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Anthony M. Blackwell v. Roderick Q. Hickman

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


September 29, 2011

ANTHONY M. BLACKWELL, PETITIONER,
v.
RODERICK Q. HICKMAN, RESPONDENT.
ANTHONY M. BLACKWELL, PETITIONER,
v.
JAMES WALKER, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Petitioner in both cases, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The above two cases have been consolidated. Respondent filed an answer on August 9, 2011, and petitioner filed a reply on September 7, 2011. Presently pending is petitioner's motion for an evidentiary hearing filed on September 7, 2011, in case 06-cv-1876. Petitioner seeks an evidentiary hearing to develop facts regarding his claims in the instant petition.

The Unites States Supreme Court recently addressed evidentiary hearings in Cullen v. Pinholster, --- U.S. ---- 131 S.Ct. 1388 (2011). The majority holding on the propriety of evidentiary hearings, with five justices joining in the majority opinion, provided: "We now hold that review under § 2254(d)(1)*fn1 is limited to the record that was before the state court that adjudicated the claim on the merits." Cullen at 1398. Further emphasis for the holding appears throughout the opinion: "[E]vidence introduced in federal court has no bearing on § 2254(d)(1) review." See also: "[E]vidence later introduced in federal court is irrelevant to § 2254(d)(1) review." Id. There is no ambiguity in these holdings.

In the course of adjudicating the subsection (d)(1) issue, the Supreme Court was unanimous in its discussion that § 2254(d)(2) (see footnote 1 above) was clear in limiting the evidence on review to that put before the state courts. The dissent viewed the explicit reference to the § 2254(d)(2) [review of state court decisions based on an unreasonable factual determination] as a reason to distinguish its explicit language limiting review to the state court record*fn2 to the situation presented by (d)(1) which did not contain the explicit language. Cullen (dissent) at 1415-1416. In answering this point, the majority agreed that the explicit language of (d)(2) made that section easy to interpret as precluding federally developed evidence, but held that the explicit language did not mean that (d)(1) was open to any and all federally developed evidence. Id. at 1400 (n.7) (emphasis added):

Pinholster and Justice SOTOMAYOR place great weight on the fact that § 2254(d)(2) includes the language "in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding," whereas § 2254(d)(1) does not. See post, at 1415 - 1416. The additional clarity of § 2254(d)(2) on this point, however, does not detract from our view that § 2254(d)(1) also is plainly limited to the state-court record.

The undersigned repeats for emphasis: "§ 2254(d)(1) also is limited to the state-court record." Clearly the word "also" means that both §§ 2254(d)(1) and 2254(d)(2) are limited to the state court record where the state court made an "adjudication on the merits," § 2254(d). There can be no other meaning placed on the word "also" as it can only indicate both subsections.

Thus, in habeas cases where the state courts have made an "adjudication on the merits" with respect to particular issues, previous rulings by the circuit and district courts permitting federal factual development on such issues prior to a resolution of those issues initially on the state court record have been abrogated.*fn3

Because all of the claims in the instant case were decided on the merits in state court proceedings, no evidentiary hearing is appropriate regarding any of the claims.*fn4 This court will only look to evidence that was before the state courts. The only claim in the instant petition that the California Supreme Court did not deny on the merits was a claim in which petitioner already received habeas relief by a lower court where his robbery convictions were vacated and he has already been re-sentenced.*fn5 Discovery is therefore not appropriate.

In accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's motion for an evidentiary hearing (Doc. 29 in 06-cv-1876) is denied.


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