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Anthony Clarke v. Matthew Cate

December 22, 2011

ANTHONY CLARKE, PETITIONER,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, SECRETARY OF CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frederick F. Mumm United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2254

I. PROCEEDINGS

Petitioner Anthony Clarke, a state prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("Petition") on October 1, 2010. Petitioner and respondent consented to proceed before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). On November 16, 2010, respondent filed a Return to the Petition. Petitioner did not file a Reply. The matter thus stands submitted and ready for decision.

II. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 1, 2010, petitioner pleaded no contest to a violation of Penal Code section 666, petty theft with a prior. (Lodged Doc. #2.) Petitioner admitted the truth of a prior strike allegation and the court struck two remaining priors alleged in the Complaint. (Lodged Doc. #16.) Pursuant to the plea agreement, petitioner was sentenced to 32 months in state prison. (Lodged Doc. ## 3, 16.)

III. PETITIONER'S CLAIMS

1. The trial court's imposition of a sentencing enhancement based on his prior conviction violated petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to have a jury finding of whether the prior conviction was for a serious or violent felony.

2 Trial counsel deprived petitioner of his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel by committing the following errors:

(a) failing to investigate the status of petitioner's prior conviction and to object to its use as a strike pursuant to California law; and

(b) failing to consult with petitioner about challenging the sentence on appeal.

IV. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The standard of review applicable to petitioner's claims herein is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") (Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996)). See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see also Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336, 117 S. Ct. 2059, 138 L. Ed. 2d 481 (1997). Under AEDPA, a federal court may not grant habeas relief on a claim adjudicated on its merits in state court unless that adjudication "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 "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."*fn1 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 402, 120 S. Ct. 1495, 146 L. Ed. 2d 389 (2000).

The phrase "clearly established Federal law" means "the governing legal principle or principles set forth by the Supreme Court at the time the state court renders its decision."*fn2 Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 71-72, 123 S. Ct. 1166, 155 L. Ed. 2d 144 (2003). However, a state court need not cite the controlling Supreme Court cases in its own decision, "so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts" relevant Supreme Court precedent which may pertain to a particular claim for relief. Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8, 123 S. Ct. 362, 154 L. Ed. 2d 263 (2002) (per curiam).

A state court decision is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if the decision applies a rule that contradicts the governing Supreme Court law or reaches a result that differs from a result the Supreme Court reached on "materially indistinguishable" facts. Williams, 529 U.S. at 405-06. A decision involves an "unreasonable application" of federal law if "the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [Supreme Court] decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case." Id. at 413. A federal habeas court may not overrule a state court decision based on the federal court's independent determination that the state court's application of governing law was incorrect, ...


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