The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES BREYER, District Judge
ORDER DENYING CONSOLIDATED PETITIONS FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
Petitioner, a state prisoner at Mule Creek State Prison in
Ione, California, seeks a writ of habeas corpus under
28 U.S.C. § 2254 claiming unconstitutional deprivation of pre-sentence
custody credits. For the reasons set forth below, his
consolidated petitions for a writ of habeas corpus are denied.
On August 20, 1996, petitioner was arrested and charged with
two counts of robbery (Case No. H24496). On or about September
23, 1996, while still in custody, he was "arrested" and charged
with one count of murder and one count of robbery (Case No.
130929B). And on or about January 25, 1999, again while still in
custody, he was "arrested" and charged with one count of
attempted robbery (Case No. 134858). On February 26, 1999, petitioner entered pleas of guilty to
both robbery counts in case number H24496; to voluntary
manslaughter as a lesser-included offense of murder, and to the
robbery count, in case number 130929B; and to the attempted
robbery count in case number 134858.
On February 18, 2000, petitioner was sentenced consecutively on
all counts to 18 years and eight months in state prison. The
trial court noted that petitioner had been in continuous custody
since the time of his initial arrest on August 30, 1996 and
awarded him 1436 days of pre-sentence custody credit. No direct
appeal was taken.
On March 1, 2000, petitioner began seeking habeas relief from
the state courts claiming deprivation of all pre-sentence custody
credits he is entitled to receive under California law. On
September 24, 2003, the Supreme Court of California denied his
final state habeas petition. The instant consolidated federal
petitions for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
Per orders filed on May 13, 2004, the court found that the
petitions appeared to state colorable claims for relief under §
2254, when liberally construed, and ordered respondent to show
cause why a writ of habeas corpus should not be granted. After
unsuccessfully moving to dismiss the petitions as untimely,
respondent has not filed an answer and petitioner has filed a
This court may entertain a petition for a 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). A federal writ of habeas corpus 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 in a decision that was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence
presented in the State court proceeding." Id. § 2254(d).
"Under the `contrary to' clause, a federal habeas court may
grant the writ 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]
Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000). "Under
the `unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas court may
grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct
governing legal principle from [the] Courts's decisions but
unreasonably applies theat principle to the facts of the
prisoner's case. Id. at 413.
"[A] federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because
the court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant
state-court decision applied clearly established federal law
erroneously or incorrectly. Rather, that application must also be
unreasonable." Id. at 411. A federal habeas court making the
"unreasonable application" inquiry should ask whether the state
court's application of clearly established federal law was
"objectively unreasonable." Id. at 409.
The only definitive source of clearly established federal law
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) is in the holdings (as opposed to the
dicta) of the Supreme Court as of the time of the state court
decision. Id. at 412; Clark v. Murphy, 331 F.3d 1062, 1069
(9th Cir. 2003). While circuit law may be "persuasive authority"
for purposes of determining whether a state court decision is an
unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent, only the
Supreme Court's holdings are binding on the state courts and only
those holdings need be "reasonably" applied. Id.
A deprivation of time credits allegedly impacting a prisoner's
state sentence may generally be remedied only by way of a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2254. See Young
v. Kenny, 907 F.2d 874, 876-78 (9th Cir. 1989); ...