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GALBRAITH v. CAREY

September 16, 2005.

JEFFREY GALBRAITH, Petitioner,
v.
THOMAS CAREY, in his capacity as Warden of the California Correctional Institution, in Techachapi, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM HASKELL ALSUP, District Judge

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

INTRODUCTION

In this habeas case, petitioner asserts violations of his Miranda rights and his right to effective assistance of trial counsel. For the reasons below, this order DENIES the petition.

  STATEMENT

  Following a jury trial in Alameda Superior Court, petitioner Jeffrey Galbraith was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to prison for fifteen years to life. The state court of appeal affirmed. The California Supreme Court denied review.

  On November 17, 1997, petitioner, age 15, and Alvin Richardson, age 16, robbed a furniture store owned by victim Isaias Aparicio. During the robbery, victim was shot and died. On the afternoon following the incident, petitioner obtained treatment at Oakland Children's Hospital for the gunshot wound he sustained during the robbery-homicide. Sergeant Ersie Joyner of the Oakland Police Force testified at trial that Officer T. Pope was dispatched to contact petitioner there pursuant to standard police protocol to investigate the circumstances surrounding such an injury (Exh. C-3 at 64-65, 73). Officer Pope took a statement from petitioner at about 1:00 p.m. without first advising him of his Miranda rights (Exh. C-3 at 65). Petitioner lied and stated that three individuals robbed and shot him after he departed a bus in North Oakland earlier that day (Exh. C-3 at 55-56, 68-69).

  While at the hospital, Officer Pope learned from Sergeant Joyner, who was investigating the victim's robbery-homicide, that petitioner was a suspect in a shooting.*fn1 As per Sergeant Joyner's instructions, Officer Pope maintained custody of petitioner and transported him to the police station for questioning at 4:38 p.m. (Exh. C-3 at 51-53, 65-66).

  At the police station, Sergeant Joyner and Sergeant Michael Yoell conducted a two-part interview with petitioner about the victim's murder. At the start of the first session, Sergeant Joyner read petitioner his Miranda rights (Exh. C-3 at 53-55, 66). Petitioner stated that he understood his rights and consented to speak with Sergeants Joyner and Yoell. He also signed an agreement to this effect (Exh. B at 455-56; Exh. C-3 at 55, 68). Sergeant Joyner was aware that petitioner was 15 years old and in ninth grade; he also knew that petitioner was injured and had taken morphine earlier that day (Exh. B at 497-80; Exh. C-3 at 67, 70). Accordingly, Sergeant Joyner asked petitioner whether he was under the influence of medication at the time. Petitioner replied that he was not (Exh. C-3 at 67). Petitioner said that he was "thinking real clear" (Exh. B at 479). Though petitioner also claimed to be in pain, he did not request a doctor, nurse or medication (Exh. C-3 at 68, 70).

  Petitioner initially provided Sergeant Joyner the same explanation for his injury as he had given Officer Pope (Exh. C-3 at 55-56). Yet, he was unable to answer Sergeant Joyner's follow-up questions regarding where he claimed he was shot or which bus line he was allegedly riding. Petitioner subsequently confessed that the statement was false after Sergeant Joyner expressed skepticism about the account. Petitioner also admitted that he was shot in the course of the robbery-homicide (Exh. C-3 at 56-58, 72). The first part of the interview ended at about 6:50 p.m. and was unrecorded (Exh. C-3 at 68). The second part of the interview, which was fully recorded, began at 7:00 p.m. and continued until 7:35 p.m. (Exh. B. at 454-82; Exh. C-3 at 60-61). At the end of the session, petitioner confirmed that neither Sergeant Joyner nor Sergeant Yoell threatened, made promises, physically abused or deprived him of water or opportunities to use the bathroom during the interview (Exh. B at 480; Exh. C-3 at 71). The officers then conducted a joint interrogation of petitioner and co-defendant Richardson until 10:37 p.m. At the end of the interrogation, petitioner complained that he was in great pain and needed medication (Exh. B. at 405).

  At trial, petitioner's counsel moved to suppress these statements, alleging that they were taken in violation of petitioner's Miranda rights. The trial court denied the motion after finding that the statements were not coerced because petitioner understood and waived his Miranda rights (Exh. C-3 at 83-84). In addition, petitioner's counsel did not require the prosecution to establish a prima facie case before acquiescing to the presumption that petitioner had to be tried as an adult rather than a juvenile at any point in the proceedings.

  ANALYSIS

  Petitioner brings two claims for habeas relief. He contends that: (1) his Miranda rights were violated when Officer Pope elicited an inculpatory statement from him at the hospital without first advising him of his Miranda rights, and when Sergeant Joyner elicited involuntary statements from him at the police station after he waived his Miranda rights; and (2) his trial counsel rendered prejudicial ineffective assistance in failing to require the prosecution to establish a prima facie case before the presumption that he could not be tried as a juvenile could apply. Neither of these claims is persuasive.

  1. Standard of Review.

  This petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). Under the AEDPA, an application for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to a state court judgment shall not be granted with respect to any claim adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings unless the adjudication of that 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). A state court's application of law must be objectively unreasonable to warrant habeas relief. Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75 (2003). A state court finding on a dispositive factual question presented in a habeas petition may only ...

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