Prellwitz v. Sisto

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 09-22-2011
  • Case #: 09-16142
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judge Bea; Circuit Judge O’Scannlain concurring
  • Full Text Opinion

A district court did not reach a final decision when it adopted a magistrate’s recommendation on a habeas corpus petition that failed to stipulate a specified time of release for a prisoner.

In 1985, Steven Prellwitz was convicted in California state court on two counts of murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. His sentence was 18 years to life. In December 2005, the California Board of Parole denied Prellwitz parole. On November 29, 2006, Prellwitz filed in federal district court a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Within, he asked that the court order his release on parole. After sending the case to a magistrate, the district court ruled that that magistrate’s findings were adopted in full, and ordered the Board to conduct a hearing in compliance with the recommendations. The Ninth Circuit ruled that it has jurisdiction over appeals from “final decisions of the district courts,” with a final decision “either den[ying] the petition or order[ing] the prisoner released at a specific time.” Since in this case the district court did not deny the habeas petition, nor order the prisoner released at a specific time, its decision was not final. Prellwitz should return to the district court to seek an order directing his release. DISMISSED.

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