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Sobey v. Haviland

January 25, 2010

JOHN ERNEST SOBEY, PETITIONER,
v.
J. HAVILAND, RESPONDENT.



ORDER

Petitioner is a California prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging a 2006 Placer County conviction for robbery and the resulting sentence. The parties have consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction.

I. Factual Background

On appeal, the California Court of Appeal summarized the facts underlying petitioner's conviction and the relevant trial court proceedings as follows:

Defendant John Sobey went to a Safeway store, filled his shopping cart with groceries valued at over $1,600 and left the store without paying for those groceries. Store security confronted defendant in the parking lot. Defendant responded by pulling up his shirt, revealing a nine-millimeter handgun and saying, "'Here's your receipt.'"

Defendant pled guilty to robbery and admitted that he personally possessed a firearm. In exchange for that plea, defendant agreed to a stipulated sentence of five years on the robbery, and three years for the firearm possession, for an aggregate sentence of eight years.

Answer, Ex. A at 1.

II. Standard of Review

An application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody under a 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). Also, 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 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) (referenced herein as "§ 2254(d)" or "AEDPA").*fn1 It is the habeas petitioner's burden to show he is not precluded from obtaining relief by § 2254(d). See Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 25 (2002).

The "contrary to" and "unreasonable application" clauses of § 2254(d)(1) are different. As the Supreme Court has explained:

A federal habeas court may issue the writ under the "contrary to" clause if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in our cases, or if it decides a case differently than we have done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. The court may grant relief under the "unreasonable application" clause if the state court correctly identifies the governing legal principle from our decisions but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the particular case. The focus of the latter inquiry is on whether the state court's application of clearly established federal law is objectively unreasonable, and we stressed in Williams [v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362 (2000)] that an unreasonable application is different from an incorrect one.

Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002). A state court does not apply a rule different from the law set forth in Supreme Court cases, or unreasonably apply such law, if the state court simply fails to cite or fails to indicate an ...


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