Moreira-Alfaro v. Ayers

Filing 2

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. Signed by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton on 1/21/09. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(nah, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/21/2009)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 vs. Warden AYERS, Respondent. / MIGUEL MOREIRA-ALFARO, Petitioner, No. C 09-0083 PJH (PR) ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 A. Standard of Review Petitioner, a California prisoner currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. He has paid the filing fee. Venue is proper because the petitioner is directed to a disciplinary decision and petitioner is confined in this district. See 28 U.S.C. 2241(d). DISCUSSION 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 violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. 2254(a); Rose v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975). Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). An application for a federal writ of habeas corpus filed by a prisoner who is in state custody pursuant to a judgment of a state court must "specify all the grounds for relief which are available to the petitioner ... and shall set forth in summary form the facts supporting each of the grounds thus specified." Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing 2254 Cases, 28 U.S.C. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 foll. 2254. "`[N]otice' pleading is not sufficient, for the petition is expected to state facts that point to a `real possibility of constitutional error.'" Rule 4 Advisory Committee Notes (quoting Aubut v. Maine, 431 F.2d 688, 689 (1st Cir. 1970). "Habeas petitions which appear on their face to be legally insufficient are subject to summary dismissal." Calderon v. United States Dist. Court (Nicolaus), 98 F.3d 1102, 1108 (9th Cir. 1996) (Schroeder, J., concurring). B. Legal Claims Petitioner was given a serious rule violation report for possession of contraband. He was found guilty. Among the penalties imposed was a loss of ninety days of good-time credits. As grounds for federal habeas relief, petitioner asserts that: (1) The California Superior Court's use of a "some evidence" standard in ruling on petitioner's state habeas petition was incorrect; and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support the finding of guilt. The first issue is not grounds for federal habeas relief for several reasons. For one thing, petitioner complains that the state court's use of the "some evidence" standard conflicts with a California regulation. This is, of course, purely a state law issue. See Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991) (federal habeas unavailable for violations of state law or for alleged error in the interpretation or application of state law). For another, an error in state court review, although relevant to whether federal habeas relief can be granted, is not grounds for federal habeas relief in itself. And finally, it is clearly-established that "some evidence" is the correct standard of federal due process review for state prison disciplinary decisions. See Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445 (1985). For these reasons, the first issue will be dismissed. The second issue is sufficient to require a response. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons and for good cause shown, 1. Petitioner's first issue is DISMISSED. 2. The clerk shall serve by regular mail a copy of this order and the petition and all 2 United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 attachments thereto on respondent and respondent's attorney, the Attorney General of the State of California. The clerk also shall serve a copy of this order on petitioner. 3. Respondent shall file with the court and serve on petitioner, within sixty days of the issuance of this order, an answer conforming in all respects to Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, showing cause why a writ of habeas corpus should not be granted. Respondent shall file with the answer and serve on petitioner a copy of all portions of the state trial record that have been transcribed previously and that are relevant to a determination of the issues presented by the petition. If petitioner wishes to respond to the answer, he shall do so by filing a traverse with the court and serving it on respondent within thirty days of his receipt of the answer. 4. Respondent may file a motion to dismiss on procedural grounds in lieu of an answer, as set forth in the Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. If respondent files such a motion, petitioner shall file with the court and serve on respondent an opposition or statement of non-opposition within thirty days of receipt of the motion, and respondent shall file with the court and serve on petitioner a reply within fifteen days of receipt of any opposition. 5. 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 timely fashion. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). See Martinez v. Johnson, 104 F.3d 769, 772 (5th Cir. 1997) (Rule 41(b) applicable in habeas cases). IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 21, 2009. PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 G:\PRO-SE\PJH\HC.09\MOREIRA-ALFARO0083.OSC.wpd 3

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