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Gary Don Baldwin v. Kathleen Allison

February 7, 2011

GARY DON BALDWIN, PETITIONER,
v.
KATHLEEN ALLISON,*FN1 RESPONDENT.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

1. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner, Gary Don Baldwin, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se witha petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is currently serving an aggregate sentence of 126 years, 8 months plus 90 years to life following his 2007 conviction in the Sacramento County Superior Court for 13 counts of sexual abuse against his stepdaughter, and two counts of child abuse against his son and daughter. Here, Petitioner challenges the constitutionality of his convictions.

II. CLAIMS

Petitioner presents two grounds for relief. Specifically, the claims are as follow:

(1) The trial court violated his due process right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him by excluding the proffered testimony of Joseph Wardell and Leroy Russ that his wife had falsely accused them of molesting M., Petitioner's step-daughter.

(2) The trial court erred in admitting evidence of prior uncharged acts of sexual misconduct under sections 1108 and 352 of the California Evidence Code, rendering his trial fundamentally unfair.

Based on a thorough review of the record and applicable law, it is recommended that both of Petitioner's claims be denied.

III. BACKGROUND

The relevant facts of Petitioner's crime were summarized in the unpublished opinion of the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, as follows:

Given the nature of defendant's claims on appeal, a detailed recitation of the facts is unnecessary. Suffice it to say, defendant sexually abused his stepdaughter, D., by committing acts of oral copulation, attempted sexual intercourse, attempted sodomy, and unlawful touchings. He also beat two of his other children. Among the witnesses testifying at trial was another stepdaughter, M., who described uncharged acts of sexual abuse that defendant had committed against her.

Defendant denied any culpability and argued that his wife and children fabricated these charges in order to get him out of the house. The jury rejected this claim and convicted defendant of all 15 counts.

Lodged Doc. 4 at 2.

Petitioner timely appealed his convictions to the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District. The court affirmed his convictions with a reasoned opinion on March 2, 2009. He then filed a petition for review of the appellate court's decision in the California Supreme Court. The court denied his petition without comment on May 13, 2009. Petitioner filed his federal petition for writ of habeas corpus on February 26, 2010. Respondent filed its answer on July 26, 2010, and Petitioner filed his traverse on November 1, 2010.

IV. APPLICABLE STANDARD OF HABEAS CORPUS REVIEW

This case is governed by the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), which applies to all petitions for writ of habeas corpus filed after its enactment on April 24, 1996. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326 (1997); Jeffries v. Wood, 114 F.3d 1484, 1499 (9th Cir. 1997). Under AEDPA, an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody under a judgment of a state court may be granted only for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 375 n. 7 (2000). Federal habeas corpusrelief 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 ...


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