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Craig anderson v. D.K. Sisto

February 17, 2011

CRAIG ANDERSON, PETITIONER,
v.
D.K. SISTO, RESPONDENT.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Craig Anderson, a state prisoner, proceeds pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. Petitioner challenges the execution of the indeterminate life sentence he is currently serving. In particular, petitioner challenges a 2007 decision of the state parole authority that he was not suitable to be released on parole.

II. BACKGROUND

In 1986, a jury found petitioner guilty of first degree murder. He was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life in state prison. According to petitioner, his minimum eligible parole date passed on March 12, 2002.

On March 30, 2007, a panel of the Board of Parole Hearings ("Board") conducted a first subsequent (second overall) hearing to determine petitioner's suitability for parole. After considering various positive and negative suitability factors, the panel concluded that petitioner would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society if released, and thus that he was not suitable for parole.

Petitioner sought habeas corpus relief in the San Mateo County Superior Court; the petition was denied. Petitions presented to the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court were likewise denied, but without written explanation. This action followed.

III. ISSUES PRESENTED

Petitioner presents various "contentions" including (1) that California inmates have a liberty interest in parole; (2) that the Board's decision was not supported by "some evidence"; (3) that petitioner meets various circumstances tending to show parole suitability and that he cannot comply to any greater degree; (4) that continued reliance on the facts of the crime to deny parole is improper; and (5) that due process was violated when the Board exceeded their statutory authority in denying parole.

For purposes of this opinion, all of petitioner's contentions will be addressed within a single discussion regarding the process due under federal law at a parole suitability hearing in California.

IV. APPLICABLE LAW FOR FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS An application for writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody under 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); see also Peltier v. Wright, 15 F.3d 860, 861 (9th Cir. 1993); Middleton v. Cupp, 768 F.2d 1083, 1085 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 119 (1982)). This petition for writ of habeas corpus was filed after the effective date of, and thus is subject to, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326 (1997); see also Weaver v. Thompson, 197 F.3d 359 (9th Cir. 1999). Under AEDPA, federal habeas corpus relief also 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); see also Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792-93 (2001); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 402-03 (2000); Lockhart v. Terhune, 250 F.3d 1223, 1229 (9th Cir. 2001).

V. DISCUSSION

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state action that deprives a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. A person alleging a due process violation must first demonstrate that he or she was deprived of a protected liberty or property interest, and then show that the procedures attendant upon the deprivation were not constitutionally sufficient. Kentucky Dep't. of ...


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