Williams v. Ahlin

Filing 9

ORDER DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY re 7 Notice of Appeal filed by Michael B. Williams. Signed by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton on 11/28/11. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(nah, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/28/2011)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 OAKLAND DIVISION 6 7 MICHAEL B. WILLIAMS, Petitioner, 8 9 v. ORDER DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY PAM AHLIN, Executive Director, 11 For the Northern District of California 10 United States District Court No. C 11-3787 PJH (PR) Respondent. / 12 13 This case was opened when petitioner, a prisoner at Coalinga State Hospital, filed a 14 petition for a writ of habeas corpus directed to an April 8, 2010, decision of the Probate 15 Division of the Contra Costa Superior Court. He contended that the court improperly 16 allowed funds from his deceased father’s estate to be used to pay the administrator and her 17 lawyer. The court dismissed the petition because petitioner’s claim cannot be brought in 18 habeas, as it does not go to the legality of his confinement or the length of it. Petitioner has 19 filed a notice of appeal and request for a certificate of appealability (“COA”). 20 A petitioner may not appeal a final order in a federal habeas corpus proceeding 21 without first obtaining a certificate of appealability. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c); Fed. R. App. 22 P. 22(b). Section 2253(c)(1) applies to an appeal of a final order entered on a procedural 23 question antecedent to the merits, for instance that the claim is not properly brought in 24 habeas, as here. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483 (2000). 25 “Determining whether a COA should issue where the petition was dismissed on 26 procedural grounds has two components, one directed at the underlying constitutional 27 claims and one directed at the district court’s procedural holding.” Id. at 484-85. “When the 28 district court denies a habeas petition on procedural grounds without reaching the 1 prisoner’s underlying constitutional claim, a COA should issue when the prisoner shows, at 2 least, that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim 3 of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable 4 whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Id. at 484. As each of these 5 components is a “threshold inquiry,” the federal court “may find that it can dispose of the 6 application in a fair and prompt manner if it proceeds first to resolve the issue whose 7 answer is more apparent from the record and arguments.” Id. at 485. Supreme Court 8 jurisprudence “allows and encourages” federal courts to first resolve the procedural issue, 9 as was done here. See id. The petition was dismissed because it did not involve even the conditions of 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 petitioner’s confinement, much less the fact of that confinement or its duration. Reasonable 12 jurists would not find the court’s conclusion on this point debatable or wrong. The request 13 for a certificate of appealability (document number 7 on the docket) is DENIED. 14 The clerk shall transmit the file, including a copy of this order, to the Court of 15 Appeals. See Fed. R.App.P. 22(b); United States v. Asrar, 116 F.3d 1268, 1270 (9th Cir. 16 1997). Petitioner may then ask the Court of Appeals to issue the certificate. See R. App. 17 P. 22(b)(1). 18 IT IS SO ORDERED. 19 Dated: November 28, 2011. PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 P:\PRO-SE\PJH\HC.11\WILLIAMS,M 3787.COA.wpd 28 2

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