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William May Atherton v. Mike Knowles

July 21, 2011

WILLIAM MAY ATHERTON, PETITIONER,
v.
MIKE KNOWLES, RESPONDENT.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding in propria persona with an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He challenges his 2004 Placer County Superior Court conviction on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender and seeks relief on the grounds that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance. Upon careful consideration of the record and the applicable law, the undersigned recommends that petitioner's application for habeas corpus relief be denied.

I. Procedural and Factual Background*fn1

A jury convicted defendant William May Atherton of failing to register as a sex offender. (Pen.Code, § 290, subd. (g)(2).)*fn2 In a trial by court, the court found defendant had two prior strike convictions (§§ 667, subds.(b)-(I), 1170.12) and had served three prior prison terms (§ 667.5, subd. (b)).*fn3 Defendant was sentenced to state prison for 28 years to life.

FACTS

Defendant stipulated that he had been convicted of an offense for which was imposed a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender; that at the time of the conviction he was advised of the lifetime requirement to register; and that on June 16, 1997, he was convicted of failure to so register.

Defendant registered 12 times at 11 different addresses, and each time he was told of the registration requirements, which included informing the registering agency with which he last registered of moving into a new jurisdiction, and informing the registering agency in the new jurisdiction of his address.

On May 22, 2001, defendant registered with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, listing his address as 3036 Glendale Avenue in Redwood City. On April 9, 2002, defendant informed the Department of Motor Vehicles that he had moved to 134 Main Street in Roseville, but defendant never registered with the Roseville Police Department. On May 27, 2002, San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies went to the Glendale Avenue address but were told defendant had moved to the Sacramento area. On June 7, 2002, an investigator with the Roseville Police Department went to the Main Street address and found defendant listed on the roster of people who lived at that address.

Defendant neither testified nor presented any evidence.

II. Analysis

A. Standards for a Writ of Habeas Corpus

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). A federal writ is not available for alleged error in the interpretation or application of state law. See Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991); Park v. California, 202 F.3d 1146, 1149 (9th Cir. 2000).

Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) sets forth the following standards for granting federal habeas corpus relief:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the 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 ...


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