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Goodrum v. Cate

September 6, 2008

TONY GOODRUM, PETITIONER,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, SECRETARY RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Napoleon A. Jones, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER: (1) ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE ADLER'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION and (2) DENYING PETITIONER'S PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS.

Before the Court is Magistrate Judge Jan M. Adler's Report and Recommendation ("R&R") recommending that the Court deny Petitioner Tony Goodrum's ("Petitioner") Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (the "Petition") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. [Doc. No. 1.] Petitioner timely filed Objections to the R&R. [Doc. Nos. 19, 25.] Respondent has not filed a Reply. For the reasons set forth below, this Court ADOPTS the R&R and DENIES the Petition in its entirety.

Background

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office filed an Information charging Petitioner with one count of murder and personal use of a handgun in violation of California Penal Code §§ 187(a) and 12022.5(a)(1) and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of California Penal Code § 12021(a)(1). [Clerk's Trans. at 1-3.] A jury found Petitioner guilty of the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter (in violation of Cal. Penal Code § 192(a)) and personal use of a handgun, and he was sentenced to 21 years in state prison. [Clerk's Trans. at 201-203, 276-277.]

Petitioner filed a direct appeal challenging his conviction and sentence in the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One. [Lodgement Nos. 3-5.] In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal affirmed Petitioner's conviction and sentence. [Lodgment No. 6.] Petitioner then filed a petition for review in the California Supreme Court, which was denied without comment. [Lodgment Nos. 7-8.]

Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and a Motion for Discovery Concerning Law Enforcement Officers in the California Superior Court. These were denied by written order filed September 29, 2005. [Lodgment Nos. 9-10.] Petitioner then filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the California Court of Appeal. The California Attorney General filed a response, and the court denied the petition on April 20, 2006. [Lodgment Nos. 11-13.] Petitioner then filed another Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the California Superior Court, which denied the petition. [Lodgment Nos. 14-15.] Petitioner filed a state petition seeking habeas relief in the California Supreme Court on November 3, 2006. The court denied the petition without comment on June 13, 2007. [Lodgment Nos. 16-17.] While that petition was pending, Petitioner filed one more Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the California Superior Court. The court denied the petition. [Lodgment Nos. 18-19.]

Petitioner filed the instant Petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in this Court on April 23, 2007. [Doc. No. 1.] Respondent filed an Answer on July 16, 2007, and Petitioner filed a Traverse on July 27, 2007. [Doc. Nos. 9, 12.] In response to the R&R filed on January 14, 2008, Petitioner filed an Objection on January 15, 2008, and the First Amended Objection on April 21, 2008. [Doc. Nos. 15, 19 and 25.]

Legal Standard

I. State Prisoner Habeas Corpus Standard

A federal court may grant a habeas petition if the applicant is in custody "in violation of the Constitution or other laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). State interpretation of state laws and rules cannot serve as the basis for a federal habeas petition, as no federal or constitutional questions would be implicated. Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 68 (1991). Habeas petitions are governed by the provisions of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). Pursuant to AEDPA, a federal court may grant habeas corpus relief from a state court judgment only if the adjudication was (1) contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, or (2) was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceedings. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 7-8 (2002).

A state-court decision is "contrary to clearly established federal law" if it (1) applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in Supreme Court cases, or (2) confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of the Supreme Court and nevertheless arrives at the opposite result. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000). A state-court decision is an unreasonable application of the facts "if the state court identifies the correct 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.

Reviewing a Magistrate Judge's R&R

The duties of the district court in connection with a magistrate judge's R&R are set forth in Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2005). The district court must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report . . . to which objection is made," and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2005); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 676 (1980). "When no objections are filed, the district court may assume the correctness of the magistrate judge's findings of fact and decide the motion on the applicable law." Johnson v. Nelson, 142 F. Supp. 2d 1215, 1217 (S.D. Cal. 2001). "Under such circumstances, the Ninth Circuit has held that 'a failure to file objections only relieves the trial court of its burden to give de novo review to factual findings; conclusions of law must still be reviewed de novo.'" Id. (quoting Barilla v. Ervin, 886 ...


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