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Jones v. Felker

April 27, 2009

CLINT JONES, PETITIONER,
v.
T. FELKER, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lonny R. Suko United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING §2254 PETITION

BEFORE THE COURT is the Petitioner's Petition for Habeas Corpus Reliefpursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 2254 (Ct. Rec. 1).

I. DISCUSSION

Federal habeas corpus relief 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 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 proceedings. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

Under Section 2254(d)(1), a state court decision is "contrary to" clearly established Supreme Court precedent if it applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in Supreme Court cases, or if it confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of the Supreme Court and nevertheless arrives at a different result. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 413 (2000). The term "unreasonable application" has a meaning independent from that of the term "contrary to." A state court's decision is an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court precedent "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. A federal habeas court "may not issue the writ simply because that 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 an "'unreasonable application' inquiry should ask whether the state court's application of clearly established federal law was objectively unreasonable." Id. at 409. This is a "'highly deferential standard for evaluating state court rulings'" and "'demands that state court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.'" Clark v. Murphy, 331 F.3d 1062, 1067 (9th Cir. 2003)(citations omitted).

In determining whether a state court decision is "contrary to" or an "unreasonable application" of federal law under §2254(d)(1), the federal court looks to the last reasoned state court decision as the basis for the state court judgment. Barker v. Fleming, 423 F.3d 1085, 1091-92 (9th Cir. 2005); Avila v. Galaza, 297 F.3d 911, 918 (9th Cir. 2002). In the captioned matter, the last reasoned state court decision is that rendered by the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, in People v. Jones, 2006 WL 3064090 (October 30, 2006). The California Supreme Court subsequently and summarily denied Petitioner's petition for review.

A. Fourth Amendment Argument (Ground 1)

Petitioner argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence of the movement of his truck which resulted from the placement of global positioning device (GPS) in the truck pursuant to a condition of probation.

Under clearly established Supreme Court case law, Petitioner's Fourth Amendment claim is barred. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 456, 494 (1976). Further, as the record and opinion of the Court of Appeals show, Mr. Jones was given a full and fair opportunity to litigate his Fourth Amendment claim and received an evidentiary hearing in the trial court. Additionally, Petitioner's argument regarding the placement of a GPS unit in his truck is barred by his procedural default in failing to raise the issue in the trial court and because it would require a new rule, the latter being prohibited under Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989). Moreover, Petitioner has not shown cause and prejudice required under Sawyer v. Whitley, 505 U.S. 333, 338 (1992)("Unless a habeas petitioner shows cause and prejudice . . . , a court may not reach the merits of . . . procedurally defaulted claims in which the petitioner failed to follow applicable state procedural rules in raising claims . . .").

Here, at the trial court level, Petitioner argued in support of his motion to suppress, that the continuous surveillance through GPS was harassing. On appeal, Petitioner did not argue that he was subjected to harassment, but instead that reasonable suspicion was required to support the search, relying on United States v. Knights, 534 U.S. 112 (2001). The Court of Appeal agreed with Respondent's argument that the issue was forfeited by Petitioner's failure to raise it in the trial court. (Opn. at 3-10.) The court explained:

Here, defense counsel repeatedly advised the court and the prosecution that his motion was limited to the question whether the installation and monitoring of the GPS unit constituted harassment under People v. Reyes (1998) 19 Cal.4th 743 [fn. 8 omitted], a claim he does not raise on appeal. The claim he does raise on appeal was not made in the trial court. To the contrary, when the prosecution attempted to elicit testimony in support of the question whether installation of the GPS unit was reasonable, defense counsel interrupted and narrowed the issue to one of harassment. Although respondent addresses the merits of this claim, indicating the trial court did not limit the evidence and that there is substantial evidence connecting defendant to the burglaries, we will not take that measure because the trial court was never presented with and did not determine the factual predicate necessary to resolve the claim raised on appeal. Accordingly, because defendant failed to properly raise the issue in the trial court, he has forfeited his claim for appellate review. (Opn. at 9-10.)

This court concludes that Petitioner's Fourth Amendment argument is barred and finds the Court of Appeal finding in this regard was not contrary to, and did not involve an unreasonable application of, clearly established law as determined by the Supreme Court of the ...


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