Peters v. Beard
ORDER signed by Senior Judge James K. Singleton on 09/26/17 ORDERING that, by 10/26/17, the parties are DIRECTED to submit a memorandum no greater than 15 pages in length discussing the impact, if any, of the California Supreme Court's decision in People v. Sanchez, 374 P.3d 320 (Cal. 2016). By 10/26/17, Respondent is DIRECTED to lodge with the Court the sealed transcripts of the in camera hearings or a filing that indicates where in the record the transcripts may be found. (Benson, A.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SHANE AUSTIN PETERS,
ERIC ARNOLD, Warden, California State
Shane Austin Peters, a state prisoner represented by counsel, filed a Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus with this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. One of the claims raised in his
Petition is that the trial court violated Peters’ right to confrontation when it denied Peters’
request to disclose the identities of confidential informants on whom the prosecution’s gang
expert relied in part.
After the parties completed briefing in this case, the California Supreme Court decided
People v. Sanchez, 374 P.3d 320, 327-28 (Cal. 2016), in which it held that a gang expert may
testify about his general knowledge but not about case-specific facts of which he has no personal
knowledge. The California Supreme Court determined that such statements violate the
Confrontation Clause if the hearsay is testimonial, unless there is a showing of unavailability and
the defendant had a prior opportunity for cross-examination or forfeited that right by
wrongdoing. Id. at 324. The Court has determined that additional briefing on the impact of
Eric Arnold, Warden, California State Prison, Solano, is substituted for Jeffrey A.
Beard, former Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. FED. R. CIV.
P. 25(c); Rule 2(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts;
Stanley v. Cal. Supreme Court, 21 F.3d 359, 360 (9th Cir. 1994).
Sanchez, if any, on this case would be helpful. See Casey v. Moore, 386 F.3d 896, 907 (9th Cir.
2004) (“Although lower federal court and state court precedent may be relevant when that
precedent illuminates the application of clearly established federal law as determined by the
United States Supreme Court, if it does not do so, it is of no moment.”). The parties should
therefore address two questions: (1) Does Sanchez illuminate the holdings of Crawford v.
Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), and Williams v. Taylor, 567 U.S. 50 (2014), or modify or
extend those decisions in a manner precluded by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)?; and (2) If Sanchez may
be considered, it is distinguishable from the facts of this case?
Moreover, the Court is unclear whether it has all necessary records for the complete and
thorough adjudication of Peters’ Confrontation Claim. The California Court of Appeal’s
decision on direct appeal indicates that the appellate court reviewed transcripts of two in camera
hearings held in California Superior Court on Peters’ motion to disclose the identities of the
informants. See People v. Peters, Nos. A131097 & A132226, 2013 WL 56988, at *7 (Cal. Ct.
App. Jan. 4, 2013). This Court has been unable to locate these sealed documents in the records
Respondent has thus far provided. To perform the “independent review” of state court decisions
as required in § 2254 cases, the Court finds it necessary to also review those sealed transcripts.
See Nasby v. McDaniel, 853 F.3d 1049 (9th Cir. 2017) (district court erred in ruling on merits of
petition without first requiring State to submit all relevant portions of the state record); see also
Jones v. Wood, 114 F.3d 1002, 1008 (9th Cir. 1997) (holding that a habeas court must either
obtain and review the relevant portions of the record on which the state court based its judgment,
or conduct an evidentiary hearing of its own).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT, by October 26, 2017, the parties are directed
to submit a memorandum no greater than 15 pages in length discussing the impact, if any, of the
California Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Sanchez, 374 P.3d 320 (Cal. 2016).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, by October 26, 2017, Respondent is directed to
lodge with the Court the sealed transcripts of the in camera hearings or a filing that indicates
where in the record the transcripts may be found.
Dated: September 26, 2017.
/s/James K. Singleton, Jr.
JAMES K. SINGLETON, JR.
Senior United States District Judge
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