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Palomo v. Collier

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

March 22, 2019

JULIO TORRES PALOMO, ID # 1923341, Petitioner,
v.
BRYAN COLLIER[1], Executive Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Respondent.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          IRMA CARRILLO RAMIREZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         By Special Order 3-251, this habeas case has been automatically referred for findings, conclusions, and recommendation. Before the Court is the petitioner's Defendant'[s] Objection to “Order Accepting Findings and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge” and Motion for Reconsideration, Rule 22, FRAP, received on March 7, 2019 (doc. 38). The post-judgment filing should be construed as a successive habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, opened as a new case, and TRANSFERRED to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Julio Torres Palomo (Petitioner) filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on April 21, 2017, challenging his 2014 conviction and life sentence in Cause Nos. 28777 in Hunt County, Texas for continuous sexual abuse of a child. (doc. 2.) On December 27, 2018, it was recommended that his federal habeas petition be denied, and he objected to the recommendation on January 25, 2019. (docs. 29, 32.) The recommendation was accepted, and the petition was denied on February 5, 2019. (docs. 33, 34.) Petitioner appealed, and his appeal is pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. (doc. 36.) He again objects to the recommended dismissal of his petition and argues the merits of his claims. (doc. 38 at 2-7.)

         II. NATURE OF SUIT

         A post-judgment motion that seeks to advance one or more substantive habeas claims, or attacks a federal court's previous resolution of a claim on its merits, qualifies as a second or successive habeas petition. See Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 530-33 (2005); Ruiz v. Quarterman, 504 F.3d 523, 526 (5th Cir. 2007). Petitioner's motion raises substantive grounds for relief from the state conviction that he originally challenged in this case, and it is properly construed as a successive habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         III. JURISDICTION

         “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is not to be expanded by judicial decree.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations omitted). They “must presume that a suit lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction rests on the party seeking the federal forum.” Howery v. Allstate Ins. Co., 243 F.3d 912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001). They have “a continuing obligation to examine the basis for jurisdiction.” See MCG, Inc. v. Great W. Energy Corp., 896 F.2d 170, 173 (5th Cir. 1990).

         A district court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a second or successive § 2254 petition without authorization from the court of appeals. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b); Crone v. Cockrell, 324 F.3d 833, 836 (5th Cir. 2003). A petition is successive if it raises a claim that was or could have been raised in an earlier petition or otherwise constitutes an abuse of the writ. Hardemon v. Quarterman, 516 F.3d 272, 275 (5th Cir. 2008); Crone, 324 F.3d at 836-37. If it essentially represents a second attack on the same conviction raised in the earlier petition, a petition is successive. Hardemon, 516 F.3d at 275-76 (distinguishing Crone because “Crone involved multiple § 2254 petitions attacking a single judgment”).[2] A second petition is not successive if the prior petition was dismissed due to prematurity or for lack of exhaustion, however. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529U.S. 473, 487 (2000) (declining to construe an application as second or successive when it followed a previous dismissal due to a failure to exhaust state remedies); Stewart v. Martinez-Villareal, 523 U.S. 637, 643-46 (1998) (declining to construe an application as second or successive when it followed a previous dismissal due to prematurity, and noting the similarities of such dismissal to one based upon a failure to exhaust state remedies). Otherwise, “dismissal of a first habeas petition for technical procedural reasons would bar the prisoner from ever obtaining federal habeas review.” Stewart, 523 U.S. at 645.

         Here, Petitioner challenges the same conviction that he challenged in a prior federal habeas petition that was denied on the merits. Under Hardemon and Crone, he was required to present all available claims in those petitions. A claim is available when it “could have been raised had the petitioner exercised due diligence.” Leonard v. Dretke, No. 3:02-CV-0578-H, 2004 WL 741286, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 5, 2004) (recommendation of Mag. J.), adopted by 2004 WL 884578 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 20, 2004). The crucial question in determining availability is whether Petitioner knew or should have known through the exercise of due diligence the facts necessary to his current claims when he filed his prior federal petitions challenging the same convictions challenged in this case.

         Petitioner's federal petition is successive within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b) because it raises claims that were or could have been raised in his initial federal petitions challenging his conviction. When a petition is second or successive, the petitioner must seek an order from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that authorizes this Court to consider the petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). The Fifth Circuit “may authorize the filing of a second or successive application only if it determines that the application makes a prima facie showing that the application satisfies the requirements of [§ 2244(b)].” Id. § 2244(b)(3)(C). To present a claim in a second or successive application that was not presented in a prior application, the application must show that it is based on: (1) newly discovered evidence that, if proven and viewed in light of the evidence as a whole, would be sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have found him guilty of the offense; or (2) a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable. Id. § 2244(b)(2).

         Because the Fifth Circuit has not issued an order authorizing the district court to consider this successive petition for habeas relief, this Court lacks jurisdiction over this action.

         IV. RECOMMENDATION

         The Clerk of the Court should be DIRECTED to (1) terminate the post-judgment motion (doc. 38) in this habeas case; (2) open a new habeas case for administrative purposes only; (3) docket the post-judgment motion (doc. 38) as a § 2254 motion filed on March 7, 2019, in that new case; (4) directly assign the new case to the same District Judge and Magistrate Judge as in this case; (5) file a copy of the Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge and the order accepting those Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendation, and the judgment in that new case; and (6) and without further judicial action, immediately TRANSFER the newly opened petition for writ of habeas corpus filed under ...


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