U.S.
v.
Thompson

United States District Court, E.D. CaliforniaSep 8, 2004
No. CIV. S 03-1532 FCD GGH. (E.D. Cal. Sep. 8, 2004)

No. CIV. S 03-1532 FCD GGH.

September 8, 2004


MEMORANDUM AND ORDER


This matter is before the court to address a series of filings by non-parties to the action seeking the release from custody of defendant Walter Thompson.

BACKGROUND

On March 5, 2004, this court issued an order finding defendant Walter Thompson in contempt of court for failure to comply with the preliminary injunction entered September 17, 2003 and remanding defendant Walter Thompson to the custody of the United States Marshals. Pursuant to that order, on April 15, 2004, the U.S. Marshals took defendant Thompson into custody. The next day, on April 16, 2004, the court received a "Decree and Order for Release/Writ of Habeas Corpus" submitted by a non-party to this action, Jack Slevkoff. On April 19, 2004, the court received a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus submitted by non-party Richard Hartz ("Hartz"). Both of these filings sought Thompson's release from custody.

On April 20, 2004, the court ordered Thompson released from custody in order to afford him an opportunity to purge his contempt by fully complying with the court's September 17, 2003 preliminary injunction. The court's decision was predicated on Thompson's statements to the court that he intended to comply with the court's order. However, subsequent to his release, Thompson filed with the court a "Request for Correction" in which he asserts that he agreed to comply under duress, accused the court of misusing his "copyrighted name" without consent, and indicated he no longer intended to comply with the terms of the preliminary injunction. When Thompson failed to appear for the June 25, 2004 status hearing, and the court issued a second order remanding Thompson to the custody of the U.S. Marshals until he purged contempt. Pursuant to that order, Thompson was arrested and is now being held at the Sacramento County jail.

On August 10, 2004, non-party Richard Alan Hartz filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus and "Writ of Habeas Corpus Order to Show Cause," both purportedly in behalf of Thompson. On August 19, 2004, Hartz filed a document entitled "order" signed by Hartz purporting to order Thompson's release.

ANALYSIS

I. The April Filings

The court's April 20, 2004 order releasing Thompson from custody rendered moot both the April 16, 2004 "Decree and Order for Release/Writ of Habeas Corpus" and the April 19, 2004 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Accordingly, both filings are dismissed.

II. The August Filings

The court next must address the petition for writ of habeas corpus and "Writ of Habeas Corpus/Order to Show Cause," both filed on August 10, 2004, and the "Order" filed August 19, 2004. All three filings were submitted by Hartz, purportedly in behalf of Thompson.

The federal habeas statute provides that the "[a]pplication for a writ of habeas corpus shall be in writing signed and verified by the person for whose relief it is intended or by someone acting in his behalf." 28 U.S.C. § 2242. However, in order to establish standing to file a habeas petition in behalf of another, so-called "next-friend standing," the putative next friend must show: (1) that the petitioner is unable to litigate his own cause due to mental incapacity, lack of access to court, or other similar disability; and (2) the next friend has some significant relationship with, and is truly dedicated to the best interests of, the petitioner. Coalition of Clergy, Lawyers, and Professors v. Bush, 310 F.3d 1153 (9th Cir. 2002); Massie ex rel. Kroll v. Woodford, 244 F.3d 1192, 1194 (9th Cir. 2001). The "next friend" bears the burden to establish the propriety of his status and thereby justify the jurisdiction of the court. Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 163-64 (1990).

Here petitioner, Hartz, has made no showing that Thompson is unable to litigate his own cause. To the contrary, Thompson has demonstrated he is fully capable of filing papers with the court on his own behalf. A cursory review of the docket in this action reveals that Thompson has been quite prolific in his filings with the court since the inception of this action. Moreover, Hartz has failed to provide the court with any information regarding his relationship to Thompson. Accordingly, the court finds that Hartz lacks standing to petition for writ of habeas corpus in behalf of Thompson.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the court makes the following orders:

(1) The April 16, 2004 "Decree and Order for Release/Writ of Habeas Corpus" submitted by non-party Jack Slevkoff and April 19, 2004 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus submitted by non-party Richard Hartz are dismissed as moot.
(2) The August 10, 2004, petition for writ of habeas corpus, August 10, 2004 "Writ of Habeas Corpus Order to Show Cause," and August 19, 2004 "Order" filed by Hartz are dismissed for lack of standing.
IT IS SO ORDERED.