(HC) Pierce v. Holifield, et al.

Filing 22

ORDER ADOPTING 19 Findings and Recommendation; ORDER DISMISSING Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus; ORDER DIRECTING Clerk of Court to Close Case; ORDER DECLINING to Issue Certificate of Appealability, signed by District Judge Ana de Alba on 09/14/2022. CLOSED CASE (Martin-Gill, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 DOLPHUS DWAYNE PIERCE, 12 13 14 No. 1:20-cv-00459-ADA-HBK Petitioner, v. ERICA HOLIFIELD, T.R. MERICKEL, 15 Respondents. 16 ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO CLOSE CASE, AND DECLINING TO ISSUE CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY (Doc. No. 19) 17 18 19 Petitioner Dolphus Dwayne Pierce, a state probationer represented by counsel, has 20 pending a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. No. 1.) This 21 matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and 22 Local Rule 302. 23 On January 13, 2022, the assigned magistrate judge issued findings and recommendations 24 recommending that grounds one and two of the petition be denied on the merits. (Doc. No. 19.) 25 Those findings and recommendations were served on petitioner and contained notice that any 26 objections thereto were to be filed within fourteen (14) days of service. (Id.) On January 24, 27 2022, petitioner filed objections to the findings and recommendations. (Doc. No. 20.) 28 In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), the court has conducted a 1 1 de novo review of the case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, including petitioner’s 2 objections, the court holds the findings and recommendations to be supported by the record and 3 proper analysis. 4 The court will, however, address petitioner’s objections to the findings and 5 recommendations regarding the first ground of relief. The magistrate judge’s analysis correctly 6 concludes that, as a method of challenging the underlying fact of conviction, petitioner’s argument 7 is unavailing. Petitioner’s objections, however, specify that it is the length of sentence, not the fact 8 of conviction, that is in dispute. Specifically, petitioner acknowledges he was convicted of a felony 9 under California Penal Code section 182(a)(1). The question is whether the trial court was 10 permitted to sentence petitioner based on a sentencing range of 2, 3, or 5 years rather a sentencing 11 range of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years. Based on this, petitioner’s argument invoking Apprendi v. 12 New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) and its progeny may have merit. This court will not, however, 13 address that argument because it appears to be moot. When a petitioner challenges a sentence, 14 rather than the conviction itself, the petition becomes moot when the petitioner is released from 15 custody. See Cox v. McCarthy, 829 F.2d 800, 803 (9th Cir. 1987). Here, it appears that petitioner 16 was sentenced to five years of probation on September 16, 2016. That five-year probationary period 17 would, therefore, have expired, at the latest, on September 16, 2021.1 While it is true that the 18 existence of collateral consequences may permit a court to retain jurisdiction over a properly filed 19 habeas corpus petition, see Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U.S. 234, 237–39 (1968), “a criminal sentence 20 . . . carries no presumption of collateral consequences.” Maciel v. Cate, 731 F.3d 928, 931 (9th Cir. 21 2013). Here, petitioner does not allege any collateral consequences stemming from his sentence 22 that relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254 would remedy. 23 Having found that petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief, the court now turns to whether 24 a certificate of appealability should issue. A petitioner seeking a writ of habeas corpus has no 25 absolute entitlement to appeal a district court’s denial of his petition, and an appeal is only 26 allowed in certain circumstances. Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 335-36 (2003); 28 U.S.C. 27 28 There is no indication in the record that petitioner’s probation was ever revoked, tolling the probationary period. 2 1 1 § 2253. The court should issue a certificate of appealability if “reasonable jurists could debate 2 whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a different 3 manner or that the issues presented were ‘adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed 4 further.’” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (quoting Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 5 880, 893 & n.4 (1983)). In the present case, the court finds that reasonable jurists would not find 6 the court’s determination that the petition should be dismissed debatable or wrong, or that 7 petitioner should be allowed to proceed further. Therefore, the court declines to issue a certificate 8 of appealability. 9 Accordingly, 10 1. 11 The findings and recommendations issued on January 13, 2022 (Doc. No. 19) are adopted in full; 12 2. The petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. No. 1) is denied; 13 3. The court declines to issue a certificate of appealability; and 14 4. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the case. 15 16 17 18 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: September 14, 2022 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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