Carpenter v. Brown, et al

Filing 175

ORDER RE PROCEDURAL DEFAULT 169 . Signed by Judge Maxine M. Chesney on May 8, 2015.(mmcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/8/2015)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 DAVID J. CARPENTER, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Petitioner, 12 13 14 NO. C 00-3706 MMC ORDER RE PROCEDURAL DEFAULT v. RON DAVIS, Acting Warden of California State Prison at San Quentin, DEATH PENALTY CASE Respondent. 15 16 17 18 Introduction The instant case arises from petitioner’s conviction and death sentence for murdering five 19 people in Marin County and raping or attempting to rape three of them. His crimes occurred 20 between October 11, 1980, and November 28, 1980. Due to pre-trial publicity, the case was tried in 21 San Diego County. On November 29, 1999, the California Supreme Court affirmed petitioner’s 22 conviction and death sentence. See People v. Carpenter, 21 Cal. 4th 1016 (1999).1 On October 2, 23 2000, the United States Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari. See Carpenter v. California, 24 531 U.S. 838 (2000). Prior to affirmance of his conviction and sentence on direct review, petitioner 25 26 1 Petitioner was separately convicted and sentenced to death for, among other things, 27 murdering two people and attempting to murder a third in Santa Cruz County between March and May of 1981. The Santa Cruz County charges, also due to pre-trial publicity, were tried in Los 28 Angeles County. Petitioner’s conviction and death sentence based on the Santa Cruz-Los Angeles County case is the subject of a separate federal habeas petition before this Court, Carpenter v. Woodford, C 98-2444 MMC, (“Carpenter I”). 1 filed two separate state habeas petitions. The first petition was filed in the trial court on September 2 28, 1988, and was based on allegations of juror misconduct. The trial court granted the petition and 3 ordered a new trial; the California Supreme Court, however, reversed the new trial order and denied 4 the petition. See In re Carpenter, 9 Cal.4th 634 (1995). The second petition was filed in the 5 California Supreme Court on November 1, 1999, and was denied on January 13, 2000. See In re 6 Carpenter, No. S083246. 7 Petitioner filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus in this court on November 4, 8 2002. On November 26, 2002, this Court granted petitioner’s motion to hold the proceedings in 9 abeyance while he filed a second state habeas petition in the California Supreme Court. On 11 December 27, 2002, petitioner filed his First Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“First For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 December 18, 2002, the California Supreme Court denied the second state petition, and on 12 Amended Petition”) in this Court. 13 Respondent subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the first amended petition, primarily 14 asserting various procedural grounds, which, respondent argued, warranted dismissal of at least 15 certain portions of petitioner’s First Amended Petition. In a series of orders, the Court thereafter 16 addressed all of the procedural issues, and also addressed multiple claims on the merits. 17 Now before the Court is respondent’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s denial in part 18 of respondent’s earlier motion to dismiss certain claims on procedural grounds. Respondent argues 19 that an intervening change in the law, specifically the United States Supreme Court’s decision in 20 Walker v. Martin, 131 S. Ct. 1120 (2011), calls some of the Court’s earlier findings on procedural 21 default into question. For the following reasons, respondent’s motion will be granted. 22 Legal Standard 23 Federal courts will not review “a question of federal law decided by a state court if the 24 decision of that court rests on a state law ground that is independent of the federal question and 25 adequate to support the judgment.” Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 729 (1991). The doctrine 26 of procedural default is a “specific application of the general adequate and independent state grounds 27 doctrine.” Fields v. Calderon, 125 F.3d 757, 762 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal quotation and citation 28 omitted). It bars a federal court from granting relief on a claim where the state court has declined to 2 1 address the claim on the basis of the petitioner’s failure to meet a state procedural requirement. Id. 2 In the habeas context, the procedural default doctrine furthers the interests of comity and 3 federalism. Coleman, 501 U.S. at 730. It helps ensure that the state criminal trial remains the “main 4 event” rather than a “tryout on the road” for a later federal habeas proceeding. Wainwright v. Sykes, 5 433 U.S. 72, 90 (1977). 6 To determine whether a claim is defaulted, the federal court must establish whether the 7 procedural rule the state court invoked to bar the claim is both “independent” and “adequate” to 8 preclude federal review. “For a state procedural rule to be “independent,” the state law basis for the 9 decision must not be interwoven with federal law.” La Crosse v. Kernan, 244 F.3d 702, 704 (9th 11 California made clear that it would no longer consider federal law when denying a habeas claim as For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Cir. 2001), citing Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032, 1040-41 (1983). In 1998, the Supreme Court of 12 procedurally barred on grounds of untimeliness. See In re Robbins, 18 Cal. 4th 770, 814 n.34 13 (1998). 14 For a state procedural rule to be “adequate,” it must be clear, well-established and 15 consistently applied. Calderon v. Bean, 96 F.3d 1126, 1129 (9th Cir. 1996). The issue of whether a 16 state procedural rule is adequate to foreclose federal review is itself a federal question. Douglas v. 17 Alabama, 380 U.S. 415, 422 (1965). 18 19 Procedural Background This Court previously denied respondent’s motion to dismiss Claims 5, 6, 7.D, 7.E, 7.F, 7.H, 20 7.I, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 32, 45.A, 45.B, 45.F, 45.I, 45.J, 45.K, 45.M, and 48 as 21 procedurally defaulted on grounds of untimeliness, under In re Clark, 5 Cal. 4th 750 (1993) and In 22 re Robbins, 18 Cal. 4th 770 (1998). (See Docket No. 78.) Additionally, the Court denied 23 respondent’s motion to dismiss Claims 5, 11, 15.B, 15.C, 17, 22, 23, 25, 27, 32, 45.A, 45.B, 45.F, 24 45.I, 45.J and 45.M as procedurally defaulted on the ground that petitioner had failed to raise them 25 on direct appeal, in violation of In re Dixon, 41 Cal. 2d 756 (1953). (See Docket No. 78.) In 26 particular, the Court held that pursuant to the applicable law at that time, specifically Bennett v. 27 Mueller, 322 F.3d 573 (9th Cir. 2003), Fields v. Calderon, 125 F.3d 757 (9th Cir. 1997), and 28 Morales v. Calderon, 85 F.3d 1387 (1996), California’s untimeliness and Dixon bars were neither 3 1 well-established nor consistently applied by the state courts, and thus were inadequate to bar federal 2 review. As noted above, respondent now asks the Court to reconsider that order, and find those 3 claims defaulted due to an intervening change in the law. 4 5 Analysis “California does not employ fixed statutory deadlines to determine the timeliness of a state 6 prisoner’s petition for habeas corpus. Instead, California directs petitioners to file known claims as 7 promptly as circumstances allow.” Martin, 131 S. Ct. at 1124 (internal quotation and citation 8 omitted.) Several leading decisions influence the analysis of untimeliness defaults. In 1993, the 9 California Supreme Court decided Clark, 5 Cal. 4th 750, clarifying the law regarding untimeliness. 11 was found to be inadequate to bar federal review. See Fields, 125 F.3d at 763-764. In 1998, the For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Prior to that time, the untimeliness bar was not firmly established or consistently applied, and thus 12 California Supreme Court decided Robbins, declaring that it would no longer consider federal law 13 when denying a habeas claim as procedurally barred for untimeliness, and thus establishing the 14 independence of California’s untimeliness bar. See Robbins, 18 Cal. 4th at 811-12, n.32. Even for 15 defaults occurring after Clark and Robbins, however, district courts within the Ninth Circuit 16 continued to hold California’s timeliness bar inadequate, based on its discretionary application. See, 17 e.g., Dennis v. Brown, 361 F. Supp. 2d 1124, 1130-34. (N.D. Cal. 2005). 18 In Martin, the United States Supreme Court held that California’s timeliness rule is adequate 19 to bar federal habeas review. See Martin, 131 S. Ct. at 1131. Specifically, the Supreme Court held 20 California’s untimeliness bar was “firmly established and regularly followed,” id. at 1127, and thus 21 adequate to trigger a procedural bar to federal habeas review, id. at 1128-29. 22 I. Applicability of Martin 23 Petitioner concedes that the law upon which this Court earlier relied in denying respondent’s 24 motion to dismiss claims as procedurally defaulted under the timeliness bar is no longer valid after 25 Martin. Petitioner argues, however, that his claims that were defaulted under Dixon are not barred 26 from federal review. The Court thus turns to that issue. 27 The California Supreme Court held that Claims 5, 11, 15.B, 15.C, 17, 22, 23, 25, 27, 32, 28 45.A, 45.B, 45.F, 45.I, 45.J and 45.M were barred as “pretermitted” under Dixon, 41 Cal. 2d at 756, 4 1 because petitioner failed to raise them on direct appeal.2 Earlier, as noted, the California Supreme 2 Court, in Harris, had held the Dixon bar adequate. See Harris, 5 Cal. 4th at 829. Even for defaults 3 occurring after Harris, however, district courts within the Ninth Circuit continued to hold 4 California’s Dixon bar inadequate, based on its discretionary application. See, e.g., Dennis, 361 F. 5 Supp. 2d at 1130-34. Consistent therewith, this Court found the Dixon bar was independent, but not 6 adequate, and denied respondent’s motion to dismiss the claims on Dixon grounds. In the instant 7 motion, respondent, while acknowledging Martin dealt specifically with the adequacy of the 8 untimeliness bar under Clark/Robbins, argues its reasoning is applicable to the Dixon bar as well. 9 The Court agrees. Although petitioner is correct that the specific issue raised in Martin was the adequacy of 11 California’s timeliness rule, the Supreme Court did not explicitly limit its discussion or reasoning to For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 that procedural bar. Rather, the Court’s analysis considered the adequacy of procedural 13 requirements in general, holding “procedural ground[s]” must be “firmly established and regularly 14 followed.” Martin, 131 S. Ct. at 1127. In addition, the Supreme Court held that even a 15 “discretionary” state procedural rule “can serve as an adequate ground to bar federal habeas review.” 16 Id. at 1128 (internal quotation and citation omitted); see also id. at 1130 (noting discretion enables a 17 court “to avoid the harsh results that sometimes attend consistent application of an unyielding rule”). 18 After the Supreme Court’s decision in Martin, numerous district courts in the Ninth Circuit 19 have concluded that the Dixon bar is adequate under the reasoning of Martin, see, e.g., Richardson v. 20 Biter, 2014 WL 296635, at *7-8 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 28, 2014); Lee v. Mitchell, 2012 WL 2194471 at *17 21 (C.D. Cal. May 1, 2012); Ortiz v. Harrington, 2013 WL 6387146 at *15 n.10 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 6, 22 2013). This Court is in accord with the reasoning of those district court decisions, and, accordingly, 23 finds the Dixon rule is both independent and adequate. Consequently, Claims 5, 11, 15.B, 15.C, 17, 24 22, 23, 25, 27, 32, 45.A, 45.B, 45.F, 45.I, 45.J and 45.M are barred as pretermitted, unless petitioner 25 2 Dixon bar is 26 the directUnder controlling California law, applicability of thebar to apply, adetermined at the time appeal is filed. Specifically, in order for the Dixon petitioner’s direct appeal must have been filed after 1993, the year in which the California Supreme Court decided In 27 re Harris. See Harris, 5 Cal. 4th 813, 829 (1993) (establishing Dixon bar as adequate procedural petitioner 28 bar). Here,Harris. filed his opening brief in the California Supreme Court on May 21, 1998, five years after 5 1 can later show cause and prejudice for the default. 2 II. Petitioner’s Additional Arguments 3 Petitioner argues that, even if this Court finds Martin applies to both the timeliness and the 4 Dixon bars, “alternative grounds” nonetheless exist that would allow the Court to find his claims are 5 not defaulted. The Court next considers each such argument in turn. 6 7 A. Timing of Motion to Reconsider Petitioner argues that respondent’s motion to reconsider is untimely. As respondent correctly 8 points out however, Civil Local Rule 7-9, pursuant to which respondent brings the instant motion, 9 requires only that a motion for reconsideration be brought “[b]efore the entry of judgment 11 9(a). Respondent’s motion was brought prior to the entry of judgment. Thus, in accordance with For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 adjudicating all of the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties. . . .” See Civil L.R. 7- 12 this district’s local rules, the motion is appropriate for this Court to consider on the merits, and 13 petitioner points to no circumstances or considerations warranting a ruling to the contrary. 14 B. California Supreme Court’s Consideration of the Merits of Defaulted Claims 15 Next, noting that the California Supreme Court frequently considers the merits of claims that 16 it has held to be procedurally defaulted, petitioner argues that the California Supreme Court’s 17 determination to also reach the merits of certain claims renders those procedural defaults 18 “inadequate” to bar federal review. 19 The United States Supreme Court has held that “a state court need not fear reaching the 20 merits of a federal claim . . . as long as the state court explicitly invokes a state procedural bar as a 21 separate basis for decision.” See Harris v. Reed, 489 U.S. 255, 264 n.10 (1989); see also Bennett, 22 322 F.3d at 580 (holding “[a] state court’s application of a procedural rule is not undermined where, 23 as here, the state court simultaneously rejects the merits of the claim”). Accordingly, petitioner’s 24 argument is without merit. 25 26 C. Independence of Timeliness Bar Lastly, petitioner argues that California’s timeliness bar is not independent of federal law, 27 and thus cannot bar federal review of his claims. This argument likewise is unavailing. The Court 28 previously held that both the untimeliness bar and the Dixon bar are independent. (See Docket No. 6 1 78.) Petitioner cites to no authority to the contrary. Rather, Ninth Circuit authority has long held 2 that “because the California timeliness rule is not interwoven with federal law, it is an independent 3 state procedural ground, as expressed in Clark/Robbins.” See Bennett, 322 F.3d at 581. Moreover, 4 subsequent to this Court’s order finding petitioner’s untimely claims were not procedurally 5 defaulted, the Supreme Court unequivocally has held that California’s timeliness rule is both 6 independent and adequate to bar federal review. See Martin, 131 S. Ct. at 1131.3 Consequently, the 7 California Supreme Court’s denial of petitioner’s claims on grounds of untimeliness prohibits 8 federal review of those claims. 9 It is undisputed that numerous claims held to be untimely or pretermitted by the state court 11 were presented in their entirety for the first time in petitioner’s second state habeas petition. For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 D. Defaulted Claims 12 Accordingly, those claims are defaulted in their entirety. 13 Petitioner argues, however, that certain claims are not procedurally barred, despite the fact 14 that they were untimely presented in petitioner’s second state habeas petition. According to 15 petitioner, those claims include material that was also presented to the state court on direct appeal or 16 in the first state habeas petition, and to which no default was applied. As this Court held in its order 17 on respondent’s motion to reconsider in Carpenter I, the procedural bar applies only to the new 18 portions of the claims presented in the second state habeas petition. Accordingly, the portions of the 19 claims at issue that were procedurally barred in petitioner’s second state habeas petition are 20 defaulted.4 21 22 E. Cause, Prejudice, and Miscarriage of Justice Respondent argues that petitioner’s pleadings fail to address cause, prejudice, or the 23 miscarriage of justice to overcome his defaults, and, according to respondent, petitioner’s claims 24 thus must be denied. Petitioner counters that any defaults should be excused because he will be able 25 to establish one or more such exceptions. 26 3 Indeed, not “dispute that 27 an ‘independent’ even the petitioner in Martin didS. Ct. at 1127. [California’s] time limitation is state ground.” See Martin, 131 28 4 Additionally, some of those claims have been denied on the merits. 7 1 As the determination of whether petitioner has established exceptions to default involves an 2 examination of the merits of petitioner’s claims, the Court defers ruling on the former until after it 3 has considered the latter. See Batchelor v. Cupp, 693 F.2d 859, 864 (9th Cir. 1982) (finding, where 4 deciding merits of claims proves to be more efficient than adjudicating exceptions to procedural 5 default, court may exercise discretion to do so). The Court will consider at a later date issues of 6 cause, prejudice, and miscarriage of justice with respect to any claims that at such time appear to 7 have merit. 8 9 For the foregoing reasons, the Court concludes as follows: 1. As to Claims 5, 6, 7.D, 7.E, 7.F, 7.H, 7.I, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 32, 11 45.A, 45.B, 45.F, 45.I, 45.J, 45.K, 45.M and 48, any and all portions of said claims presented for the For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Conclusion 12 first time in petitioner’s second state habeas petition and held to be untimely by the California 13 Supreme Court are defaulted as untimely. 14 2. As to Claims 5, 11, 15.B, 15.C, 17, 22, 23, 25, 27, 32, 45.A, 45.B, 45.F, 45.I, and 45.M, 15 with the exception of any assertions of ineffective assistance of counsel as to Claims 5, 11, 15.B and 16 15.C., any and all portions of said claims presented for the first time in petitioner’s second state 17 habeas petition and held to be pretermitted by the California Supreme Court are defaulted as 18 pretermitted. 19 3. Within sixty (60) days of the date of this Order, petitioner and respondent are instructed to 20 meet and confer, and to submit a proposed litigation schedule for the briefing of Group 4 claims. 21 The Court will schedule a case management conference if necessary. 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 DATED: May 8, 2015 25 MAXINE M. CHESNEY United States District Judge 26 27 28 8

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