(HC) Church v. Anglea, No. 2:2018cv00832 - Document 9 (E.D. Cal. 2019)

Court Description: ORDER and FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS signed by Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan on 4/18/19 GRANTING 2 Motion to Proceed IFP. The clerk of the court shall randomly assign a United States District Judge. Also, RECOMMENDING that the petition 1 be dismissed for failure to state a cognizable claim. Assigned and referred to Judge Troy L. Nunley. Objections due within 14 days. (Plummer, M)
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(HC) Church v. Anglea Doc. 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JACK CHURCH, 12 Petitioner, 13 14 No. 2:18-cv-832 EFB P v. HUNTER ANGLEA, 15 ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Respondent. 16 Petitioner, a state prisoner without counsel on a petition for a writ of habeas corpus 17 18 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 6. His 19 application makes the required showing of indigency and is granted. However, for the reasons 20 stated below, his habeas petition fails to state a viable federal claim and must be dismissed. 21 I. Legal Standards 22 The court must dismiss a habeas petition or portion thereof if the prisoner raises claims 23 that are legally “frivolous or malicious” or fail to state a basis on which habeas relief may be 24 granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). The court must dismiss a habeas petition “[i]f it plainly 25 appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief[.]” 26 Rule 4 Governing Section 2254 Cases. 27 ///// 28 ///// 1 Dockets.Justia.com 1 II. 2 Petitioner argues that in 2011 and after his conviction, California amended the law to Analysis 3 provide defendants with a more favorable calculation of pre-sentence custody credits. ECF No. 1 4 at 5. He states that his due process and equal protection rights have been violated insofar as the 5 law was no retroactively applied to reduce his sentence. Id. at 5-7. The court finds that, for the 6 reasons stated below, petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief. 7 The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment “commands that no State shall 8 ‘deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,’ which is essentially a 9 direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.” City of Cleburne v. Cleburne 10 Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 439-40 (1985). However, the Supreme Court has held that “the 14th 11 Amendment does not forbid statutes and statutory changes to have a beginning, and thus to 12 discriminate between the rights of an earlier and later time.” Sperry & Hutchinson Co. v. Rhodes, 13 220 U.S. 502, 505 (1911). And this circuit has denied similar claims. In Jones v. Cupp, the Ninth 14 Circuit rejected a petitioner’s claim that his equal protection rights were violated by Oregon’s 15 failure to retroactively apply a legislative change reducing the maximum penalty for second 16 degree murder. 452 F. 2d 1091, 1093 (9th Cir. 1971). The Jones court approvingly cited a First 17 Circuit case - Comerford v. Commonwealth, 233 F.2d 294 (1st Cir. 1956) – which noted that 18 “[t]here is nothing unconstitutional in a legislature’s conferring a benefit on prisoners only 19 prospectively.” Id. at 295. Federal law does require that differences in classifications be related 20 to a legitimate state purpose. McQueary v. Blodgett, 924 F.2d 829, 834-35 (9th Cir. 1991). That 21 requirement is met. In Foster v. v. Washington State Board of Prison Terms and Paroles, the 22 Ninth Circuit held that: 23 There is no denial of equal protection in having persons sentenced under one system for crimes committed before July 1, 1984 and another class of prisoners sentenced under a different system. The standard is of a rational relation to governmental purpose. Improvement in sentencing is rational governmental purpose. 24 25 26 878 F.2d 1233, 1235 (9th Cir. 1989). Thus, petitioner’s claim must be denied. 27 ///// 28 ///// 2 1 III. 2 Accordingly, it is ORDERED that: 3 1. Petitioner’s application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is GRANTED; and 4 2. The Clerk of Court shall randomly assign a United States District Judge. 5 Further, it is HEREBY RECOMMENDED that the petition (ECF No. 1) be DISMISSED 6 7 Conclusion for failure to state a cognizable federal claim. These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District Judge 8 assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within fourteen days 9 after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written 10 objections with the court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document should be captioned 11 “Objections to Magistrate Judge’s Findings and Recommendations.” Failure to file objections 12 within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court’s order. Turner v. 13 Duncan, 158 F.3d 449, 455 (9th Cir. 1998); Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). In 14 his objections petitioner may address whether a certificate of appealability should issue in the 15 event he files an appeal of the judgment in this case. See Rule 11, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases 16 (the district court must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order 17 adverse to the applicant). 18 DATED: April 18, 2019. 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3