Shaunte L. Johnson v. The People of the State of California

Filing 3

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING HABEAS ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE by Judge Cormac J. Carney. The Petition is DENIED, and this action is dismissed without prejudice. 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 SHAUNTE L. JOHNSON, Petitioner, 12 13 14 15 Case No. CV 16-09583 CJC (RAO) v. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING HABEAS ACTION WITHOUT PREJUDICE Respondent. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 On December 28, 2016, Petitioner Shaunte L. Johnson (“Petitioner”), a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition to Courts for Order of 30 Day Increments (“Petition”). (Dkt. No. 1.) No other pleadings have been filed by Petitioner. The case has been docketed as a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (See Docket Sheet.) In the Petition, Petitioner states that his state court petition for review was denied by the California Supreme Court. (See Petition at 1 & Attach.) Petitioner further states that he is incarcerated at Lancaster State Prison and is only allowed limited access to the prison’s law library. (Id. at 2.) Petitioner seeks an order directing the prison to grant him greater access to the law library, specifically in “30 day increments, of every other month, until October 12, 2017 (plus 90 days after 1 that).” (Id.) Petitioner does not provide any information regarding his underlying 2 state conviction or any claims for relief in the Petition. The Attachment to the 3 Petition, a letter from Petitioner’s appellate attorney in his state court appeal, 4 informs Petitioner that the deadline for filing a federal habeas petition in his case is 5 October 12, 2017. (Id. Attach.) 6 Construing the Petition liberally, it appears that Petitioner is seeking relief 7 that will enable him to file his federal habeas petition before the expiration of the 8 one-year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). For the reasons 9 stated below, the Petition is denied, and this matter is dismissed without prejudice. 10 Under the “case or controversy” requirement of Article III, Section 2 of the 11 United States Constitution, federal courts may not decide hypothetical issues or 12 render advisory opinions. See Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United 13 for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471, 102 S. Ct. 752, 757, 70 14 L. Ed. 2d 700 (1982) (Article III “limits the judicial power” of courts “to the 15 resolution of ‘cases’ and ‘controversies’”). As Petitioner has not actually filed a 16 federal habeas petition challenging his conviction and/or sentence, there are no 17 adverse parties before the Court and there is no concrete dispute for this Court to 18 decide. See Woodford v. Garceau, 538 U.S. 202, 207-08, 123 S. Ct. 1398, 155 L. 19 Ed. 2d 363 (2003) (a habeas action begins with the filing of an application for 20 habeas corpus relief). Accordingly, the Court cannot grant Petitioner the relief he 21 seeks without violating the “case or controversy” requirement of the Constitution. 22 See United States v. Leon, 203 F.3d 162, 164 (2d Cir. 2000) (per curiam) (holding 23 that federal court lacks jurisdiction to consider the timeliness of a section 2255 24 petition until a petition is actually filed); see also Bjorn v. Warden, 2009 WL 25 1392089 (N.D. Cal. May 14, 2009) (holding that under “case or controversy” 26 requirement, federal court cannot grant relief sought by the petitioner where no 27 habeas petition has been filed). 28 /// 2 1 Regarding Petitioner’s allegation of the limited access to the prison law 2 library, it may be that Petitioner is seeking an order prospectively entitling him to 3 equitable tolling of the limitations period should he file a federal habeas petition on 4 a later date. The one-year statute of limitations set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) 5 is subject to equitable tolling if a petitioner can demonstrate that “extraordinary 6 circumstances” beyond his control made it impossible for him to timely file a 7 habeas petition. See Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 130 S. Ct. 2549, 177 L. Ed. 8 2d 130 (2010). However, Petitioner must file a habeas petition in this Court before 9 the Court may act upon either substantive claims raised in the petition or a motion 10 11 12 for tolling the statute of limitations if his petition is not timely filed. For the foregoing reasons, the Petition is DENIED, and this action is dismissed without prejudice. 13 14 15 16 17 DATED: January 13, 2017 ___________________________________ CORMAC J. CARNEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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