Wilson v. Superior Court of California, Tuolomne County

Filing 7

FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATION Regarding Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus 1 , signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 1/7/14: Objections Due Within Fourteen Days. (Hellings, J)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 BARRY FRANK WILSON, 12 Case No. 1:13-cv-01587-LJO-SAB-HC Petitioner, 13 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS v. 14 15 16 OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Respondent. 17 Petitioner is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner filed 18 19 the instant petition on September 26, 2013. At the time he filed his petition, he was apparently 20 awaiting court trial concerning a traffic infraction and facing a fine of $229.00. (See Petition at 21 1.) He raises several claims regarding the trial court process. For instance, he claims his 22 motions were summarily and capriciously dismissed. He claims he is being wrongfully required 23 to pay the fine before he proceeds to trial. Additionally, he claims the trial court is without 24 jurisdiction because a “gold-fringed” flag is displayed in the courtroom, and such flags are 25 reserved courts of the military.1 26 /// 27 28 1 As to this additional point, the plaintiff’s argument is entirely without any legal foundation or historical accuracy. The jurisdiction of a particular court is not based upon the “fringe” located on a flag, but instead the jurisdiction conferred on it by the appropriate legislative body. 1 1 I. 2 DISCUSSION 3 A. Procedural Grounds for Summary Dismissal 4 Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases provides in pertinent part: 5 If it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court, the judge must dismiss the petition and direct the clerk to notify the petitioner. 6 7 The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 8 indicate that the court may dismiss a petition for writ 8 of habeas corpus, either on its own motion under Rule 4, pursuant to the respondent’s motion to 9 dismiss, or after an answer to the petition has been filed. See Herbst v. Cook, 260 F.3d 1039 (9th 10 Cir.2001). A petition for habeas corpus should not be dismissed without leave to amend unless it 11 appears that no tenable claim for relief can be pleaded were such leave granted. Jarvis v. Nelson, 12 440 F.2d 13, 14 (9th Cir. 1971). 13 B. Younger Abstention 14 Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254 empowers the Court to “entertain an application for a writ of 15 habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court ... on the 16 ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United 17 States.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Because there is no State court judgment here, the Court 18 deems the Petition to have been brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3), which empowers a 19 district court to issue a writ of habeas corpus before a judgment is entered in a criminal 20 proceeding. See McNeely v. Blanas, 336 F.3d 822, 824 n. 1 (9th Cir.2003). 21 In the instant petition, Petitioner complains he is being denied his constitutional due 22 process rights in proceedings prior to his court trial. In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), 23 the Supreme Court established that a federal court generally must abstain from hearing a case 24 that would enjoin or otherwise interfere with ongoing state criminal proceedings. Absent limited 25 exceptions, Younger abstention is required if four elements are met: (1) state proceedings are 26 ongoing; (2) the state proceedings implicate important state interests; (3) the state proceedings 27 provide the federal litigant an adequate opportunity to raise the federal claims; and (4) the federal 28 proceedings would interfere with the state proceedings in a way that Younger disapproves. San 2 1 Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Comm. v. City of San Jose, 546 F.3d 2 1087, 1092 (9th Cir.2008); AmerisourceBergen Corp. v. Roden, 495 F.3d 1143, 1148–49 (9th 3 Cir.2007). Exceptions to Younger abstention exist where there is a “showing of bad faith, 4 harassment, or some other extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention 5 inappropriate.” Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 435 6 (1982); see Baffert v. Cal. Horse Racing Bd., 332 F.3d 613, 621 (9th Cir.2003). 7 In this case, the state proceedings are ongoing. Further, Petitioner cannot dispute that the 8 state proceedings pending against him implicate important state interests. Additionally, there is 9 no reason to believe that Petitioner is being denied an adequate and full opportunity to raise his 10 claims in the state courts. Further, Petitioner's habeas petition threatens to interfere with the state 11 proceedings in a manner that Younger disapproves by inserting federal courts into the ordinary 12 course of state proceedings. Finally, no exception to Younger abstention applies. There is no 13 suggestion of bad faith, harassment, or some other extraordinary circumstance that would make 14 abstention inappropriate. The Court therefore concludes that Younger abstention requires the 15 dismissal of the petition herein. 16 C. Jurisdiction 17 The basic scope of habeas corpus is prescribed by statute. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3) 18 provides that “[t]he writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless,” inter alia, “[h]e 19 is in custody in violation of the Constitution or law or treaties of the United States.” The 20 Supreme Court has held that “the essence of habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody 21 upon the legality of that custody . . .” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973). 22 In this case, Petitioner is not “in custody” for purposes of federal habeas corpus. 23 Petitioner complains that he is being fined as a result of a traffic infraction. The imposition of a 24 fine does not satisfy the “custody” requirement. See Bailey v. Hill, 599 F.3d 976 (9th Cir.2010); 25 Dremann v. Francis, 828 F.2d 6, 7 (9th Cir. 1987) (per curiam). Therefore, the Court is without 26 jurisdiction to entertain the petition. 27 /// 28 /// 3 1 II. 2 RECOMMENDATION 3 Accordingly, the Court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that the petition for writ of habeas 4 corpus be SUMMARILY DISMISSED with prejudice. 5 This Findings and Recommendation is submitted to the Honorable Lawrence J. O’Neill, 6 United States District Court Judge, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. section 636 (b)(1)(B) 7 and Rule 304 of the Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court, Eastern District 8 of California. 9 Within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy, Petitioner may file written 10 objections with the Court. Such a document should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate 11 Judge’s Findings and Recommendation.” The Court will then review the Magistrate Judge’s 12 ruling pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(C). Petitioner is advised that failure to file objections 13 within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court’s order. Martinez v. 14 Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). 15 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 7, 2014 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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