Partida v. Curry, No. 4:2008cv03751 - Document 13 (N.D. Cal. 2011)

Court Description: ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS. Signed by Judge Claudia Wilken on 2/14/2011. (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/14/2011)

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Partida v. Curry Doc. 13 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 DANIEL PARTIDA, ) No. C 08-03751 CW (PR) ) Petitioner, ) ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR A ) WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS v. ) ) ) BEN CURRY, Warden, ) Respondent. ) ___________________________ ) INTRODUCTION 17 This is a federal habeas corpus action filed pursuant to 28 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 U.S.C. § 2254 by a pro se state prisoner. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is DENIED. BACKGROUND In 1993, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury convicted Petitioner of second degree murder, and he was sentenced to fifteen years to life in state prison. In 2005, the Board of 25 26 27 28 Parole Hearings (Board) found Petitioner unsuitable for parole on grounds that the circumstances of the commitment offense and his criminal history indicate that he "would still pose an 1 unreasonable risk of danger to society and or a threat to public 2 safety if released from prison." 3 Transcript) at 84.) 4 (Pet., Ex. D (Parole Hearing In response to the Board's decision, Petitioner sought, but was denied, relief on state collateral 5 review. This federal habeas petition followed. As grounds for 6 7 federal habeas relief, Petitioner claims that (1) the Board 8 violated his right to due process because there was no reliable or 9 relevant evidence to support the reasons given for denying parole; United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 (2) the Board used an incorrect standard of proof; (3) the Board 11 has a policy of denying parole to life prisoners until they have 12 exceeded the terms set forth in the sentencing guidelines; and 13 (4) the Board's decision violates his rights under the Ex Post 14 15 16 17 Facto Clause. STANDARD OF REVIEW A federal writ of habeas corpus may not be granted with 18 respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state 19 court unless the state court's adjudication of the claims: 20 "(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an 21 22 23 unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or 24 (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable 25 determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in 26 the State court proceeding." 27 28 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). "Under the 'contrary to' clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion 2 1 opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court on a question of 2 law or if the state court decides a case differently than [the 3 Supreme] Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable 4 facts." Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000). "Under 5 the 'unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas court may 6 7 grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct 8 governing legal principle from [the Supreme] Court's decisions 9 but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 prisoner's case." 11 clearly established federal law under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) is in 12 Id. at 413. The only definitive source of the holdings of the Supreme Court as of the time of the relevant 13 state court decision. Id. at 412. 14 DISCUSSION 15 16 Petitioner claims that the Board's decision violated his 17 right to due process because it was not based on some reliable 18 and relevant evidence that he currently poses an unreasonable 19 risk to public safety, a requirement under California law. 20 "There is no right under the Federal Constitution to be 21 22 23 conditionally released before the expiration of a valid sentence, and the States are under no duty to offer parole to their 24 prisoners." 25 Complex, 442 U. S. 1, 7 (1979). 26 a liberty interest, the Due Process Clause requires fair 27 procedures for its vindication -- and federal courts will review 28 Greenholtz v. Inmates of Neb. Penal and Correctional "When, however, a State creates the application of those constitutionally required procedures." 3 1 Swarthout v. Cooke, No. 10-333, slip op. 1 at 4 (U.S. January 24, 2 2011). 3 receives adequate process when "he was allowed an opportunity to 4 The procedures required are "minimal." Id. A prisoner be heard and was provided a statement of the reasons why." Id. 5 at 4-5. "The Constitution does not require more." Greenholtz, 6 7 8 9 442 U.S. at 16. In the instant matter, Petitioner received at least the required amount of process. The record shows that he was allowed United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 to speak at his parole hearing and to contest the evidence 11 against him, that he had received his records in advance, and 12 that he was notified of the reasons parole was denied. Having 13 found that Petitioner received these procedural requirements, 14 15 this federal habeas court's inquiry is at an end. Cooke, No. 16 10-333, slip op. at 5. 17 decision did not comply with California's "some evidence" rule of 18 judicial review is of "no federal concern." 19 20 Petitioner's claim that the Board's Id. at 6. Petitioner's remaining two claims are without merit. As to the first of these remaining claims, even if the Board used the 21 22 23 incorrect standard of proof, this federal habeas court cannot address such an error. This Court is concerned whether 24 Petitioner was afforded the minimal requirements of due process, 25 requirements which the record indicates he was given. 26 27 28 As to the second remaining claim, Petitioner has provided no evidence that, if there was such a policy, the Board was operating under that policy in his case. 4 Even statistical data 1 as to the rate of denial in other prisoners' cases, which 2 Petitioner cites, will not suffice to establish that the Board 3 always denies parole, or that the Board otherwise improperly made 4 its determination in Petitioner's case. See Mosby v. Solis, 243 5 Fed. Appx. 246, 248 (9th Cir. 2007) (holding statistical denial 6 7 rate insufficient to establish blanket policy to deny parole); 8 see also Cosio v. Kane, No. C 05-1966 CRB (PR), 2007 WL 518599, 9 at *6 (N.D. Cal.) (holding reliance on statistical data of high United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 percentage of parole denials is not a basis for relief where 11 prisoner received individualized assessment of parole 12 suitability). 13 Here, there is nothing to suggest, let alone support a 14 15 finding, that the Board operated under an anti-parole policy in 16 assessing Petitioner's suitability for parole. 17 full hearing, the Board gave a detailed explanation, based on the 18 specific circumstances of Petitioner's case, for its finding that 19 Petitioner was unsuitable for parole. 20 Rather, after a Also, Petitioner's assertion that the Board has a policy to keep persons with 21 22 23 indeterminate sentences incarcerated for excessively long periods is not evidenced in the circumstances of his case. By the time 24 of the 2005 hearing, Petitioner had served only twelve years, 25 three years short of his minimum of fifteen years. 26 under Cooke, this federal habeas court may consider only that he 27 received the protections of a hearing and a reasoned decision, 28 protections he undoubtedly received. 5 Furthermore, 1 Petitioner's contention that alleged changes in parole laws 2 violated his rights under the Ex Post Facto Clause is without 3 merit. 4 Simply put, as of 2005, the year of the parole determination at issue here, Petitioner had not even served his 5 minimum term of fifteen years, and therefore cannot plausibly be 6 7 said to have suffered an increase in punishment, the aspect of Ex 8 Post Facto law applicable here. See Collins v. Youngblood, 497 9 U.S. 37, 42 (1990) (citing Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, 390 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 (1798) (the Ex Post Facto Clause protects a criminal defendant 11 from criminal legislation that effects an increase in punishment, 12 criminalizes conduct that was not previously criminal, requires 13 less or different proof for conviction of an offense than was 14 15 16 17 previously required, or deprives a criminal defendant of any defense available at the time the crime was committed). Based on the foregoing, the petition is DENIED. 18 CONCLUSION 19 The state court's denial of Petitioner's claims did not 20 result in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an 21 22 23 unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, nor did it result in a decision that was based on an unreasonable 24 determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in 25 the state court proceeding. 26 27 28 Accordingly, the petition is DENIED. A certificate of appealability will not issue. Reasonable jurists would not "find the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong." 6 Slack v. McDaniel, 1 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). 2 appealability from the Court of Appeals. 3 4 Petitioner may seek a certificate of The Clerk shall enter judgment in favor of Respondent, and close the file. 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. 6 7 8 DATED: 2/14/2011 CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 1 2 3 4 5 DANIEL PARTIDA, Case Number: CV08-03751 CW 6 Plaintiff, 7 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE v. BEN CURRY et al, Defendant. / 11 12 13 I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. 14 15 16 That on February 14, 2011, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. 17 18 19 20 21 Daniel Partida H-48181 CTF-North P.O. Box 705 Soledad, CA 93960-0705 22 23 24 Dated: February 14, 2011 Richard W. Wieking, Clerk By: Nikki Riley, Deputy Clerk 25 26 27 28 8
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