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Rawls v. Fischer

April 13, 2010

ANTHONY D. RAWLS, PETITIONER,
v.
SUSAN FISCHER, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Petitioner is currently in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation serving an indeterminate sentence of twenty-five years to life for his 1985 conviction in Los Angeles County Superior Court for first degree murder. (Pet. at 2.)

On March 6, 2007, Petitioner's second parole suitability hearing was held before the California Board of Parole Hearings ("Board") to determine his eligibility for parole. (HT*fn1 at 1.) Petitioner attended the hearing and was represented by an attorney. (HT at 1.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board denied parole and deferred rehearing for three years. (HT at 55.)

Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. See Answer, Exhibit 1. On July 1, 2008, the petition was denied in a reasoned decision.

See Answer, Exhibit 2. Petitioner then filed a habeas petition in the California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District. See Answer, Exhibit 3. The petition was denied on August 6, 2008. See Answer, Exhibit 4. On September 23, 2008, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the California Supreme Court. See Answer, Exhibit 5. On May 20, 2009, the petition was denied. See Answer, Exhibit 6.

On July 7, 2009, Petitioner filed the instant federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. The petition challenges the 2007 decision of the Board of Parole Hearings denying parole. On November 10, 2009, Respondent filed an answer to the petition. Petitioner filed a traverse to Respondent's answer on December 3, 2009.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn2

On September 27, 1984, Petitioner and two crime partners were involved in a gang-related shooting which led to the death of Robert Stringer. A brief discussion between Petitioner and his crime partners in one vehicle and the victim and others in a separate vehicle led to a chase. Ultimately, the vehicle with Petitioner and his crime partners pulled into an alley where the crime was committed. Petitioner later told a witness that he and another crime partner shot the victim. Petitioner subsequently maintained he was not the shooter.

Approximately one week after the shooting, Petitioner made a gang hand-signal at rival gang members near a mortuary where the victim's body was on view. Petitioner then shot at an individual named Kevin Orange. He denied this shooting as well.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

On April 24, 1996, Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), which applies to all petitions for writ of habeas corpus filed after its enactment. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320 (1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 1008 (1997); Jeffries v. Wood, 114 F.3d 1484, 1499 (9th Cir. 1997), quoting Drinkard v. Johnson, 97 F.3d 751, 769 (5th Cir.1996), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1107 (1997), overruled on other grounds by Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320 (1997) (holding AEDPA only applicable to cases ...


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