Thomas v. Yates, No. 1:05-cv-01198-LJO-JMD-HC.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
Writing for the CourtLawrence J. O'Neill
Citation637 F.Supp.2d 837
PartiesBrian THOMAS, Petitioner, v. James A. YATES, Respondent.
Decision Date17 June 2009
Docket NumberNo. 1:05-cv-01198-LJO-JMD-HC.
637 F.Supp.2d 837
Brian THOMAS, Petitioner,
v.
James A. YATES, Respondent.
No. 1:05-cv-01198-LJO-JMD-HC.
United States District Court, E.D. California.
June 17, 2009.

Page 838

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 839

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 840

Marc E. Grossman, Law Offices of Marc E. Grossman, Upland, CA, for Petitioner.

Maria G. Chan, California Attorney General's Office, Sacramento, CA, for Respondent.

ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT'S REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL
ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
ORDER DIRECTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE TO RESCHEDULE EVIDENTIARY HEARING

LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.


I. Introduction

Petitioner is a former inmate proceeding with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.1 Petitioner filed the instant petition on September 19, 2005, while in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). The petition does not challenge Petitioner's conviction or sentence; rather, the petition asserts that the state's denial of parole to Petitioner in 2004 violated Petitioner's rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution.

On March 19, 2009, the Magistrate Judge entered an order scheduling an evidentiary hearing in order to permit Petitioner to present evidence relevant to his ex post facto claim. (Doc. 27). Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the order setting the evidentiary hearing on April 2, 2009. (Doc. 28). On April 10, 2009, Petitioner filed an opposition to Respondent's motion for reconsideration. (Doc. 29). Petitioner's opposition revealed that Petitioner was released on parole on April 9, 2009. Accordingly, the Court issued an order vacating the hearing date for Respondent's motion to reconsider and ordered the parties to brief the issue of whether or not the petition should be dismissed as moot ("OSC"). (Doc. 30). Petitioner filed a reply to the OSC on May 17, 2009. Respondent filed a reply on May 18, 2009.

II. Mootness

A. Petitioner's Alleged Injury May Be Redressed by the Court

A case becomes moot when it no longer satisfies the case-or-controversy requirement of Article III, section 2, of the Constitution. E.g., Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7, 118 S.Ct. 978, 140 L.Ed.2d 43 (1998). The case-or-controversy requirement demands that, through all stages of federal judicial proceedings, the parties continue to have a personal stake in the outcome of the lawsuit. Id. A habeas petition is moot where a petitioner's claim for relief cannot be redressed by a favorable decision of the court issuing a writ of habeas corpus. Burnett v. Lampert, 432 F.3d 996, 1000-01 (9th Cir.2005) (quoting Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7, 118 S.Ct. 978). The burden of demonstrating mootness is a heavy one. Cantrell v. City of Long Beach, 241 F.3d 674, 678 (9th Cir.2001) (citations omitted).

Page 841

Under California law, "an inmate-turned-parolee remains in the legal custody of the [CDCR] through the remainder of his term, and must comply with all of the terms and conditions of parole, including mandatory drug tests, restrictions on association with felons or gang members, and mandatory meetings with parole officers." Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843, 851, 126 S.Ct. 2193, 165 L.Ed.2d 250 (2006). The restrictions imposed on a parolee constitute a concrete injury for the purposes of mootness analysis. See, e.g., Spencer, 523 U.S. at 7-8, 118 S.Ct. 978 (restrictions imposed by the terms of the parole constitute a concrete injury); Jones v. Cunningham, 371 U.S. 236, 243, 83 S.Ct. 373, 9 L.Ed.2d 285 (1963) (same). Accordingly, Petitioner's cause is not moot if the Court can fashion a remedy to redress Petitioner's injury.

The OSC was based in part on the Court's construction of California Penal Code section 3000.1, which provides that the parole period for prisoners sentenced to indeterminate life sentences is the remainder of the parolee's life. Petitioner points out, correctly, that section 3000.1 does not apply to Petitioner, as Petitioner's commitment offense occurred before the effective date of section 3000.1. See In re Chaudhary, 172 Cal.App.4th 32, 34, 90 Cal. Rptr.3d 678 (Cal.Ct.App.2009) (stating that section 3000.1 applies to crimes committed after January 1, 1983). At the time Petitioner committed his crime, the maximum period of parole for a person convicted of second degree murder was five years. See In re Carabes, 144 Cal.App.3d 927, 930, 193 Cal.Rptr. 65 (Cal.Ct.App.1983) (stating that prior to enactment of California Penal Code section 3000.1, section 3000 established maximum parole period for second degree murder of five years).

The Court finds that the petition is not moot, as Petitioner's parole term is determinate and not subject to the lifetime parole requirement set forth in California Penal Code section 3000.1. Compare Chaudhary, 172 Cal.App.4th at 38, 90 Cal. Rptr.3d 678 (no credit for time spent unlawfully incarcerated with respect to parole term governed by California Penal Code section 3000.1(a)) with Carlin v. Wong, 2008 WL 3183163 *2, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63116 *5 (N.D.Cal.2008) (surplus time that petitioner was incarcerated beyond his parole date should be credited toward his determinate parole period). The Court may afford Petitioner a remedy, despite his release from prison, by issuing an order directing the CDCR to credit time served in prison in violation of Petitioner's constitutional rights towards Petitioner's determinate period of parole supervision. See McQuillion v. Duncan, 342 F.3d 1012, 1015 (9th Cir.2003) (noting that appropriate habeas remedy was immediate release without parole supervision where petitioner's parole supervision period would have lapsed but for constitutional violation); see also Thompson v. Carey, 2009 WL 453053 *27, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13482 *83 (E.D.Cal.2009) ("[i]f the Governor had not reversed the Board's suitability finding in November 2003, petitioner's five year parole term ... would now be complete ... [t]herefore, petitioner should be discharged from parole").

B. Respondent's Contentions

Respondent contends that the petition is moot because 1) Petitioner has been granted parole and has thus received the remedy sought in the petition; 2) Petitioner has received the process due to him; 3) the Court may not order reduction of Petitioner's parole term because the length of his parole term is solely an issue of state law; and 4) reducing or eliminating Petitioner's period of parole supervision would thwart the legislative purpose behind California's parole scheme.

Page 842

1) Petitioner Has Not Received All the Relief Requested

Some courts have held that release on parole moots a habeas petition concerning denial of parole on the theory that once released, the petitioner has obtained the relief sought in the petition. E.g., Ellis v. Campbell, 2007 WL 2009802 at *3, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48980 at *8 (E.D.Cal. 2007). Here, however, Petitioner's initial request for relief asks the Court to order the CDCR to "credit [Petitioner's] parole term with the time during which he has been confined in prison in excess of his term calculated by the [parole board] at his June 30, 2004 parole hearing, and to discharge his parole if its term is exceeded thereby." (Pet. at 41). Accordingly, Petitioner has not received all of the relief requested in his petition.

2) Respondent's Due Process Argument

Respondent's argument that the petition is moot because Petitioner has now received all the process due to him is incorrect. Although Petitioner asserts a due process claim, the petition also raises an ex post facto challenge, which does not hinge on the process Petitioner has been afforded. With respect to Petitioner's ex post facto claim, the question is whether an ex post facto violation occurred in 2004; if so, Petitioner is entitled to relief regardless of the process afforded to him in 2009.

3) State Law Argument

Respondent contends that the Court may not shorten the duration of Petitioner's parole supervision because the length of a prisoner's parole term is solely an issue of state law. Respondent cites no authority for this proposition. Although California law determines the terms of a prisoner's parole, it is the duty of a federal habeas court to determine whether such parole custody violates the prisoner's constitutional rights; if so, the Court may grant relief. See Carey, 2009 WL 453053 *27, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13482 *83. Respondent's argument that "the Supreme Court has not addressed whether a state inmate is entitled to have time taken off his parole period" is irrelevant. (Response to Order to Show Cause at 4). Nothing in section 2254 requires that the remedy for a constitutional violation be "clearly established." Federal habeas courts are "free to fashion the remedy as law and justice require," and can do more than simply ordering a petitioner's release from physical custody. Sanders v. Ratelle, 21 F.3d 1446, 1461 (9th Cir.1994). Respondent's contention that "there is no precedent allowing federal courts to require a life inmate's release on parole," (Response to Order to Show Cause at 4), is incorrect, see McQuillion, 342 F.3d at 1015 (affirming habeas grant to prisoner serving indeterminate life sentence).

4) Legislative Purpose of California's Parole Scheme

Respondent cites Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68, 112 S.Ct. 475, 116 L.Ed.2d 385 (1991) in support of its contention that the legislative purpose of California's parole scheme precludes the Court from granting Petitioner relief. (Response to Order to Show Cause at 4). Estelle is of no help to Respondent, as that case states simply that a federal habeas court is bound by the state's interpretation of its own laws. Respondent points to no authority—state or federal—that stands for the proposition that a federal habeas court may not shorten the duration of a parolee's period of parole supervision in...

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 practice notes
  • Martinez v. Marshall, Case No. CV 06-7131-DDP (RC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • June 18, 2010
    ...period of parole for a person convicted of second degree murder was five years”-not lifetime parole, as it is now. 5 Thomas v. Yates, 637 F.Supp.2d 837, 841 (E.D.Cal.2009); In re Carabes, 144 Cal.App.3d 927, 930, 193 Cal.Rptr. 65 (1983). Therefore, “[t]he Court finds that the petition is no......
  • Thomas v. Matthew Cate, No. 1:05-cv-01198-LJO-JMD-HC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • February 19, 2010
    ...evidentiary hearing on April 2, 2009. (Doc. 28). The District Judge denied Respondent's motion for reconsideration on June 17, 2009. 637 F.Supp.2d 837 (E.D.Cal.2009). 2 Where the petitioner is on probation or parole, the proper respondent for a habeas corpus petition is the petitioner's pro......
  • Remsen v. Holland, 1:12-cv-00731-BAM-HC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 7, 2012
    ...risk of increasing the measure of punishment attached to Petitioner's crimes. See, Garner v. Jones, 529 U.S. at 256; Thomas v. Yates, 637 F.Supp.2d 837, 846-47 (E.D.Cal. 2009) (noting that under Garner, ex post facto challenges to a facially neutral parole statue require an as-applied analy......
  • United States v. Sweeney, No. 08 Cr. 212(RJH).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • June 3, 2010
    ...516 F.Supp.2d 112, 116-17 (D.D.C.2007); United States v. Safavian, 461 F.Supp.2d 76, 82-83 (D.D.C.2006); see also Thomas v. Yates, 637 F.Supp.2d 837, 847 (E.D.Cal.2009) (“Under Garner, ex post facto challenges to a facially neutral parole statute require an as-applied analysis.”). And since......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Martinez v. Marshall, Case No. CV 06-7131-DDP (RC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • June 18, 2010
    ...period of parole for a person convicted of second degree murder was five years”-not lifetime parole, as it is now. 5 Thomas v. Yates, 637 F.Supp.2d 837, 841 (E.D.Cal.2009); In re Carabes, 144 Cal.App.3d 927, 930, 193 Cal.Rptr. 65 (1983). Therefore, “[t]he Court finds that the petition is no......
  • Thomas v. Matthew Cate, No. 1:05-cv-01198-LJO-JMD-HC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • February 19, 2010
    ...evidentiary hearing on April 2, 2009. (Doc. 28). The District Judge denied Respondent's motion for reconsideration on June 17, 2009. 637 F.Supp.2d 837 (E.D.Cal.2009). 2 Where the petitioner is on probation or parole, the proper respondent for a habeas corpus petition is the petitioner's pro......
  • Remsen v. Holland, 1:12-cv-00731-BAM-HC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • August 7, 2012
    ...risk of increasing the measure of punishment attached to Petitioner's crimes. See, Garner v. Jones, 529 U.S. at 256; Thomas v. Yates, 637 F.Supp.2d 837, 846-47 (E.D.Cal. 2009) (noting that under Garner, ex post facto challenges to a facially neutral parole statue require an as-applied analy......
  • United States v. Sweeney, No. 08 Cr. 212(RJH).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • June 3, 2010
    ...516 F.Supp.2d 112, 116-17 (D.D.C.2007); United States v. Safavian, 461 F.Supp.2d 76, 82-83 (D.D.C.2006); see also Thomas v. Yates, 637 F.Supp.2d 837, 847 (E.D.Cal.2009) (“Under Garner, ex post facto challenges to a facially neutral parole statute require an as-applied analysis.”). And since......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT