Valdivia v. Brown, NO. CIV. S-94-671 LKK/GGH

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
Writing for the CourtLAWRENCE K. KARLTON
PartiesJERRY VALDIVIA, ALFRED YANCY, and HOSSIE WELCH, on their own behalf and on behalf of the class of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. EDMUND G. BROWN, JR., Governor of the State of California, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberNO. CIV. S-94-671 LKK/GGH
Decision Date23 January 2012

behalf and on behalf of the class of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
EDMUND G. BROWN, JR., Governor of the State of California, et al., Defendants.

NO. CIV. S-94-671 LKK/GGH


DATED: January 23, 2012


Pending before the court are two motions following the remand of this matter by the Ninth Circuit. Plaintiffs move to enforce the stipulated injunction issued by this court on March 9, 2004, and to prohibit enforcement of Prop. 9 § 5.3, passed by California voters in 2008. Defendants move to modify the injunction to conform with Prop. 9. The court resolves the instant motions on the papers and after oral argument. For the reasons that follow, plaintiffs' motion is granted in part and denied in part. Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

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I. Background

The factual and procedural background of this case has been recited in detail in prior orders of this court. See e.g., Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 603 F.Supp.2d 1275, 1276. A summary of this background and subsequent developments follows.

Plaintiffs filed this class action in 1994, challenging California's parole revocation process on constitutional grounds. In 2002, this court granted partial summary judgment to plaintiffs, holding that the parole revocation process violated plaintiffs' due process rights. Valdivia v. Davis, 206 F. Supp. 2d 1068 (E.D. Cal. 2002). Specifically, the 2002 order held that the system in place at the time "allowing delay of up to forty-five days or more before providing the parolee an opportunity to be heard regarding the reliability of the probable cause determination does not" meet constitutional muster. Id. at 1078. In October 2002, the court ordered defendants to file a proposed remedial plan to address the constitutional deficiencies identified in the June order. In July 2003, the court issued an order in response to defendants' request for guidance on "what precisely the Constitution requires with respect to the timing and content of revocation hearings." Reiterating that procedural due process requirements are flexible as to each factual situation, the court nevertheless concluded, after a comprehensive review of the case law, that "a period of ten days [to hold a probable cause hearing] strikes a reasonable balance between inevitable procedural delays and the state's interest in conducting its parole system, on the one hand, and the

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liberty interests of the parolees, on the other." July 23, 2003 Order at 13. The court additionally set forth some minimal standards for the probable cause hearings with respect to accuracy.

On March 9, 2004, this court approved a stipulated settlement and permanent injunction ("Injunction"), which incorporated a remedial plan submitted by the defendants. The Injunction contains the following provisions:

1) A parole revocation hearing shall be held no later than 35 calendar days from the date of the placement of the parole hold. Stipulated Permanent Injunction ("Inj.") ¶ 11(b)(iv), 23.
2) Defendants shall hold a probable cause hearing no later than 10 business days after the parolee has been served with notice of the charges and rights, which shall occur not later than three business days from the placement of the parole hold. Inj. ¶ 11(d).
3) Defendants shall appoint counsel for all parolees at the beginning of the RTCA stage of the revocation proceedings. Defendants shall provide an expedited probable cause hearing upon a sufficient offer of proof by appointed counsel that there is a complete defense to all parole violation charges that are the basis of the parole hold. Inj. ¶ 11(b)(I).
4) At probable cause hearings, parolees shall be allowed to present evidence to defend or mitigate against the charges and proposed disposition. Such evidence shall be presented through documentary evidence or the charged parolee's testimony, either or both of which may include hearsay testimony. Inj. ¶ 22.
5) The use of hearsay evidence shall be limited by the parolees' confrontation rights in the manner set forth under controlling law as currently stated in United States v. Comito, 177 F.3d 1166 (9th Cir. 1999). The Policies and Procedures shall include guidelines and standards derived from such law. Inj. ¶ 24.
6) Parolees' counsel shall have the ability to subpoena and present witnesses and evidence to the same extent and under the same terms as the state. Inj. ¶ 21.

On November 4, 2008, California voters passed Proposition 9: "Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy's Law." Prop. 9

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adds § 3044 to the California Penal Code. That section provides:

a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Board of Parole Hearings. . .shall be responsible for protecting victims' rights in the parole process. Accordingly, to protect a victim from harassment and abuse during the parole process, no person paroled from a California correctional facility following incarceration for an offense committed on or after the effective date of this act shall, in the event his or her parole is revoked, be entitled to procedural rights other than the following:
(1) A parolee shall be entitled to a probable cause hearing no later than 15 days following his or her arrest for violation of parole.
(2) A parolee shall be entitled to an evidentiary revocation hearing no later than 45 days following his or her arrest for violation of parole.
(3) A parolee shall, upon request, be entitled to counsel at state expense only if, considering the request on a case-by-case basis, the board or its hearing officers determine:
(A) The parolee is indigent; and
(B) Considering the complexity of the charges, the defense, or because the parolee's mental or educational capacity, he or she appears incapable of speaking effectively in his or her own defense.
(4) In the event the parolee's request for counsel, which shall be considered on a case-by-case basis, is denied, the grounds for denial shall be stated succinctly in the record.
(5) Parole revocation determinations shall be based on a preponderance of evidence admitted at hearings including documentary evidence, direct testimony, or hearsay evidence offered by parole agents, peace officers, or a victim.
(6) Admissions of the recorded or hearsay statement of a victim or percipient witness shall not be construed to create a right to confront the witness at the hearing.
(b) The board is entrusted with the safety of victims and the public and shall make its determination fairly, independently, and without bias and shall not be influenced by or weigh the state cost or burden associated with just decisions. The board must accordingly enjoy sufficient autonomy to conduct unbiased hearings, and maintain an independent legal and administrative staff. The board shall report to the Governor.

Prop. 9 § 5.3.

Following the passage of Prop. 9, plaintiffs moved to enforce

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the injunction, asserting that portions of § 3044 conflicted with provisions of the injunction and must be held invalid. Defendants moved to modify the injunction, arguing that § 3044 does not conflict with the injunction, and that if there was a conflict, the injunction should be modified to conform to Prop. 9.

The court issued an order on those motions on March 29, 2009 ("March Order"). The March Order noted four provisions of § 3044 that were in plain conflict with the injunction. See Valdivia 603 F. Supp. 2d at 1282-83. Citing the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and cases interpreting it,1 the court held that where there was a conflict between Prop. 9 and the injunction, Prop. 9 could not be enforced. Thus, the court granted plaintiffs' motion and denied defendants'.

Defendants appealed the March Order to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit rendered a decision on March 25, 2010, vacating and remanding this court's March Order. The Ninth Circuit held "unless a state law is found to violate a federal law, or unless the Injunction is found necessary to remedy a constitutional violation, federalism principles require the reconciliation of state law and

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federal injunctions." Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 599 F.3d 984, 995 (9th Cir. 2010). This court received the mandate on September 22, 2010, and briefing by the parties was completed in October 2011.

II. Standard to Enforce or Modify Injunction

A district court has continuing jurisdiction to enforce its own injunctions. Crawford v. Honig, 37 F.3d 485, 488 (9th Cir. 1994). "An injunction often requires continuing supervision by the issuing court and always a continuing willingness to apply its powers and processes on behalf of the party who obtained that equitable relief." System Federation No. 91 Railway Employees' Dep't v. Wright, 364 U.S. 642, 647 (1961).

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5), a court may relieve a party from its obligations under an order of the court if prospective application of the order is no longer equitable. See Sys. Fed'n No. 91 v. Wright, 364 U.S. 642, 646-47. Modification of an injunction, including a consent decree, is considered equitable when there has been a significant change in relevant law or factual circumstances. Id. at 647-48; see also Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U.S. 367 (1992). The party seeking the modification bears the burden to show that modification is warranted. Rufo, 502 U.S. at 383. If...

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