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McMonagle v. Meyer

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

October 6, 2015

BRIAN JOSEPH MCMONAGLE, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
DON L. MEYER, Chief Probation Officer, Sacramento County, Respondent-Appellee

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California: June 18, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No.2:11-cv-02115-GGH. Gregory G. Hollows, Magistrate Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Habeas Corpus

The en banc court reversed the district court's judgment dismissing as untimely under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act Brian McMonagle's habeas corpus petition challenging his California misdemeanor conviction for driving while under the influence of alcohol, and remanded for the district court to consider the petition on the merits.

The en banc court held that because California declares misdemeanor convictions to be final immediately upon the California Court of Appeal's denial of a petition to accept transfer of a case, McMonagle's misdemeanor conviction became final for AEDPA's purposes 90 days after the Court of Appeal's denial of his request for such a transfer, and that his federal habeas petition, filed more than a year after the end of the 90-day period, was, even allowing statutory tolling for the 36-day period in which his application for state habeas relief was pending, untimely under AEDPA.

The en banc court overruled Larche v. Simons, 53 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 1995), which held that California misdemeanants must seek habeas relief from the California Supreme Court in order to fully exhaust their claims. The en banc court explained that Larche created undue confusion, particularly in the wake of AEDPA's enactment, and unduly restricted California's ability to dictate its own systems of appellate review.

The en banc court concluded that McMonagle, who relied on Larche to fully exhaust his state remedies before seeking federal habeas review, is entitled to equitable tolling under the particular circumstances of this case.

Charles Marchand Bonneau, II (argued), Sacramento, California, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Brian G. Smiley (argued), Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Office of the California Attorney General, Sacramento, Californias, for Respondent-Appellee.

Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge and Harry Pregerson, Barry G. Silverman, M. Margaret McKeown, Kim McLane Wardlaw, Richard R. Clifton, Consuelo M. Callahan, Milan D. Smith, Jr., Morgan Christen, Jacqueline H. Nguyen and Michelle T. Friedland, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Nguyen.

OPINION

NGUYEN, Circuit Judge:

Brian McMonagle seeks federal habeas review of a California misdemeanor conviction for driving while under the influence of alcohol. The district court dismissed McMonagle's petition as untimely under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (" AEDPA" ), and he appealed. In order to determine the timeliness of McMonagle's petition, we must decide when his misdemeanor conviction became final for the purposes of AEDPA's one-year limitation period.

This timeliness inquiry is complicated by the overlap of California's procedures for direct review of misdemeanors, which often ends at the Court of Appeal, and our decision in Larche v. Simons, 53 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 1995), which requires California misdemeanants to exhaust their state remedies by filing a habeas petition with the California Supreme Court. Larche, however, was decided before AEDPA's enactment and dealt with exhaustion of state court remedies, not finality for purposes of AEDPA. We nevertheless ...


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