Chrispin Garcia v. People of The State of California et al
ORDER ACCEPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS by Judge John W. Holcomb for Report and Recommendation 9 . IT IS ORDERED that the Petition is denied and Judgment shall be entered dismissing this action with prejudice. (see document for further details) (hr)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
W.L. MONTGOMERY, Warden,
Case No. CV 20-7849 JWH (PVC)
ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS,
RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the Petition, all of the records
and files herein, the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, and Petitioner’s
objections. After having made a de novo determination of the portions of the Report and
Recommendation to which the objections were directed, the Court concurs with and
accepts the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge.
In his objections, Petitioner argues in part that he is entitled to equitable tolling
because he is uneducated in the law; had limited access to the law library, a problem
which was compounded by new restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic;
and speaks “little English.” (Obj. at 3-4). A petitioner bears the burden of proving he is
entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations by showing: “(1) that he has been
pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his
way.” Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005). The conditions Petitioner cites
are common to many, if not most, prisoners, and do not constitute “extraordinary
circumstances” warranting equitable tolling.
The Ninth Circuit instructs that “a pro se petitioner’s lack of legal sophistication is
not, by itself, an extraordinary circumstance warranting equitable tolling.” Rasberry v.
Garcia, 448 F.3d 1150, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006); see also Ford v. Pliler, 590 F.3d 782, 789
(9th Cir. 2009) (equitable tolling “standard has never been satisfied by a petitioner’s
confusion or ignorance of the law alone”); Waldron-Ramsey v. Pacholke, 556 F.3d 1008,
1013 n.4 (9th Cir. 2009) (“[A] pro se petitioner’s confusion or ignorance of the law is not,
itself, a circumstance warranting equitable tolling.”). Furthermore, ordinary prison
limitations on law library access do not warrant equitable tolling. See Ramirez v. Yates,
571 F.3d 993, 998 (9th Cir. 2009) (“Ordinary prison limitations on Ramirez’s access to
the law library and copier . . . were neither ‘extraordinary’ nor made it ‘impossible’ for
him to file his petition in a timely manner.”); Frye v. Hickman, 273 F.3d 1144, 1146 (9th
Cir. 2001) (recognizing that lack of access to library materials does not automatically
qualify as grounds for equitable tolling). Additionally, Petitioner’s purported lack of law
library access due to COVID restrictions in 2020 does not explain why he failed to file a
federal habeas petition during the AEDPA limitations period, which in his case expired on
June 20, 2017.
While Petitioner summarily claims that he speaks “little English,” this conclusory
assertion, unsupported by any facts showing that his language skills made it impossible
for him to file a timely petition, does not warrant equitable tolling. According to the
Ninth Circuit, “[l]ack of English proficiency can constitute an extraordinary circumstance
for equitable tolling purposes, but only when the petitioner is unable to procure legal
materials in his own language or to obtain translation assistance.” Yow Ming Yeh v.
Martel, 751 F.3d 1075, 1078 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Mendoza v. Carey, 449 F.3d 1065,
1070 (9th Cir. 2006)). Petitioner makes no such showing, and in fact, the fluency he
displays in his Petition and the objections to the Report and Recommendation appears to
belie his claim to poor language skills. See Williams v. Dexter, 649 F. Supp. 2d 1055,
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?