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Dotson v. Kramer

March 16, 2009

CLOPHER DOTSON, PETITIONER,
v.
M. C. KRAMER, RESPONDENT.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Clopher Dotson is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. He challenges the 2002 judgment of conviction entered against him in the Shasta County Superior Court, case number 00F2786.

II. BACKGROUND

A jury convicted petitioner of five methamphetamine related offenses, as alleged in counts one and three to six, and found that counts five and six were committed within 1,000 feet of a school. The trial court declared petitioner's 1970 Missouri manslaughter conviction a valid strike*fn1 and further found true two prior narcotics convictions, two prior prison terms, and that two offenses were committed while on bail for another offense. Petitioner was sentenced to a prison term of 18 years, four months.

The California Court of Appeal, Third District, affirmed the judgment in full and the California Supreme Court denied review. Petitioner filed several applications for writ of habeas corpus in the Shasta County Superior Court, the California Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court, which were likewise denied.

The issues raised in the petition are largely procedural, and relevant facts are set forth where pertinent.

III. CLAIMS FOR RELIEF

The petition sets forth five grounds for relief. Some of the grounds for relief appear to overlap and others arguably raise more than one issue. A good summary of petitioner's allegations appears in the conclusion section of his petition at pages 5T-5U. For purposes of this opinion, petitioner's claims will be analyzed as follows: (A) whether the trial court erred when it relied on his 1970 manslaughter conviction to enhance his sentence pursuant to §§ 667 and 1170.12 of the California Penal Code; (B) whether petitioner suffered a Blakely error at sentencing; (C) whether petitioner was subjected to double jeopardy and whether appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance in failing to raise a double jeopardy claim on appeal; and (D) whether petitioner's conviction was unconstitutional because the prosecutor allegedly breached a contract. For the reasons that follow, the claims are without merit and the petition should be denied.

IV. APPLICABLE LAW FOR FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS

An application for writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody under judgment of a state court can be granted only for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States. 28 U.S.C. §2254(a); see also Peltier v. Wright, 15 F.3d 860, 861 (9th Cir. 1993); Middleton v. Cupp, 768 F.2d 1083, 1085 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 119 (1982)). This petition for writ of habeas corpus was filed after the effective date of, and thus is subject to, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326 (1997); see also Weaver v. Thompson, 197 F.3d 359 (9th Cir. 1999). Under AEDPA, federal habeas corpus relief also is not available for any claim decided on the merits in state court proceedings 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. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see also Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792-93 (2001); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 402-03 (2000); Lockhart v. Terhune, 250 F.3d 1223, 1229 (9th Cir. 2001).

V. ANALYSIS OF THE CLAIMS

A. Sentence Enhancements for the Prior ...


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