Dominguez v. Kernan, No. 18-55209 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of a 28 U.S.C. 2254 habeas corpus petition asserting that California's second prosecution of petitioner violated the Double Jeopardy Clause. While the petition was pending, the state trial court vacated petitioner's convictions under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and the state elected to retry him on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. The district court dismissed the petition as moot.
The panel held that the petition was not moot because it continued to present a live controversy where petitioner remained in custody, continued to claim he was in custody in violation of the Constitution, and continued to present precisely the same legal claim that he presented when his petition was filed. Furthermore, because petitioner's detention was no longer attributable to a state court judgment, proceeding under section 2254 was no longer appropriate, and he was free to seek habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2241(a) and (c)(3). On remand, the district court may convert the petition or dismiss it without prejudice.