Barker v. Grounds

Filing 4

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge Ronald M. Whyte on 4/21/11. (jg, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/21/2011)

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1 2 3 *E-FILED - 4/21/11* 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ROBERT BARKER, 11 Petitioner, 12 vs. 13 WARDEN R. GROUNDS, 14 Respondent. 15 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. C 11-0609 RMW (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 16 Petitioner, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 17 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging a 2008 decision by the California Board of Parole Hearings’ 18 (“Board”) finding him unsuitable for parole. Petitioner has paid the filing fee. For the reasons 19 stated below, the court DISMISSES the petition for failure to state a cognizable claim for relief. 20 BACKGROUND 21 According to the petition, in 1986, petitioner was found guilty of first degree murder with 22 the use of a weapon, and was sentenced to a term of 26 years-to-life in state prison. On 23 September 23, 2008, petitioner was denied parole. Petitioner challenged this decision 24 unsuccessfully in all three levels of state court. 25 DISCUSSION 26 A. Standard of Review 27 This court may entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus “in behalf of a person in 28 Order of Dismissal P:\PRO-SE\SJ.Rmw\HC.11\Barker609dis.wpd 1 custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court only on the ground that he is in custody in 2 violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); Rose 3 v. Hodges, 423 U.S. 19, 21 (1975). 4 A district court shall “award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show 5 cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the 6 applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto.” 28 U.S.C. § 2243. 7 B. 8 9 Petitioner’s Claims As grounds for federal habeas relief, petitioner claims only that the Board improperly denied parole based on the unchanging facts of the underlying commitment offense in the face of 10 evidence of significant rehabilitation and without sufficient evidence that Petitioner would 11 currently be a danger to society if released. However, the Supreme Court has recently made 12 clear that a prisoner’s federal due process claim regarding a denial of parole is limited to whether 13 he received the minimum procedures necessary under the federal constitution. Swarthout v. 14 Cooke, 131 S. Ct. 859, 862-63 (U.S. 2011) (per curiam). Specifically, this court’s inquiry is 15 limited to whether petitioner was given an opportunity to be heard, and given a statement of 16 reasons for the denial. Id. at 862, citing Greenholtz v. Inmates of Neb. Penal and Correctional 17 Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 16 (1979). Thus, petitioner’s claim fails to state a cognizable claim for 18 federal habeas relief. See id. 19 20 Accordingly, this case is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim. The Clerk shall close the file and enter judgment in this matter. 21 CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY 22 A certificate of appealability will not issue. Reasonable jurists would not “find the 23 district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 24 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). Petitioner may seek a certificate of appealability from the Court of 25 Appeals. 26 27 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: 4/21/11 RONALD M. WHYTE United States District Judge 28 Order of Dismissal P:\PRO-SE\SJ.Rmw\HC.11\Barker609dis.wpd 2

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