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December 4, 2013
  Maciel v. Cate - Ninth Circuit
Headline: Ninth Circuit Affirms Denial of a Habeas Corpus Petition Challenging a Parole Term and Sex-Offender Registration Requirement Imposed Under California Law Not Part of Criminal Judgment

Area of Law: Criminal Law; Habeas Corpus

Issues Presented: Whether the state court's denial of the petitioner's habeas corpus petition challenging parole and sex-offender registration requirements that were not a part of his sentence resulted in a decision contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.

Brief Summary: Petitioner, James D. Maciel, a California state prisoner, appealed the denial of his 28 U.S.C. ยง2544 habeas corpus petition challenging the state's imposition of a parole term and a sex-offender registration requirement that were not a part of his criminal judgment.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court's denial of the petitioner's habeas corpus petition, finding the petitioner's challenge to the parole terms moot because the petitioner was no longer on parole. Additionally, the Ninth Circuit held that the imposition of the sex-offender registration requirement was neither contrary to nor an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.

To read the full opinion, please visit: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/da...13/09/25/11-56620.pdf

Extended Summary: In 1986 the petitioner, James D. Maciel, was convicted and sentenced to 42 years and four months in state prison for committing lewd and lascivious acts with force against a child. The sentencing court did not impose a parole term or order petitioner to register with the state as a sex-offender, following release from state prison, despite state law mandating both requirements. In 2008, the petitioner was released from custody, at which time the state informed him that he would be on parole for a term of three years and was required to register as a sex-offender. The petitioner was imprisoned eleven months after his release for violation of parole conditions.

Petitioner filed habeas corpus petitions in the state courts, claiming that the parole term and registration requirements violated his rights to due process because they were not a part of his sentence. However, the state courts denied relief. Petitioner then sought habeas relief in the federal District Court and argued that the state court decisions were contrary to Hill v. U.S. ex rel. Wampler, 298 U.S. 460 (1936). The District Court denied relief, but granted the petitioner a certificate of appealability solely on the issue of whether the imposition of the parole term violated Wampler. Petitioner appealed and sought to expand the certificate of appealability to include his claim challenging the imposition of the sex-offender registration requirements. While the petitioner's appeal was pending, he was discharged from parole.

First, the Ninth Circuit held that the petitioner's challenge to the parole terms was moot because petitioner was no longer on parole and he did not identify a "continuing collateral consequence" flowing from his expired parole term. However, the Ninth Circuit granted the petitioner's motion to expand the certificate of appealability to include his claim challenging the imposition of the sex-offender registration. As such, the Ninth Circuit noted that it could grant petitioner relief if the state court's denial of petitioner's claim challenging the imposition of the sex-offender registration requirement was contrary to or an unreasonable application of federal law, specifically Wampler.

In Wampler, the United States Supreme Court granted a habeas petition challenging the petitioner's release from prison being conditioned upon the payment of a fine. This condition was a part of a warrant of commitment, but was not stated in the district court's judgment. However, the Ninth Circuit explained several important differences between Wampler and the present issue.

The Ninth Circuit first noted that Wampler concerned illegitimate detention, and not the collateral consequences of detention. As such, the Ninth Circuit held that the state courts could have reasonably concluded that Wampler was limited to claims involving actual custody. Additionally, the court explained that the state courts were reasonable in distinguishing Wampler because it applied only to discretionary sentencing terms, rather than the state mandated requirements at issue here.

Furthermore, the court held that even if Wampler was extended to apply to non-custodial sentencing conditions, imposed by an administrator rather than a judge, the state courts would still have been reasonable to distinguish Wampler because Wampler involved punishment and not a burdensome regulation. In determining whether the sex-offender registration requirement was a "restriction on liberty constituting impermissible punishment or permissible regulation," the court looked to the legislative intent. Upon closer examination of the two sex-registration laws at issue in this case, the Ninth Circuit held that the registration requirement, without more, unquestionably served a regulatory purpose. Therefore, the District Court's judgment denying the petitioner's habeas petition was affirmed.

To read the full opinion, please visit: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/da...13/09/25/11-56620.pdf

Panel: Judges Benavides, Bybee and Nguyen

Date of Issued Opinion: 9/25/13

Docket Number: 11-56620

Decided: Affirmed

Case Alert Author: Kimberly Whang

Counsel: Matthew B. Larsen, Deputy Federal Public Defender and Sean K. Kennedy, Federal Public Defender, for Petitioner-Appellant. Gregory J. Marcot, Deputy Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California, Jennifer A. Neill, Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Phillip Lindsay, Supervising Deputy Attorney General for Respondent-Appellee.

Author of Opinion: Judge Nguyen

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Professor Ryan T. Williams

    Posted By: Ryan Williams @ 12/04/2013 11:10 AM     9th Circuit  

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