Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Henry v. Spearman

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

August 6, 2018

Shedrick L. Henry, Petitioner,
v.
M. Eliot Spearman, Warden, Respondent.

          Argued and Submitted June 15, 2018 San Francisco, California

          Application to File Second or Successive Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254

          Carmen A. Smarandoiu (argued) and Todd M. Borden, Assistant Federal Public Defenders; Steven G. Kalar, Federal Public Defender; Office of the Federal Public Defender, San Francisco, California; for Petitioner.

          Gregory A. Ott (argued), Deputy Attorney General; Peggy S. Ruffra, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey M. Laurence, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco, California; for Respondent.

          Before: Mary M. Schroeder, David M. Ebel, [*] and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY[**]

         Habeas Corpus

         The panel granted California prisoner Shedrick Henry's motion to file a second or successive 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition urging that California's second-degree felony-murder rule is unconstitutionally vague under Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).

         The panel rejected the State of California's arguments that Henry lacks standing to bring a vagueness challenge and that his claim is effectively moot. The panel held that there is a plausible position that Johnson did not limit its constitutional rule to certain features of the Armed Career Criminal Act's residual clause that the State contends are absent from California's second-degree felony-murder rule, and concluded that Henry has made a prima facie showing that his claim "relies on" the new and retroactively applicable rule of Johnson.

          OPINION

          GOULD, CIRCUIT JUDGE:

         California prisoner Shedrick Henry was convicted of felony discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling and second-degree murder in 1996. The jury was instructed that it could convict Henry of murder based on California's unique second-degree felony-murder rule, which imputes the requisite malice from the commission of a felony that, viewed in the abstract, is "inherently dangerous." Henry previously filed an unsuccessful federal habeas corpus petition in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He now timely moves for leave to file a second or successive 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition, urging that California's second-degree felony-murder rule is unconstitutionally vague under the U.S. Supreme Court's precedent in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). We conclude that Henry has made the necessary showing to file another § 2254 petition, and so we grant Henry's motion to file a second or successive habeas corpus petition.

         I

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") instituted a "gatekeeping" procedure for screening second or successive federal habeas corpus petitions. Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 657 (1996). Before filing such a petition in district court, a state prisoner must obtain authorization from the court of appeals. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). The court of appeals must deny the motion unless it makes a "prima facie showing" both that the motion presents a claim not previously raised and that it satisfies one of two narrow exceptions. Id. § 2244(b).

         In this case, Henry must make a prima facie showing that his proposed petition "[1] relies on [2] a new rule of constitutional law, [3] made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, [4] that was previously unavailable." Id. § 2244(b)(2)(A). Requests to file second or successive petitions usually hinge on the latter three demanding requirements, with no dispute that a petitioner's habeas corpus claim "relies on" an asserted new and retroactive rule of constitutional law. See, e.g., Tyler v. Cain, 533 U.S. 656, 662 (2001) (recognizing only those "three prerequisites"); Jones v. Ryan, 733 F.3d 825, 842-43 (9th Cir. 2013) (same). Here, however, those requirements are unquestionably satisfied. In Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), the Supreme Court held that Johnson announced a new rule of constitutional law retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review. Id. at 1264, 1268. And because Johnson was decided in 2015, its rule was unavailable when Henry filed his previous federal habeas corpus petition more than a decade earlier. See, e.g., In re Smith, 142 F.3d 832, 835 (5th Cir. 1998); Felker v. Turpin, 83 F.3d 1303, 1306 (11th Cir. 1996).

         So the controlling question for us is whether Henry has made a prima facie showing that his petition "relies on" Johnson. We have never before considered what is required for a claim to "rel[y]" on a qualifying new rule for the purposes of § 2244(b).[1] But by its terms, § 2244(b) imposes on the petitioner only a "light burden." In re Hoffner, 870 F.3d 301, 307 (3d Cir. 2017). To begin with, a prima facie showing is "simply a sufficient showing of possible merit to warrant a fuller exploration by the district court." Cooper v. Woodford, 358 F.3d 1117, 1119 (9th Cir. 2004) (en banc) (citation omitted). Further, § 2244(b)(3)(D) urges courts to resolve motions to file second or successive petitions within 30 days, which "suggests that [we] do not have to engage in . . . difficult legal analysis" in our gatekeeping role. Tyler, 533 U.S. at 664. And ยง 2244(b)(3)(E) precludes rehearing or Supreme Court review of a panel's screening decision, which "counsels greater caution before denying an ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.