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Beltran v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 13, 2017

Rosalio Delgado Beltran, Petitioner,
v.
Charles L. Ryan;, et al, Respondents.

          ORDER

          Leslie A. Bowman United Suites Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the court is the petitioner's motion that the court authorize discovery and expand the case record, filed on August 25, 2017. (Doc. 15)

         Also pending is the petitioner's motion for an evidentiary hearing and for appointment of counsel, also filed on August 25, 2017. (Doc. 16)

         Also pending is the petitioner's motion for “access to case authorities available only in electronic databases as LEXIS and WESTLAW, ” also filed on August 25, 2017. (Doc. 17)

         The petitioner, Rosalio Delgado Beltran, was convicted after a jury trial of aggravated driving while under the influence (DUI) for which he received a sentence of 10 years' imprisonment. (Doc. 1, p. 2) Beltran filed in this court a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on January 3, 2017. (Doc. 1) He claims (1) his trial was unfair because (a) he was limited as to the evidence he was able to present, (b) the state witnesses gave false and misleading testimony, (c) discovery was late or withheld, (d) favorable evidence was concealed, and (e) trial counsel was ineffective; (2) the state did not disclose Brady and Giglio material; (3) trial and appellate counsel were ineffective; and (4) he was denied presentence sentencing credits and his prior felony conviction was improperly used to enhance his sentence. (Doc. 1)

         The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Bowman pursuant to the Rules of Practice of this court. See LRCiv 72.1(c).

         Discussion

         In the first pending motion, Beltran moves that this court permit discovery pursuant to Rules 6 and 7 of the Rules Governing § 2254 cases. Specifically he moves that this court order disclosure of the transcripts of the four 911 calls made at the time of the traffic accident, phone records from Officers Eppley and Hibbs made while Beltran was trying to call an attorney, Officer Hibbs's report, “the report of the TPD officer who refused to take Beltran from the hospital to the county jail, ” “and any other police report, city building inspection report” or other record concerning his aggravated DUI case. (Doc. 15)

         Unlike a party to a normal civil action, a habeas petitioner “is not entitled to discovery as a matter of ordinary course.” Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S. 899, 904, 117 S.Ct. 1793, 1796-97 (1997). Rule 6(a) of the Rules Governing § 2254 cases permits discovery “only in the discretion of the court and for good cause shown.” Rich v. Calderon, 187 F.3d 1064, 1068 (9thCir.1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1092. “A ‘good cause' analysis requires the reviewing court to identify the ‘essential elements' of the underlying substantive claim, and determine whether petitioner's allegations, if proven, would satisfy those elements and show the violation of a constitutional right.” Williams v. Hall, 648 F.Supp.2d 1222, 1225 (D. Or. 2009) (citing Bracy, 520 U.S. at 904, 117 S.Ct. at 1797).

         Since Bracy was decided, the Supreme Court has held in Pinholster that a federal court analyzing a properly exhausted habeas claim is limited to the record that was before the state court when the claim was originally denied. See Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 131 S.Ct. 1388 (2011). The holding in Pinholster is an additional hurdle the petitioner must overcome if he is to establish “good cause” for habeas discovery.

         In the pending motion, Beltran lists a number of documents that he would like to discover. He does not, however, clearly explain how those documents relate to the claims in his petition. Apparently, Beltran believes that if he has access to these documents he will uncover even more reasons why his original trial was unfair. The purpose of habeas discovery, however, is not to engage in a “fishing expedition” to explore the possibility of new claims. Rich v. Calderon, 187 F.3d 1064, 1067 (9th Cir. 1999); see also U.S. ex rel. Nunes v. Nelson, 467 F.2d 1380, 1380 (9th Cir. 1972) (“Appellant is not entitled to a discovery order to aid in the preparation of some future habeas corpus petition.”).

         Beltran alleges that all of his claims were previously presented to the Arizona Court of Appeal. (Doc. 1) Accordingly, this court must adjudicate his claims based on the evidence presented to that court. See Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 131 S.Ct. 1388 (2011). There is no need for further discovery.

         Beltran further argues that the discovery of additional documents would enable the post-conviction relief court to better review his trial for reversible error. Rule 6, however, does not authorize discovery for this purpose. Rules Governing § 2254 cases. Beltran's motion for discovery will be denied.

         In his second pending motion, Beltran moves for an evidentiary hearing. (Doc. 16) Beltran argues that he was denied an opportunity for a full evidentiary hearing in the state courts and an evidentiary hearing is necessary now to prove his innocence. Id. However, as the court already stated above, when analyzing a properly exhausted habeas claim, this court is limited to the record that was before the state court when the claim was originally denied. See Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 131 S.Ct. 1388 ...


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