Chrispin Garcia v. People of The State of California et al

Filing 13

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)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 CHRISPIN GARCIA, 11 12 Petitioner, v. 13 W.L. MONTGOMERY, Warden, 14 Case No. CV 20-7849 JWH (PVC) ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE Respondent. 15 16 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the Petition, all of the records 17 and files herein, the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, and Petitioner’s 18 objections. After having made a de novo determination of the portions of the Report and 19 Recommendation to which the objections were directed, the Court concurs with and 20 accepts the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. 21 In his objections, Petitioner argues in part that he is entitled to equitable tolling 22 because he is uneducated in the law; had limited access to the law library, a problem 23 which was compounded by new restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic; 24 and speaks “little English.” (Obj. at 3-4). A petitioner bears the burden of proving he is 25 entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations by showing: “(1) that he has been 26 pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his 27 way.” Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005). The conditions Petitioner cites 28 1 are common to many, if not most, prisoners, and do not constitute “extraordinary 2 circumstances” warranting equitable tolling. 3 The Ninth Circuit instructs that “a pro se petitioner’s lack of legal sophistication is 4 not, by itself, an extraordinary circumstance warranting equitable tolling.” Rasberry v. 5 Garcia, 448 F.3d 1150, 1154 (9th Cir. 2006); see also Ford v. Pliler, 590 F.3d 782, 789 6 (9th Cir. 2009) (equitable tolling “standard has never been satisfied by a petitioner’s 7 confusion or ignorance of the law alone”); Waldron-Ramsey v. Pacholke, 556 F.3d 1008, 8 1013 n.4 (9th Cir. 2009) (“[A] pro se petitioner’s confusion or ignorance of the law is not, 9 itself, a circumstance warranting equitable tolling.”). Furthermore, ordinary prison 10 limitations on law library access do not warrant equitable tolling. See Ramirez v. Yates, 11 571 F.3d 993, 998 (9th Cir. 2009) (“Ordinary prison limitations on Ramirez’s access to 12 the law library and copier . . . were neither ‘extraordinary’ nor made it ‘impossible’ for 13 him to file his petition in a timely manner.”); Frye v. Hickman, 273 F.3d 1144, 1146 (9th 14 Cir. 2001) (recognizing that lack of access to library materials does not automatically 15 qualify as grounds for equitable tolling). Additionally, Petitioner’s purported lack of law 16 library access due to COVID restrictions in 2020 does not explain why he failed to file a 17 federal habeas petition during the AEDPA limitations period, which in his case expired on 18 June 20, 2017. 19 While Petitioner summarily claims that he speaks “little English,” this conclusory 20 assertion, unsupported by any facts showing that his language skills made it impossible 21 for him to file a timely petition, does not warrant equitable tolling. According to the 22 Ninth Circuit, “[l]ack of English proficiency can constitute an extraordinary circumstance 23 for equitable tolling purposes, but only when the petitioner is unable to procure legal 24 materials in his own language or to obtain translation assistance.” Yow Ming Yeh v. 25 Martel, 751 F.3d 1075, 1078 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Mendoza v. Carey, 449 F.3d 1065, 26 1070 (9th Cir. 2006)). Petitioner makes no such showing, and in fact, the fluency he 27 displays in his Petition and the objections to the Report and Recommendation appears to 28 belie his claim to poor language skills. See Williams v. Dexter, 649 F. Supp. 2d 1055, 2

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