Ruffin v. Hedgepeth

Filing 7

ORDER REOPENING CASE and ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. Signed by Judge Charles R. Breyer on 10/5/2011. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(beS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/7/2011)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 ROBERT RUFFIN, G-60756, Petitioner, 11 12 13 14 vs. BRENDA CASH, Acting Warden, Respondent. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. C 11-0512 CRB (PR) ORDER REOPENING CASE AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE 15 16 Petitioner, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at California State 17 Prison, Los Angeles County, filed a pro se protective petition for a writ of habeas 18 corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging a conviction and sentence from Santa 19 Clara County Superior Court. Petitioner also moved for a stay until he exhausts 20 his claims in the state courts. 21 Per order filed on February 28, 2011, the court granted the motion to stay 22 proceedings and instructed the clerk to administratively close the case until 23 petitioner exhausts his claims and moves to reopen the case and lift the court's 24 stay. Petitioner recently filed a notice of change of address, wherein he also 25 informs the court that he exhausted his state judicial remedies when the Supreme 26 Court of California rejected his claims in August 2011 and requests that the court 27 lift its stay. Good cause therefor, petitioner's notice is construed in part as a 28 motion to reopen the case and lift the court's stay and is granted. 1 BACKGROUND 2 Petitioner accepted a plea bargain agreement and entered pleas of guilty to 3 a variety of charges related to two separate bank robberies. He also admitted that 4 he had suffered a prior "strike" felony conviction and a prior serious felony 5 conviction. On March 27, 2009, the trial court sentenced petitioner in accordance 6 with the plea agreement to a total term of 35 years to life in state prison. 7 Petitioner appealed and was assigned appellate counsel, who subsequently 8 filed a brief under People v. Wende, 25 Cal. 3d 436 (1979), finding no arguable 9 issues and requesting the California Court of Appeal to review the record 10 independently. On February 19, 2010, the California Court of Appeal filed an 11 opinion finding no arguable issues on appeal and affirming the judgment of the 12 trial court. Petitioner did not seek review from the Supreme Court of California, 13 but later sought habeas relief from the state courts. On August 10, 2011, the 14 Supreme Court of California denied his final petition for a writ of habeas corpus. 15 DISCUSSION 16 A. 17 Standard of Review This court may entertain a petition for a writ of habeas corpus "in behalf 18 of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the 19 ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of 20 the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). 21 It shall "award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show 22 cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application 23 that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto." Id. § 2243. 24 B. 25 26 Claims Petitioner seeks federal habeas corpus relief under § 2254 by raising five claims: (1) the state courts improperly denied his petition for a writ of habeas 27 28 2 1 corpus, (2) the trial court improperly accepted his admission of the prior "strike" 2 conviction without establishing a factual basis for it; (3) his admission of the 3 prior "strike" conviction was not voluntary and intelligent; (4) ineffective 4 assistance of trial counsel for failing to challenge the prior "strike" conviction; 5 and (5) ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to raise issues (2), (3) and (4) 6 on appeal. Claims (1) and (2) are DISMISSED because it is well-established 7 that: (1) errors in the state post-conviction review process are not addressable 8 through federal habeas corpus proceedings, see Ortiz v. Stewart, 149 F.3d 923, 9 939 (9th Cir. 1998), and (2) due process does not require a state court to establish 10 a factual basis for a guilty plea, see Rodriguez v. Ricketts, 777 F.2d 527, 528 (9th 11 Cir. 1985). But liberally construed, claims (3), (4) and (5) appear cognizable 12 under § 2254 and merit an answer from respondent. See Zichko v. Idaho, 247 13 F.3d 1015, 1020 (9th Cir. 2001) (federal courts must construe pro se petitions for 14 writs of habeas corpus liberally). 15 CONCLUSION 16 For the foregoing reasons and for good cause shown, 17 1. The clerk shall serve a copy of this order and the petition and all 18 attachments thereto on respondent and respondent's attorney, the Attorney 19 General of the State of California. The clerk also shall serve a copy of this order 20 on petitioner. 21 2. Respondent shall file with the court and serve on petitioner, within 22 60 days of the issuance of this order, an answer conforming in all respects to Rule 23 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, showing cause why a writ of 24 habeas corpus should not be granted. Respondent shall file with the answer and 25 serve on petitioner a copy of all portions of the state trial record that have been 26 transcribed previously and that are relevant to a determination of the issues 27 28 3 1 2 presented by the petition. If petitioner wishes to respond to the answer, he shall do so by filing a 3 traverse with the court and serving it on respondent within 30 days of his receipt 4 of the answer. 5 3. Respondent may file a motion to dismiss on procedural grounds in 6 lieu of an answer, as set forth in the Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 4 of the 7 Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. If respondent files such a motion, 8 petitioner shall file with the court and serve on respondent an opposition or 9 statement of non-opposition within 30 days of receipt of the motion, and 10 respondent shall file with the court and serve on petitioner a reply within 15 days 11 of receipt of any opposition. 12 4. Petitioner is reminded that all communications with the court must 13 be served on respondent by mailing a true copy of the document to respondent’s 14 counsel. Petitioner must also keep the court and all parties informed of any 15 change of address. 16 SO ORDERED. 17 DATED: Oct. 5, 2011 CHARLES R. BREYER United States District Judge 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 G:\PRO-SE\CRB\HC.11\Ruffin, R.11-0512.osc.wpd 27 28 4

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