The opinion of the court was delivered by: SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge
The petition for writ of habeas corpus is denied on the merits.
IT IS SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED.
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
This matter is now before the court for consideration of the merits of
Donald Corsetti's pro se petition for writ of habeas
corpus concerning his 2000 conviction from the Alameda County Superior
Court. For the reasons discussed below, the petition will be denied on
The conviction challenged in this case was entered following a
no-contest plea by Donald Corsetti. The evidence regarding the crimes and
the particular charges filed against Corsetti are recounted because they
are relevant to the evaluation of Corsetti's challenges to his plea and
to his attorney's performance.
The victim, William Taylor, described the crime at the preliminary
hearing on January 5, 2000. See Resp. Exh. H (transcript of
preliminary examination). On June 15, 1999, Taylor was in the trailer in
which he lived in an industrial area of Oakland when he was visited by a
prostitute he knew named Leann and her friend, Donald Corsetti. They
conversed in an amiable way for about ten minutes and then Leann and
Corsetti left to go to a gas station down the street. Corsetti returned
in an agitated state and, while in the trailer, picked up a knife from a
nearby table and said angrily, "It's all about respect" and stabbed
Taylor using a folding knife with a 4-5 inch blade. Taylor was stabbed in
the left side of his torso and suffered a punctured lung that required
him to remain in the hospital for 4-5 days. Taylor was sitting on a couch
when he was stabbed by Corsetti. No one else was present. Corsetti
grabbed a leather jacket Taylor had been working on and left the trailer.
Taylor saw Corsetti run to a truck waiting outside and drive off with
Leann and another person.
On cross-examination at the preliminary hearing, Taylor testified that
Corsetti and Leann were interested in obtaining drugs. Taylor did not
provide Leann with drugs and did not suggest that he would trade drugs
for sex with Leann if she got rid of Corsetti. Taylor stated he did not
understand what Corsetti meant when he said it was "all about respect"
and he had not been disrespectful to Corsetti. Taylor also testified that
he had nothing in his hands when Corsetti stabbed him and they had not
struggled before the stabbing.
The Information filed on January 18, 2000 charged Corsetti with assault
with a deadly weapon with enhancements for use of a deadly/dangerous
weapon and infliction of great bodily injury (count one), attempted
premeditated murder with enhancements for use of a deadly/dangerous
weapon, infliction of great bodily injury and for an attempted murder
that was willful, deliberate and premeditated (count two), robbery with
enhancements for use of a deadly/dangerous weapon and infliction of great
bodily injury (count three). Petitioner's Exh P. The Information also
alleged that Corsetti had suffered six prior convictions (i.e., a 1992
conviction for assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, a
1985 felony conviction for petty theft with a prior theft conviction, a
1996 felony conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a
1990 felony conviction for possession of dangerous drugs for sale, a 1982
felony conviction for pimping, and a 1989 felony conviction for escape
from prison) as well as several prison terms in connection therewith.
Pursuant to a plea bargain, Corsetti pled no contest to charges of
assault with a deadly weapon with enhancements for infliction of great
bodily injury and being armed with a deadly weapon. He also admitted
having a prior serious felony conviction and having served a prior prison
term. On February 23, 2000, he was sentenced to a twelve-year prison
Corsetti appealed. His appeal to the California Court of Appeal was
dismissed for procedural reasons. He also filed unsuccessful petitions
for writ of habeas corpus in state court.
Corsetti then filed this action seeking a writ of habeas corpus,
claiming that his guilty plea was improper and that he received
ineffective assistance of counsel. The court issued an order to show
cause. Respondent filed an answer to the petition in which he asserted
that the petition was meritless. Corsetti filed a traverse. The matter is
now ready for the court's consideration.
This court has subject matter jurisdiction over this habeas action for
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This action is
in the proper venue because the challenged conviction occurred in Alameda
County, California, within this judicial district.
28 U.S.C. § 84, 2241(d).
Prisoners in state custody who wish to challenge collaterally in
federal habeas proceedings either the fact or length of their confinement
are required first to exhaust state judicial remedies, either on direct
appeal or through collateral proceedings, by presenting the highest state
court available with a fair opportunity to rule on the merits of each and
every claim they seek to raise in federal court. See
28 U.S.C. § 2254(b), (c). The parties do not dispute that
state judicial remedies were exhausted for the claims raised in the
This court may entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus "in
behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution
or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The
petition may not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the state court's
adjudication of the claim: "(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary
to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established
Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted ...