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Steve Murillo v. Board of Parole Hearings

January 31, 2011

STEVE MURILLO, PETITIONER,
v.
BOARD OF PAROLE HEARINGS, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner claims that his federal constitutional right to due process was violated by a 2008 decision of the California Board of Parole Hearings ("the Board") to deny him a parole date.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In 1976, petitioner was convicted of first degree murder and first degree armed robbery, and sentenced to concurrent terms of seven years to life for murder and five years to life for robbery. See Pet. at 2. On February 21, 2008, petitioner appeared before the Board for a parole consideration hearing. See Pet., Ex. A. Petitioner appeared at and participated in the hearing. See id. at 1. Following deliberations held at the conclusion of the hearing, the Board announced their decision to deny petitioner parole and the reasons for that decision. Id. at 125.

This action was filed on April 8, 2010. Respondent filed an answer on August 19, 2010. Petitioner filed a traverse on September 15, 2010.

ANALYSIS

I. Standards for a Writ of Habeas Corpus

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).

Under section 2254(d)(1), a state court decision is "contrary to" clearly

established United States Supreme Court precedents 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 different result. Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 7 (2002) (citing Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-406 (2000)).

Under the "unreasonable application" clause of section 2254(d)(1), a federal habeas court may grant the writ 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. Williams, 529 U.S. at 413. 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 412; see also Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75 (2003) (it ...


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