avenues for raising 25 federal claim[s]”). “The rule of exhaustion Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 491, 93 S. Ct. 26 27 In Braden, the Supreme Court permitted the petitioner (a state 28 defendant awaiting a delayed trial) to proceed under Section 2241, 7 1 because he sought to force a trial rather to than have charges against 2 him dismissed and he had “exhausted all available state remedies as a 3 prelude to [his federal habeas] action” by repeatedly presenting his 4 speedy trial violation claim to the state courts and demanding a trial. 5 As a result, no “legitimate interest of federalism” was jeopardized by 6 allowing him to seek Section 2241 relief. 410 U.S. at 489-93, 93 S. Ct. 7 at 1127-28 (emphasizing the critical function played by the exhaustion 8 requirement). 9 the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court, the Here, given Petitioner’s failure to seek any relief in 10 opposite conclusion follows. Federalism and comity concerns preclude 11 Petitioner’s attempt to proceed in federal court without first affording 12 the state courts the opportunity to consider his claims and provide any 13 relief that is appropriate. 14 15 Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that the 16 Petition be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. In addition, the Court 17 concludes that a certificate of appealability is unwarranted in this 18 case and, thus, a certificate of appealability is DENIED. 19 20 LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY. 21 22 DATED: October 18, 2012 23 JAMES V. SELNA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 24 25 PRESENTED BY: 26 27 28 MARGARET A. NAGLE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 8

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