Williams v. Pfeiffer

Filing 8

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. Signed by Judge William Alsup on 11/18/2020. (amd2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/18/2020)Any non-CM/ECF Participants have been served by First Class Mail to the addresses of record listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)

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1 2 3 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 BARTON WILLIAMS, Petitioner, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 No. C 20-4776 WHA (PR) ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE v. CHRISTIAN PFEIFFER, 13 Respondent. / 14 15 INTRODUCTION 16 Petitioner, a California prisoner, filed this pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus 17 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his conviction. Petitioner paid the filing fee. A case 18 management order was issued in error and can be disregarded by the parties (ECF Nos. 6, 7). 19 For the reasons discussed below, respondent is ordered to show cause why the petition should 20 not be granted. 21 STATEMENT In 2015, petitioner was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to a term of 75 22 23 years to life plus ten years in state prison. His direct appeal to the California Supreme Court 24 resulted in resentencing in 2019. The claims raised herein were presented to the California 25 Supreme Court on direct review. ANALYSIS 26 27 28 A. STANDARD OF REVIEW This court may entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus "in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in 1 violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. 2254(a); Rose 2 v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975). Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading 3 requirements. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). An application for a federal writ 4 of habeas corpus filed by a prisoner who is in state custody pursuant to a judgment of a state 5 court must “specify all the grounds for relief which are available to the petitioner ... and shall 6 set forth in summary form the facts supporting each of the grounds thus specified.” Rule 2(c) of 7 the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, 28 U.S.C. foll. 2254. “‘[N]otice’ pleading is not 8 sufficient, for the petition is expected to state facts that point to a ‘real possibility of 9 constitutional error.’” Rule 4 Advisory Committee Notes (quoting Aubut v. Maine, 431 F.2d 688, 689 (1st Cir. 1970)). 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 B. 12 LEGAL CLAIMS Petitioner claims that the instructions on arson felony-murder were erroneous, that 13 counsel was ineffective in failing to object to prosecutorial misconduct, and that cumulative 14 effect of the foregoing errors rendered his trial fundamentally unfair in violation of his right to 15 due process. These claims, when liberally construed, are cognizable and warrant an answer 16 from respondent. 17 CONCLUSION 18 For the foregoing reasons, 19 1. The clerk shall mail a copy of this order and the petition with all attachments to the 20 respondent and the respondent's attorney, the Attorney General of the State of California. The 21 clerk shall also serve a copy of this order on the petitioner. 22 2. Respondent shall file with the court and serve on petitioner, within ninety-one (91) 23 days of the issuance of this order, an answer conforming in all respects to Rule 5 of the Rules 24 Governing Section 2254 Cases, showing cause why a writ of habeas corpus should not be 25 granted based on the claim found cognizable herein. Respondent shall file with the answer and 26 serve on petitioner a copy of all portions of the state prison disciplinary proceedings that are 27 relevant to a determination of the issues presented by the petition. 28 If petitioner wishes to respond to the answer, he shall do so by filing a traverse with the 2 1 2 court and serving it on respondent within twenty-eight days of the date the answer is filed. 3. Respondent may file, within ninety-one (91) days, a motion to dismiss on procedural 3 grounds in lieu of an answer, as set forth in the Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 4 of the 4 Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. If respondent files such a motion, petitioner shall file 5 with the court and serve on respondent an opposition or statement of non-opposition within 6 twenty-eight days of the date the motion is filed, and respondent shall file with the court and 7 serve on petitioner a reply within fourteen days of the date any opposition is filed. 8 9 4. Petitioner is reminded that all communications with the court must be served on respondent by mailing a true copy of the document to respondent’s counsel. Petitioner must keep the court informed of any change of address and must comply with the court's orders in a 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 timely fashion. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute 12 pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). 13 14 15 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 18 , 2020. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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