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Libbett v. Condron

July 21, 2008

CARISHA CAREE LIBBETT, PETITIONER,
v.
LINDA CONDRON, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Illston United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

INTRODUCTION

This matter is now before the court for consideration of the merits of Carisha Caree Libbett's pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus concerning her 2005 conviction in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. For the reasons discussed below, the petition will be denied.

BACKGROUND

A. The Crimes

The evidence relating to the kidnapping for purposes of robbery was described in the California Court of Appeal's decision:

[A]t 4:30 a.m. on September 17, standing outside a blue-painted 5-unit rental property at 625 South Second Street in San Jose, where she had a room, Libbett waved down Luis Chavez who agreed to a $60 sexual dalliance. They drove to an automatic teller machine (ATM) for money first and then repaired 26 back to Libbett's room where, after speaking to someone in a black Chevrolet Suburban that was parked nearby, she directed Chavez upstairs and into the bathroom. Libbett directed Chavez to move a chair into the bathroom and sit down, which he did. Libbett locked the door and Chavez gave her $60.

Shortly thereafter, there was a knock on the door. Libbett said, "let me see who it is," and opened the door. [Co-]Defendant [Leon Renee] Harvey rushed in, pointed "something" at Chavez and told him not to move, threatened to shoot him, and demanded money. Chavez was frightened, thought it "might be [his] last day," and obeyed. Libbett told Harvey to "put the gun away," and took Chavez's wallet containing $and his ATM card. Harvey said $3 was not enough and they would have to go to Chavez's bank and get more. Defendants escorted Chavez down the stairs and out to his car, a distance of 50 to 100 feet. Harvey told Chavez not to "try to do nothing because you are going to get hurt," and, all the way to the car, Chavez was wondering if he was going to be killed. At Harvey's direction, Chavez opened the passenger door first and Harvey got in. Chavez then went to open the driver's door. Defendants were waiting for him to drive them to the bank. Harvey told him not to run, that they would hurt him. Chavez was thinking, "what should I do now, should I run, should I wait, or should I do what they are telling me to do[?]. . . [T]here is a light. . . . Where people is [sic], . . . and the light was red and I saw something approaching. . . . I was like basically praying saying like what should I do now. [¶] Then the light turned green and the driver drove by right next to the blue apartment. I took off running. So facing. . . the white SUV and he said are you crazy. And I said no, I just been robbed and he stopped and said by who and I pointed at them. So they just stood there for a couple minutes I saw. They saw the driver stop, they took off running." Resp. Ex. 6, Cal. Ct. App. Opinion, ¶. 1-2.

Following a jury trial in 2005 in Santa Clara County Superior court, Libbett was found 15 guilty of kidnapping for purposes of robbery, robbery and assault.*fn1 She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole plus four years. Her conviction was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal on November 14, 2006. Her petition for review was denied by the 18 California Supreme Court on February 7, 2007. Libbett then filed this action, seeking a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. 20 She asserts a single claim, i.e., that her right to due process was violated because the evidence was insufficient to support the kidnapping for robbery conviction.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

This court has subject matter jurisdiction over the petition for writ of habeas corpus under 25 28 U.S.C. § 2254. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This action is in the proper venue because the challenged conviction occurred in Santa Clara County, within this judicial district. 28 U.S.C. §§ 84, 2 2241(d).

EXHAUSTION

Prisoners in state custody who wish to challenge collaterally in federal habeas 6 proceedings either the fact or length of their confinement are required first to exhaust state judicial remedies, either on direct appeal or through collateral proceedings, by presenting the highest state court available with a fair opportunity to rule on the merits of each and every claim 9 they seek to raise in federal court. 28 ...


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