Anthony Eugene Valdivia v. Unknown

Filing 4

ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS by Judge John F. Walter. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Petition is dismissed without prejudice and that Judgment be entered accordingly. See Order for details. (dml)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ANTHONY EUGENE VALDIVIA, ) ) ) Petitioner, ) ) v. ) ) UNKNOWN, ) Respondent. ) ) ____________________________ ) I. Case No. CV 15-2469 JFW(JC) ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS SUMMARY On April 3, 2015, Anthony Eugene Validivia (“petitioner”), a state inmate proceeding pro se, filed a document which, based on its contents, this Court construes to be a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (the “Petition”) challenging his conviction in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It plainly appears from the face of the Petition and matters as to which this Court has taken judicial notice that petitioner’s direct appeal of the judgment in the foregoing state case is currently pending, that petitioner’s claims are unexhausted as the California Supreme Court has not yet been presented with them or addressed them, and accordingly, that petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief on his claims at this time. As explained below, the Court must dismiss this action without prejudice 1 2 pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States 3 District Courts, which requires a judge promptly to examine a federal habeas 4 petition, and to dismiss it if “it plainly appears from the petition and any attached 5 exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court. . . .” 6 II. DISCUSSION 7 A. 8 Except under narrow circumstances, federal courts abstain from interfering 9 Abstention with pending state criminal proceedings. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 10 (1971); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2283. Federal courts may raise Younger abstention 11 sua sponte. See Hoye v. City of Oakland, 653 F.3d 835, 843 n.5 (9th Cir. 2011). 12 Younger abstention is appropriate if: (1) there are ongoing state judicial 13 proceedings; (2) the proceedings implicate important state interests; and (3) there is 14 an adequate opportunity in the state proceedings to resolve federal questions. 15 Dubinka v. Judges of Superior Ct., 23 F.3d 218, 223 (9th Cir. 1994) (quotations 16 and citations omitted). In this case, all three of the Younger criteria are satisfied. 17 First, this Court takes judicial notice of the docket of California Court of 18 Appeal, 2nd Appellate District, Case No. B262115, available via http:// 19, which reflects that petitioner filed a Notice of 20 Appeal in such court on February 24, 2015, and that such appeal remains pending. 21 See Fed. R. Evid. 201; Harris v. County of Orange, 682 F.3d 1126, 1131-32 (9th 22 Cir. 2012) (court may take judicial notice of undisputed matters of public record 23 including documents on file in federal or state courts). Accordingly, it is apparent 24 that there are ongoing state judicial proceedings – a factor which weighs in favor of 25 abstention. See Drury v. Cox, 457 F.2d 764, 764-65 (9th Cir. 1972) (only in most 26 unusual circumstances is defendant entitled to have federal interposition by way of 27 injunction or habeas corpus until after jury comes in, judgment has been appealed 28 from and case concluded in state courts); Roberts v. Dicarlo, 296 F. Supp. 2d 1182, 2 1 1185 (C.D. Cal. 2003) (Younger abstention appropriate where petitioner’s direct 2 appeal pending in state court of appeal). Second, states have an important interest in passing upon and correcting 3 4 violations of a defendant’s rights. See Roberts, 296 F. Supp. 2d at 1185 (citation 5 omitted). Accordingly, this factor likewise weighs in favor of abstention. Third, petitioner has an adequate opportunity in the state proceedings, 6 7 including state appellate proceedings, to resolve any federal questions that may 8 have arisen during the proceedings. See Middlesex County Ethics Committee v. 9 Garden State Bar Ass’n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982) (where vital state interests 10 involved, federal court should abstain unless state law clearly bars interposition of 11 constitutional claims) (citations and quotations omitted); United States ex rel. 12 Robinson Rancheria Citizens Council v. Borneo, Inc., 971 F.2d 244, 253 (9th Cir. 13 1992) (doctrine of abstention precludes party from obtaining relief in federal court 14 simply because party disagrees with result reached by state courts); Pennzoil Co. v. 15 Texaco, Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 15 (1987) (federal court should assume state procedures 16 will afford adequate opportunity for consideration of constitutional claims in 17 absence of unambiguous authority to contrary). Thus, this factor also weighs in 18 favor of abstention. 19 Because all of the Younger requirements are satisfied, this Court must 20 abstain and dismiss this action unless extraordinary circumstances exist. See 21 Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 817 n.22 22 (1976) (Younger abstention not discretionary once conditions met); World Famous 23 Drinking Emporium, Inc. v. City of Tempe, 820 F.2d 1079, 1081 (9th Cir. 1987) 24 (“When a case falls within the proscription of Younger, a district court must 25 dismiss the federal action.”) (citation omitted). Here, neither the claims asserted by 26 petitioner, nor anything else in the record suggest the existence of extraordinary 27 circumstances. See Younger, 401 U.S. at 45-46. Consequently, this Court must 28 /// 3 1 abstain from considering petitioner’s challenges to the state judgment in issue and 2 dismiss this action without prejudice. 3 B. Exhaustion 4 A federal court will not grant a state prisoner’s petition for writ of habeas 5 corpus unless it appears that the prisoner has exhausted available state remedies. 6 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), (c); Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004); O’Sullivan v. 7 Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999); Park v. California, 202 F.3d 1146, 1150 (9th 8 Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 918 (2000). “For reasons of federalism, 28 U.S.C. 9 § 2254 requires federal courts to give the states an initial opportunity to correct 10 alleged violations of its prisoners’ federal rights.” Kellotat v. Cupp, 719 F.2d 11 1027, 1029 (9th Cir. 1983) (citation omitted). 12 Exhaustion requires that the prisoner’s contentions be fairly presented to the 13 highest court of the state. Davis v. Silva, 511 F.3d 1005, 1008 (9th Cir. 2008) 14 (citation omitted); James v. Borg, 24 F.3d 20, 24 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 15 935 (1994). A claim has not been fairly presented unless the prisoner has 16 described in the state court proceedings both the operative facts and the federal 17 legal theory on which his claim is based. See Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365- 18 66 (1995) (per curiam); Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 6 (1982) (per curiam); 19 Scott v. Schriro, 567 F.3d 573, 582 (9th Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 558 U.S. 20 1091 (2009); Weaver v. Thompson, 197 F.3d 359, 364 (9th Cir. 1999). 21 A federal court may raise a habeas petitioner’s failure to exhaust state 22 remedies sua sponte. Stone v. City and County of San Francisco, 968 F.2d 850, 23 855-56 (9th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1081 (1993). Petitioner has the 24 burden of demonstrating he has exhausted available state remedies. See, e.g., 25 Williams v. Craven, 460 F.2d 1253, 1254 (9th Cir. 1972) (per curiam); Rollins v. 26 Superior Court, 706 F. Supp. 2d 1008, 1011 (C.D. Cal. 2010). 27 28 In the present proceeding, petitioner affirmatively represents that this matter is pending on appeal and, as noted above, the docket of his case in the California 4 1 Court of Appeal reflects that it remains pending in such court. The Court further 2 takes judicial notice of the dockets of the California Supreme Court, available via 3, which contain no record of petitioner having 4 sought relief in such court. Accordingly, it plainly appears from the face of the 5 Petition, as well as matters as to which the Court has taken judicial notice, that 6 petitioner cannot meet his burden to demonstrate that his claims have been 7 exhausted. Although it is clear that the California Supreme Court has not been 8 9 presented with and has not addressed petitioner’s claims, the exhaustion 10 requirement may nonetheless be satisfied if petitioner’s claims are clearly 11 procedurally barred under state law. See Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 351-52 12 (1989); Johnson v. Zenon, 88 F.3d 828, 831 (9th Cir. 1996). In this case, 13 particularly given the pendency of the state appeal in the Court of Appeal, it is not 14 at all “clear” that the California Supreme Court would deem petitioner’s claims 15 procedurally barred under state law if he were to raise them on direct appeal or in a 16 habeas petition in the California Supreme Court. See In re Harris, 5 Cal. 4th 813, 17 825 (1993) (“[H]abeas corpus has become a proper remedy in this state to 18 collaterally attack a judgment of conviction which has been obtained in violation of 19 fundamental constitutional rights.”) (citations omitted); People v. Sorenson, 111 20 Cal. App. 2d 404, 405 (1952) (claims that fundamental constitutional rights have 21 been violated may be raised by state habeas petition). However, this Court 22 expresses no opinion regarding whether consideration of petitioner’s claims might 23 be foreclosed by the principles discussed in In Re Clark, 5 Cal. 4th 750, 763-87 24 (1993). The California Supreme Court should evaluate the matter in the first 25 instance. Even if an applicable state procedural bar exists, the California Supreme 26 Court nevertheless might choose to reach the merits of petitioner’s claims. See, 27 e.g., Park, 202 F.3d at 1151-52. 28 /// 5 1 Once, as in this case, a Court determines that a habeas petition contains only 2 unexhausted claims, it may dismiss the petition for failure to exhaust. Rasberry v. 3 Garcia, 448 F.3d 1150, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, because the Petition in 4 this case is wholly unexhausted, dismissal thereof on this ground is also 5 appropriate. 6 III. 7 ORDER IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Petition is dismissed without 8 prejudice and that Judgment be entered accordingly. 9 DATED: April 8, 2015 10 ________________________________________ HONORABLE JOHN F. WALTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 11 12 13 14 Presented by:1 15 ____________/s/_____________________ Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian 17 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 1 26 27 28 Pursuant to Local Rule 72-3.2, the Magistrate Judge promptly shall examine a petition for writ of habeas corpus, and if it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the Magistrate Judge may prepare a proposed order for summary dismissal and submit it and a proposed judgment to the District Judge. 6

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