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Gonzales v. Adams

August 28, 2009




Petitioner Alfred Ruben Gonzales is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. Petitioner stands convicted of spousal assault, kidnaping, violating a restraining order, and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is currently serving the imposed aggregate sentence of 21 years and eight months in prison.

The petition presents two distinct grounds for relief. Petitioner claims that (A) the prosecution failed to disclose material impeachment information in violation of the Supreme Court's mandate in Brady v. Maryland; 373 U.S. 83 (1963); and (B) the trial court improperly admitted evidence of his gang affiliation. For the reasons that follow, petitioner is not entitled to relief on either claim.


Petitioner was charged with various offenses relating to an assault on his estranged wife, another alleged assault on his girlfriend, and possession of weapons. The following supporting facts were set forth in the unpublished opinion of the California Court of Appeal, Third District, case C042241.*fn1 Petitioner is the defendant referred to therein.

[Charges Involving Gonzales, Petitioner's Estranged Wife:] Shortly before midnight on July 4, 2000, Officer Keith Hughes of the Sacramento Police Department was dispatched to a Chevron gas station on Broadway to respond to a report of possible kidnaping and domestic violence. The Chevron lot was empty, but Hughes saw another unit had responded about a block south of the station.

After Hughes pulled up behind the other squad car and got out of his vehicle, he was approached by Charlene Henderson, who was agitated and upset. Henderson pointed to defendant, who was detained in the back of the other police car, and told Hughes, "He [defendant] did it. That's the one. He did it."

Henderson told Hughes she and Norma Gonzales had been watching fireworks that night, and they stopped at the Chevron station to get gas and because they were having car problems. While the car was being fixed, defendant pulled up in his car. He was very angry and yelled at Gonzales to get in his car. She refused. Gonzales tried to dial 911 on her cell phone, but defendant took the phone from her. Gonzales told Henderson to call the police. Defendant pulled Gonzales by her hair into his car while she screamed for Henderson to call the police. Defendant told the other people around the car to get away or there would be trouble. Defendant drove off with Gonzales.

After Henderson explained to Hughes what had happened, she took him to a house where Hughes had been notified Gonzales had gone. The house belonged to Jane Tam. Gonzales was shaking and holding a clump of her hair in her hand. She had been crying and appeared to be terrified. Gonzales confirmed what Henderson had reported. She said defendant was her husband. She said she had a restraining order against him and had told him to leave.

She said after he pulled her into the car he squeezed her arm and neck. As he was driving, she threw the cell phone out of the window. He pulled to the side of the road and she took the keys from the ignition and threw them out the window. When defendant went to find the keys, she escaped. She ran to Tam's house and screamed for help. Tam let her into the house, shut the door, and called the police.

Gonzales told Hughes she was afraid of the defendant because he had been abusive to her in the past, because he was a G-Force gang member and had been known to carry a gun.

Neither Gonzales nor Henderson appeared to be under the influence.

Hughes heard from Gonzales again two or three days later when defendant was released from jail. Gonzales was upset defendant had been released, and stated she was fearful for her life.

At trial, Gonzales recanted everything she had told Hughes. She stated she had been drinking the night of July 4th and that her memory of that night was fuzzy. She denied she had tried to call the police or told Henderson to call the police. She stated she got into defendant's car willingly. She said she was fighting with defendant because she was jealous of his girlfriend and was angry that defendant did not want to spend the day with his son. She became enraged when she saw defendant's girlfriend's picture on the dashboard. Defendant pulled her hair out when she tried to jump out of the car, but he had only been trying to keep her from hurting herself. She stated defendant was no longer a gang member. [Charges Involving Bedford:]

Deputy Kurt Zeiler of the Yolo County Sheriff's Department was at a Chevron gasoline station on County Road 102 on September 9, 2000, when he was approached by Danika Bedford. Bedford told him she was fleeing from a domestic violence situation that had occurred in Sacramento. She told him she had been in a fight with her live-in boyfriend, who had pulled her hair and dragged her across the floor, sat on her, and cut her arm with a steak knife. Bedford was reluctant to give Zeiler any information about her boyfriend because she said he was part of the G-Force gang. She was afraid he would kill her if she gave his name.

Zeiler took Bedford to a Sacramento police station where she spoke to Officer Christian Prince. She repeated her story to Officer Prince. She indicated defendant was a member of the G-Force gang. She told Prince where there was a weapon in ...

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