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Monteon v. Board of Parole Hearings

October 30, 2009

ALFREDO MONTEON, PETITIONER,
v.
BOARD OF PAROLE HEARINGS, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justin L. Quackenbush Senior United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

BEFORE THE COURT is Mr. Alfredo Monteon's pro se Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Ct. Rec. 11) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, to which the Respondent has Responded in Opposition (Ct. Rec. 16) and Mr. Monteon has Replied by Traverse (Ct. Rec. 17). Mr. Monteon's sole contention is that the California Board of Parole Hearings violated his Constitutional due process rights because its 2004 parole decision denying him release was not supported by sufficient reliable evidence to find that Mr. Monteon presented a continuing public safety threat.

I. Introduction

A. Facts

Petitioner, Alfredo Monteon ("Monteon") is currently serving a sentence of 25 years to life in California state prison. Mr. Monteon's 1987 conviction for first degree murder, which is not being contested, was based on his involvement in the robbery and murder of Mohammed Mousavi in Los Angeles, California. See Ct. Rec. 16, ¶ 2 for a full factual discussion of the underlying criminal conviction.

On August 26, 2004, the California Board of Parole Hearings ("Board") found Mr. Monteon unsuitable for parole. The Board gave a number of reasons for this ruling: the underlying offense was carried out in a calculated and dispassionate manner, the victim was abused and mutilated during the offense, the motive for the crime was inexplicable, and Mr. Monteon's somewhat escalating pattern of criminal conduct and unstable social history. Mr. Monteon remains incarcerated in California state prison.

B. Procedural History

Following the Board's decision, Mr. Monteon filed a petition for habeas corpus relief in Los Angeles Superior Court, which was denied on April 11, 2005. Ct. Rec. 11, Ex. 20; Super. Ct. No. BH003161. On September 7, 2005, the California Court of Appeals for the Second Appellate District denied Mr. Monteon's petition for habeas corpus relief, citing In re Rosenkrantz, 29 Cal.4th 616, 658 (Cal. 2002) and In re Dannenberg 34 Cal.4th 1061, 1084 (Cal. 2005). Ct. Rec. 10, 2:10-12; Case No. B185264. On September 27, 2006, the California Supreme Court denied Mr. Monteon's petition for habeas corpus relief in a slip opinion, again citing In re Rosenkrantz and In re Dannenberg. Ct. Rec. 11, 8; Case No. S140614.

Mr. Monteon filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Ct. Rec. 1) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California on April 9, 2007. The Board of Parole Hearings moved to dismiss the Petition for failure to exhaust state remedies (Ct. Rec. 8), and on February 21, 2008, a magistrate judge recommended dismissing all claims for failure to exhaust. Ct. Rec. 10. The recommendation was adopted by Judge Burrell (Ct. Rec. 13), and Mr. Monteon was granted leave to file an amended Petition raising only his exhausted claim. On March 14, 2008, Mr. Monteon filed his Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus raising the one claim at issue before the court. Ct. Rec. 11.

II. Standard of Review

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the 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).

Mr. Monteon's Petition is subject to review under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), as his federal petition was filed in 2007. Woodford v. Garceau, 538 U.S. 202, 210 (2003)(holding that AEDPA applies to applications filed in the federal courts after April 24, 1996). "We . . . review the state court's determinations through a "highly deferential" lens." Matylinksy v. Budge, 577 F.3d 1083, 1090 (9th Cir. 2009).

III. Discussion

A. The Amended Petition ...


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