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Lopez v. State

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 9, 2019

Tinamarie Lisa Lopez, Petitioner
v.
State of Nevada, Respondents

          ORDER DISMISSING ACTION ECF NO. 1

          Jennifer A. Dorsey U.S. District Judge.

         Tinamarie Lisa Lopez[1] brings this habeas action seeking credit toward an earlier release from custody. Because the petition is plagued by multiple procedural defects and it lacks merit on its face, I dismiss this case.

         Background

         On August 29, 2018, under a guilty plea agreement, Lopez was convicted in the state district court of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and one count of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon.[2] On February 20, 2019, Lopez filed in the state district court a habeas corpus petition that challenged the computation of time.[3] The state district court denied the petition on June 27, 2019, and served a notice of entry of order on July 1, 2019.[4] The online docket of the state district court shows that the notice was re-served on July 24, 2019. Lopez has not filed an appeal.

         On April 15, 2019, while the state habeas petition was still pending, Lopez filed a federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.[5] This court denied that federal petition (Lopez I) a week later for two reasons: (1) on its face, the petition lacked merit because petitioner was claiming that the state courts misapplied state law, and that claim is not cognizable in federal habeas corpus; and (2) Lopez had not yet exhausted her state-court remedies because her state petition still was pending. On July 26, 2019, this court received Lopez's current habeas corpus petition.[6]

         Discussion

         A. Incorrect Respondent

         Lopez incorrectly has named as respondent the State of Nevada. The correct respondent is the warden of the prison where Lopez is held.[7]

         B. Second or Successive Petition

         In Lopez I, Lopez presented a claim that the Nevada Department of Corrections was misapplying state law to restrict her from earning statutory good-time credits. The court held that the petition lacked merit on its face because “[f]ederal habeas relief is not available ‘to reexamine state-court determinations on state-law questions.'”[8] Because the court denied Lopez I on its merits, the current federal habeas corpus petition is a second or successive petition. Lopez was required to first obtain authorization from the court of appeals before she could file another petition challenging the validity of her custody under the same judgment of conviction.[9]Because Lopez has not obtained authorization from the court of appeals, I dismiss this action.

         C. Alternatively, the petition lacks merit because it is a state-law-violation claim.

         Petitioner claims that she is not receiving statutory good-time credit toward the minimum term of her sentence and eligibility for parole under Nev. Rev. Stat. § 209.4465(7)(b). Nevada's parole system does not create any liberty interests protected by the United States Constitution.[10]As the court noted in Lopez I, this is purely a question of state law. This court cannot reexamine state-court decisions on state-law questions.[11]

         D. Alternatively, the petition lacks merit even if the court addresses state law.

         Petitioner was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery[12] and one count of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, [13] both category B felonies. Credits earned toward an earlier release do not apply to the minimum term and parole eligibility of a person convicted of a category B felony.[14] Even if Lopez presented a claim of a ...


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