The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM HASKELL ALSUP, District Judge
The court having entered a ruling today granting denying petitioner's
habeas corpus petition, judgment is entered in favor of respondent.
Petitioner shall obtain no relief by way of his petition.
ORDER DENYING WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
In this habeas corpus proceeding, petitioner David E. Portlock contends
that his federal constitutional rights were violated during his criminal
trial and appeals in the California courts. The record demonstrates
otherwise. For the following reasons, the petition is DENIED.
On July 2, 1996, police in Ukiah found Larry Long's body under the
Talmage Bridge (Exh. J-2 at 303). The ensuing investigation led to
petitioner and Eric Mehtlan (id. at 315-324). A friend of the
two men told police that petitioner and Mehtlan had accosted the victim
in the street and demanded fifty dollars (id. at 316-17). They
had forced him into the friend's car and drove to the bridge, where all
but the friend exited the vehicle (id. at 319). At that point
the witness drove away, leaving petitioner, Mehtlan, and Long on the
bridge (id. at 321).
Over the next few days, the friend had several conversations with
petitioner and Mehtlan in which he learned what happened after his
departure (id. at 322). Petitioner and Mehtlan
admitted that they beat up the victim (id. at 330). The
two defendants then threw Long off the bridge, counting to three in
unison and watching as he clung to the edge before falling (id.
at 323, 325-326). Petitioner and Mehtlan burned their clothes and wiped
their car to cover their tracks (id. at 327). Mehtlan bragged,
"We're now cold-blooded killers" (id. at 328). The friend
eventually approached police to inform them about what he had seen and
heard (id. at 315).
2. STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS.
Petitioner and Mehtlan turned themselves in to the local authorities on
July 6, 1996 (id. at 332). They were arraigned and charged with
first-degree murder (Exh. A at 9). Petitioner initially pleaded not
guilty (id. at 13). On March 4, 1997, his public defender
requested a hearing to determine whether he was competent to stand trial
(id. at 46).
At a hearing on May 5, 1997, the trial court heard testimony from one
doctor for the prosecution, two for petitioner, and petitioner himself
(Exh. J-11 at 4, 71, 118, 174). The court found petitioner competent to
stand trial (Exh. J-12 at 200, 211). On June 3, 1997, he changed his plea
from not guilty to guilty (Exh. J-13 at 8). The trial court entered
judgment on that guilty plea on July 8, 1997, and sentenced petitioner to
a term of twenty-five years to life in prison with the possibility of
parole (Exh. J-15 at 12).
Petitioner took a direct appeal. His conviction and sentence were
affirmed by the California Court of Appeal. People v. Portlock,
No. A080000 (1st Dist. Oct. 2, 1998). The California Supreme Court denied
review of that ...