The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM HASKELL ALSUP, District Judge
DENIAL OF PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
This is a habeas corpus case filed by a state prisoner pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. The court ordered respondent to show cause why the
writ should not be granted. Respondent has filed an answer and a
memorandum of points and authorities in support of it, and has lodged
exhibits with the court. Petitioner has responded with a traverse. The
matter is submitted.
Petitioner was convicted by a jury of battery and carjacking. He was
sentenced to prison for eleven years. As grounds for habeas relief he
asserts that: (1) his due process rights were violated because the
carjacking statute is vague; and (2) his Miranda*fn1 rights
Petitioner does not dispute the following facts, which are taken from
the opinion of the California Court of Appeal.
Appellant was convicted of battering and taking
a car from a young man named Raymond Nadonza.
Appellant had known Nadonza for many years. He
was friends with Nadonza's father Wilfredo, and
when Nadonza was about 13 years old, appellant
left some guns with Wilfredo. A couple of years
later, Nadonza took the guns, went to Mission
Street in San Francisco, and sold them.
Understandably, the incident upset appellant
Appellant's anger came to a head about eight
years later. On May 14, 1998, Nadonza was at home
with a friend named Racho when Nadonza saw
appellant park his Mercedes near the garage. A
woman was with appellant. Nadonza knew appellant
wanted his guns back, so he closed the garage
door, hid behind a couch, and told Racho to tell
appellant that he was not at home.
Appellant came to the door and asked Racho
about Nadonza. Racho said he was not at home.
Appellant told Racho to have Nadonza contact him.
Racho than left.
Appellant did not leave. Instead, he called to
Nadonza and told him to come out. Nadonza did so.
As soon as Nadonza emerged, appellant began
punching him. He knocked Nadonza to the ground,
picked up a tripod, and began to stab him. The
legs on the tripod were equipped with small
spikes and Nadonza sustained injuries to his
hands and face.
Appellant told Nadonza to stand, and than to
lie on the ground. At one point, appellant
reached behind his back as if to pull out a gun.
Appellant threatened to "blow [Nadonza's] brains
out" and told him he was "going to spend the rest
of [his] life in a cemetery/' Nadonza begged for
mercy and told appellant that he was sorry. As
appellant paced around the room, Nadonza told
appellant he would get the guns back. Appellant
said he would give Nadonza one week. Nadonza
said he would only need two days.
Appellant picked up a set of keys that were on
a table in the kitchen and asked who owned the
car in the garage. Nadonza said it belonged to a
friend. Appellant said he would take the car, a
Honda, as collateral. He said that if Nadonza
went to the police, he would kill him.
Appellant then left. Either he or the woman
who was with him, drove the Honda away.
Appellant was arrested near his home in San
Francisco. later that same day.
Ex. 6 (opinion of court of appeal) at 1-2.
The petition in this case was filed after the effective date of the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), so the
provisions of that act apply to it. See Lindh v. Murphy,
521 U.S. 320, 327 (1997); Jeffries v. Wood. 114 F.3d 1484,
1499-1500 (9th Cir.),
cert. denied 522 U.S. 93 (1997) ("justice and
judicial economy are better served by applying the Act to cases filed
after the enactment date."). Under the AEDPA a district court may not
grant a petition challenging a state conviction or sentence on the basis
of a claim that was reviewed 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 in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the
State court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The first prong applies
both to questions of law and to mixed questions of law and fact,
Williams (Terry) v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 407-09 (2001), while
the second prong applies to decisions based on factual determinations,
Miller El v. Cockrell 123 S.Ct. 1029, 1041 (2003).
A state court decision is "contrary to" Supreme Court authority, that
is, falls under the first clause of § 2254(d)(1), only if "the state
court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme]
Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case
differently than [the Supreme] Court has on a set of materially
indistinguishable facts." Williams (Terry). 529 U.S. at 412-13.
A state court decision is an "unreasonable application of Supreme Court
authority, falls under the second clause of § 2254(d)(1), if it
correctly identifies the governing legal principle from the Supreme
Court's decisions but "unreasonably applies that principle to the facts
of the prisoner's case." Id. at 413. The federal court on habeas review
may not issue the writ "simply because that court concludes in its
independent judgment that the relevant state court decision
applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly."
Id. at 411. Rather, the application must be "objectively
unreasonable" to support granting the writ. See id.
"Factual determinations by state courts are presumed correct absent
clear and convincing evidence to the contrary." Miller
El. 123 S.Ct. at 1041. This presumption is not altered by the fact
that the finding was made by a state court of appeals, rather than by a
state trial court. Sumner v. Mata. 449 U.S. 539, 546-47 (1981);
Bragg v. Galaza, 242 F.3d 1082,
1087 (9th Cir.), amended. 253 F.3d 1150 (9th Cir. 2001).
A petitioner must present clear and convincing evidence to overcome §
2254(e)(1)'s presumption of correctness; conclusory assertions will not
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2), a state court decision "based on a
factual determination will not be overturned on factual grounds unless
objectively unreasonable in light of the evidence presented in the state
court proceeding." Miller El 123 S.Ct. at ...