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Daniels v. Woodford

December 8, 2006

TED DARNELL DANIELS, PETITIONER,
v.
JEANNE S. WOODFORD, DIRECTOR, OF HABEAS CORPUS RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Dana M. Sabraw United States District Judge

[Docs. 3, 5, 12]

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE AND DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT

Petitioner Ted Darnell Daniels, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges his June 7, 2001 conviction for burglary, reckless driving, and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. The Honorable William McCurine Jr., United States Magistrate Judge, has issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Civ. L.R. HC.2, recommending that the Court deny the petition in its entirety. Petitioner has submitted his objections to the R&R. This Court has reviewed the R&R pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), which provides for de novo review of the Magistrate Judge's findings and recommendations to which objections have been made. For the reasons discussed below, the Court adopts Judge McCurine's recommendation and denies the petition.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

The following facts are taken from the California Court of Appeal's unpublished opinion in People v. Daniels, slip op. No. D038444 (Cal. Ct. App., 4th Dist. Div. 1, February 16, 2003). The Court relies upon these facts pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e).

This saga began early on Christmas morning 1999, when San Diego Police responded to a burglary alarm at a Fry's Electronics store. A padlock securing the store's warehouse had been cut off, the warehouse entered and 41 laptop computers taken. The first officer to respond was San Diego Police officer Kristen Adams. Adams observed a blue Ford van at the store with three men in it. The van drove away, passing the police car as it left the store. Officer Adams observed Daniels driving the van. Officer Adams began a pursuit with emergency lights and siren that would continue for many miles, at high speeds and ultimately involving multiple police officers and vehicles.

When the van left the Fry's lot it headed south on I-15 and then onto 40th Street. At the intersection of 40th and Monroe the van stopped briefly, the passenger and side doors opened and two men fled from the van. The van then sped away with police in pursuit. The chase continued south on I-15 until the van exited at Market Street. Running red lights, the van headed back to I-15 northbound at high speed. It crashed through orange barriers at a point where the road was closed for construction. Flat tires as a result of following Daniels and the van through the construction disabled one of the police cars in pursuit.

The chase continued northbound on I-15 at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Traffic officers tried to overtake the van, get ahead of it and lay down nail strips in the roadway. One of the officers drove alongside the van and observed Daniels as the driver and sole occupant. Daniels made an abrupt exit from the freeway and returned heading south again, with police in pursuit. Eventually police abandoned the idea of laying nail strips to stop the van because of the dangerous and erratic manner in which Daniels was driving.

Daniels continued southbound at high rates of speed. Ultimately he entered I-8 eastbound until he pulled over just west of the Waring Road exit. As police slowed to approach the van, Daniels made a U-turn and started driving west in the eastbound lanes of I-8. Officer Kyler positioned his car across lanes 1 and 2 at a 45-degree angle. Daniels looked directly at the patrol car, "just gassed it" and headed towards the patrol car. His van struck the left front of the patrol car, even though there was room for him to drive past it.

After hitting Kyler's car, Daniels proceeded west in the eastbound lands of I-8. Daniels next drove at Sergeant Reschke's car, striking the front of the patrol car. Daniels drove on west bound until his car became disabled a short distance later. Daniels fled from the car and was located hiding in a nearby riverbed. By the time the pursuit ended, police had been chasing Daniels for 42 minutes.

Daniels testified on his own behalf and said he was not the driver of the van. He offered an explanation for his presence in the van and testified that an Asian man was driving throughout the police pursuit. He said that when the van was disabled he and the Asian man fled. He was later apprehended by police.

The defense called Ronald Carr, an expert witness, to testify as an accident reconstructionist. He discussed his view of the accidents, indicating he thought the van did not hit any of the patrol cars head on. He found it impossible to determine ...


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