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Alfaro v. Ramirez

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 12, 2018

MICHAEL ALFARO, Petitioner,
v.
AL RAMIREZ, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          David C. Nye- U.S. District Court Judge

         Pending before the Court in this federal habeas corpus matter is Respondent's Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal, seeking dismissal of Claims One(A), One(B), and Four in the Amended Petition. Dkt. 13, 6. The motion is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. Having reviewed the briefing and the state court record, the Court enters the following Order.

         REVIEW OF PRELIMINARY MOTIONS

         Pending before the Court are Petitioner's and Respondent's requests for extensions of time regarding briefing of the pending summary dismissal issues. Dkt. 11, 15. Good cause appearing, both motions will be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         In a state criminal action in the Third Judicial District Court in Canyon County, Idaho, Petitioner was convicted by jury of aiding and abetting first degree murder, aiding and abetting aggravated assault, aiding and abetting unlawful use of a firearm, and infliction of great bodily harm. Petitioner was accused of being the driver in a gang- related drive-by shooting perpetrated by a shooter in Petitioner's car firing into a rival gang member's house and killing an occupant who stood in the kitchen.

         Petitioner received a prison sentence of 20 fixed years, with life indeterminate. Judgment was entered on January 3, 2011. Petitioner filed a direct appeal and a post-conviction action in state court. This federal habeas corpus case was stayed for several months to permit Petitioner to exhaust his state court remedies. Dkt. 4. Petitioner obtained no relief from his state court actions, and this case was re-opened on May 22, 2017. Dkt. 7.

         STANDARD OF LAW FOR REVIEW OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL MOTIONS

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases authorizes the Court to summarily dismiss a petition for writ of habeas corpus when “it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” The Court takes judicial notice of the records from Petitioner's state court proceedings, which have been lodged by the parties. See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b); Dawson v. Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 (9th Cir. 2006).

         A habeas petitioner must exhaust his remedies in the state court system before a federal court can grant relief on constitutional claims. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). To do so, the petitioner must invoke one complete round of the state's established appellate review process, fairly presenting all constitutional claims to the state courts so that they have a full and fair opportunity to correct alleged constitutional errors at each level of appellate review. Id. at 845. In a state that has the possibility of discretionary review in the highest appellate court, like Idaho, the petitioner must have presented all his federal claims in a petition seeking review before that court. Id. at 847. “Fair presentation” requires a petitioner to describe both the operative facts and the legal theories upon which the federal claim is based. Gray v. Netherland, 518 U.S. 152, 162-63 (1996).

         The mere similarity between a federal claim and a state law claim, without more, does not satisfy the requirement of fair presentation. See Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365-66 (1995) (per curiam). General references in state court to “broad constitutional principles, such as due process, equal protection, [or] the right to a fair trial, ” are likewise insufficient. See Hiivala v. Wood, 195 F.3d 1098, 1106 (9th Cir. 1999). The law is clear that, for proper exhaustion, a petitioner must bring his federal claim before the state court by “explicitly” citing the federal legal basis for his claim. Lyons v. Crawford, 232 F.3d 666, 669 (9th Cir. 2000), as amended, 247 F.3d 904 (9th Cir. 2001).

         When a habeas petitioner has not fairly presented a constitutional claim to the highest state court, and it is clear that the state court would now refuse to consider it because of the state's procedural rules, the claim is said to be procedurally defaulted. Gray, 518 U.S. at 161-62. Procedurally defaulted claims include those within the following circumstances: (1) when a petitioner has completely failed to raise a claim before the Idaho courts; (2) when a petitioner has raised a claim, but has failed to fully and fairly present it as a federal claim to the Idaho courts; and (3) when the Idaho courts have rejected a claim on an adequate and independent state procedural ground. Id.; Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 32 (2004); Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991).

         REVIEW OF REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

         1. Discussion of Claims ...


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