Jones v. Wong
ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Craig M. Kellison on 3/30/15 ORDERING that petitioners counsels request for a determination under Harbison v. Bell, 556 U.S. 180, 190 n.7 (2009), and 18 U.S.C. § 3599 is denied without prejudice. (Dillon, M)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
JEFFREY GERALD JONES,
No. CIV S-97-2167-MCE-CMK
DEATH PENALTY CASE
Petitioner, a state prisoner proceeding with appointed counsel, seeks a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Pending before the court is petitioner’s counsel’s
request under Harbison v. Bell, 556 U.S. 180, 190 n.7 (2009), and 18 U.S.C. § 3599 for an order
determining “. . .that it would be appropriate for federal counsel to appear in state court to
exhaust state remedies.”
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d), Ron Davis is substituted for
his predecessor. The Clerk of the Court is directed to update the docket to reflect the above
At the outset, the court notes that the manner in which petitioner’s counsel’s
request has been presented is improper. Specifically, the request was made by way of a March
16, 2015, letter signed by Federal Defender Heather E. Williams, Esq., and submitted directly to
chambers “under seal.” The request was not and has not been filed on the court’s public docket,
nor is there any indication that the letter was sent to respondent’s counsel. Petitioner’s counsel
made no separate request that the court permit a filing under seal. Moreover, petitioner’s counsel
submitted a proposed order, also to be filed under seal. Again, petitioner’s counsel has offered
no justification for a filing under seal.
With respect to the substance of petitioner’s counsel’s request, the request will be
denied at this point in time. Under the authorities cited by petitioner’s counsel, the court may
authorize the Office of the Federal Defender to represent petitioner in state court exhaustion
proceedings. However, the cited authorities also clearly contemplate that, before such
authorization is granted, a determination must first be made as to whether it is permissible to
return to state court. Because no such determination has been made, petitioner’s counsel’s
request for authorization to represent petitioner in state court exhaustion proceedings is
Finally, the court notes that this case is currently stayed due to petitioner’s
incompetence. Respondent’s motion to lift the stay is currently set for hearing on June 24, 2015.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner’s counsel’s request for a
determination under Harbison v. Bell, 556 U.S. 180, 190 n.7 (2009), and 18 U.S.C. § 3599 is
denied without prejudice.
DATED: March 30, 2015
CRAIG M. KELLISON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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