ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING PETITION WITHOUT PREJUDICE
S. JAMES OTERO, District Judge.
On or about May 31, 2017, petitioner Bryan L. Webb ("petitioner"), a California prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (the "petition") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The petition challenges petitioner's thirteen-year prison sentence imposed by the Superior Court of California for the County of San Bernardino ("sentencing court") after petitioner pled guilty to burglary and admitted as true two sentencing enhancements. For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that summary dismissal of the petition is appropriate.
The Petition is Fully Unexhausted
Generally, a federal court may not consider the merits of a habeas corpus petition challenging a state-imposed judgment unless the habeas petitioner has exhausted his state-court remedies with respect to every claim in the petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A); Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518-22 (1982). Exhaustion requires that the petitioner fairly present each claim in the petition to the highest court of the state that imposed the challenged judgment. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999).
Here, the face of the petition flatly states that petitioner has not raised his claims in the California Supreme Court. (Pet. at 5-7.)
Federal courts will generally excuse the failure to exhaust where "there is an absence of available State corrective process" or "circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to protect the rights of the applicant." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(B). If it were clear that the California Supreme Court would hold that petitioner's unexhausted claims were procedurally barred under state law, then the exhaustion requirement would be satisfied. However, it is not "clear" here that the California Supreme Court will hold that petitioner's claims are procedurally barred under state law. See, e.g., In re Harris, 5 Cal.4th 813, 825 (1993) (granting habeas relief where petitioner claimed sentencing error, even though the alleged sentencing error could have been raised on direct appeal). Moreover, no other bases exist for finding that the exhaustion requirement should be excepted in this instance. Accordingly, the Court concludes that invocation of either exception to the exhaustion requirement is inappropriate and that petitioner was required to exhaust his state court remedies before presenting his claims to this Court.
Petitioner Is Not Entitled to a Stay
Notwithstanding the general prohibition on federal courts' consideration of unexhausted claims, district courts are not necessarily required to dismiss petitions that consist entirely of unexhausted claims. Mena v. Long, 813 F.3d 907, 912 (9th Cir. 2016). Rather, district courts have the discretion to stay federal habeas proceedings in cases of fully-unexhausted petitions when a petitioner makes the same showing required for a stay under Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 268 (2005). Mena, 813 F.3d at 910. Under Rhines, a stay is only appropriate if the petitioner demonstrates that: (1) he has good cause for failing to exhaust his claims; (2) his claims are "potentially meritorious"; and (3) he has not engaged in any "dilatory litigation tactics." 544 U.S. at 278.
Here, the Court declines to stay the petition because petitioner's claims are not "potentially meritorious."
To the extent they can be discerned, petitioner's claims appear to allege that the sentencing court misinterpreted or misapplied various California sentencing provisions, namely California Penal Code §§ 654, 667, 186.22, and 1170.12. (See generally Pet. at 7-15.) Thus, the petition is based entirely on purported violations of California law. Accordingly, petitioner's claims are not "potentially meritorious" because federal habeas relief is available only for violations of federal rights.
Because petitioner has failed to make the requisite showing for a stay, the petition is subject to dismissal as unexhausted. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991) ("[A] state prisoner's federal habeas petition should be dismissed if the prisoner has not exhausted available state remedies as to any of his federal claims." (citations omitted)).
For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that summary dismissal of the petition is appropriate under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases In United States District Courts. Accordingly, the petition is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.