Hill v. Phieffer

Filing 16

ORDER: (1) Overruling Petitioner's Objection; (2) Adopting 14 Report and Recommendation; (3) Granting Defendant's 8 Motion to Dismiss; and (4) Dismissing With Prejudice Petitioner's Petition. Accordingly, the Court Denies a certificate of appealability. Signed by Judge Janis L. Sammartino on 9/12/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(mpl)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 11 12 DIRIKI A. HILL, Case No.: 16cv2843 JLS (KSC) Petitioner, 13 14 v. 15 ORDER: (1) OVERRULING PETITIONER’S OBJECTION; (2) ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; (3) GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS; AND (4) DISMISSING WITH PREJUDICE PETITIONER’S PETITION CHRISTIAN PHIEFFER, Warden, et al., 16 17 Respondents. 18 19 (ECF Nos. 8, 14.) 20 21 22 Presently before the Court is Petitioner’s Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus 23 (“Petition,” ECF No. 1), Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the Petition as Untimely Filed 24 (“MTD,” ECF No. 8), and Petitioner’s Response in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to 25 Dismiss (“Opp’n,” ECF No. 13). Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford issued a Report and 26 Recommendation (“R&R,” ECF No. 14), recommending that the Court grant Defendant’s 27 Motion to Dismiss, and to which Petitioner filed an Objection, (“Obj.,” ECF No. 15). 28 Defendant did not file a reply to Petitioner’s Objection. 1 16cv2843 JLS (KSC) 1 Having considered the Parties’ arguments and the law, as well as the underlying state 2 court record, the Court OVERRULES Petitioner’s Objection, ADOPTS Judge 3 Crawford’s Report and Recommendation, GRANTS Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, and 4 DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE Petitioner’s Petition. 5 BACKGROUND 6 Judge Crawford’s Report and Recommendation contains a complete and accurate 7 recitation of the relevant portions of the factual and procedural histories underlying 8 Defendant’s pending Motion to Dismiss. (See R&R. 1–2.) This Order incorporates by 9 reference the background as set forth therein. 10 LEGAL STANDARD 11 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) set forth a district 12 court’s duties regarding a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation. The district court 13 “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report . . . to which objection 14 is made,” and “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or 15 recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); see also United 16 States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673–76 (1980). In the absence of a timely objection, 17 however, “the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the 18 record in order to accept the recommendation.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72 advisory committee’s 19 note (citing Campbell v. U.S. Dist. Court, 510 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974)). 20 ANALYSIS 21 In his Opposition, Petitioner’s sole argument in support of tolling the Antiterrorism 22 and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) statute of limitations (see 28 U.S.C. 23 § 2244(d)) is that there were “lockdowns in prison preventing him access to the law 24 library.” (Opp’n 3.) Petitioner further argues that his Motion for a Continuance—filed in 25 his prior federal habeas case—“shed a light” on why tolling is appropriate. (Id.) 26 The document Petitioner references was a “Motion for a 30 Day Continuance” that 27 Petitioner filed 959 days after his first federal petition was dismissed, or 757 days after 28 formal judgment was entered in favor of Respondent. In the document, Petitioner requested 2 16cv2843 JLS (KSC) 1 a 30 day continuance, noted that his state petition was denied by the California Supreme 2 Court, and explained only that Petitioner had “been having problems obtaining documents 3 that he need[s] to argue his case.”1 4 In his Objection to Judge Crawford’s R&R, Petitioner argues he “did the best he 5 could in exhausting his federal claims . . . [and] [i]t has nothing to do with [sic] law library 6 and its [sic] access to, but everything to do with his [sic] how much he knows about the 7 legal process.” (Obj. 3.) 8 Petitioner has said nothing about the year-long stint between the denial of his final 9 state petition and filing of his request for a thirty-day continuance. (See Opp’n 2; Obj. 2.) 10 And even if Petitioner’s mere assertions that (1) he had “been having problems obtaining 11 documents that he need[s] to argue his case[,]”2—which Petitioner subsequently explained 12 was a reference to “prison lockdowns[,]” (see Opp’n 2–3)— and; (2) he does not 13 understand “the legal process[,]” were sufficient to toll the AEDPA statute of limitations 14 during this entire year,3 the instant Petition would still be untimely. 15 Specifically, Petitioner’s first state petition was denied on March 3, 2013, and 16 Petitioner took no further action until September 25, 2013, when he filed his first petition 17 in federal court. This period comprises 204 days during which the AEDPA statute of 18 limitations was running. Next, even assuming that Petitioner’s first federal petition tolled 19 AEDPA’s statute of limitations from September 25, 2013 until the final judgment in favor 20 of Respondents (rather than the petition’s initial dismissal)—issued on September 18, 21 2014—then the statute continued to run from that point forward until Petitioner filed his 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 See Hill v. Beard, 13cv2333-CAB (JMA), ECF No. 7. Because the Court rejected this document due to the case having already been dismissed, the document is not a part of the formal record for the case. 2 See Hill v. Beard, 13cv2333-CAB (JMA), ECF No. 7-1, at 1. They are not. See, e.g., Ramirez v. Yates, 571 F.3d 993, 998 (9th Cir. 2009) (“We have little difficulty determining that [the petitioner] is not entitled to equitable tolling . . . simply because he remained in administrative segregation and had limited access to ‘the law library [and] copy machine.’ ” (third alteration in original)); Clark v. McEwen, No. 10-cv-2149, 2012 WL 1205509, at *11 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 28, 2012) (holding “a lack of understanding of the law does not constitute the extraordinary circumstances required for equitable tolling.”) 3 3 16cv2843 JLS (KSC) 1 next state-court petition4 on July 15, 2015, in the California Supreme Court. The period 2 comprises 300 days during which the AEDPA statute of limitations was running. This 3 totals 504 days—well beyond AEDPA’s one-year statute of limitations. Thus, even if the 4 Court granted Petitioner a year’s worth of equitable tolling from the denial of his final state 5 petition to the date of his request for a thirty-day continuance, the instant Petition would 6 still be untimely. 7 CONCLUSION 8 Given the foregoing, the Court OVERRULES Petitioner’s Objection, ADOPTS 9 Judge Crawford’s Report and Recommendation, GRANTS Defendant’s Motion to 10 Dismiss, and DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE Petitioner’s Petition. Furthermore, 11 because Petitioner’s Petition would be untimely even if the Court granted Petitioner the 12 most generous amount of tolling possible under Petitioner’s allegations, Petitioner has 13 failed to show “that jurists of reason could disagree with the district court’s resolution of 14 his constitutional claims or that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to 15 deserve encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327 16 (2003); see also Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). Accordingly, the Court 17 DENIES a certificate of appealability. 18 Because this concludes the litigation in this matter, the Clerk SHALL close the file. 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 Dated: September 12, 2017 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 Petitioner filed another state-court petition during the pendency of his first federal petition. Specifically, he filed his second state-court petition on June 18, 2014 in California Superior Court, which the Superior Court denied on August 18, 2014. 4 16cv2843 JLS (KSC)

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