The opinion of the court was delivered by: James K. Singleton, Jr. United States District Judge
Raul Rodriguez, a state prisoner appearing pro se, filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Rodriguez is currently in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, incarcerated at the La Palma Correctional Center, Elroy, Arizona. Respondent has answered. Rodriguez has not replied.
I. BACKGROUND/PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
A Sacramento County Superior Court jury convicted Rodriguez of two counts of committing a lewd and lascivious act upon a child under the age of fourteen, Cal. Penal Code § 288(a), one count of committing a forcible lewd and lascivious act upon a child under fourteen, Cal. Penal Code § 288(b)(1), and one count of committing a lewd and lascivious act upon a fourteen-year-old child while being at least ten-years older than the child, Cal. Penal Code § 288(c)(1). The jury also found true the allegation that defendant engaged in substantial sexual conduct with the victim in two of the counts, Cal. Penal Code § 1203.066(a)(8). In January 2007 the trial court sentenced Rodriguez to an aggregate prison term of fourteen years and eight months. The California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, affirmed Rodriguez's conviction and sentence in an unpublished decision,*fn2 and the California Supreme Court denied review on March 28, 2008. Rodriguez timely filed his Petition for relief in this Court on June 10, 2009.
Because the facts underlying Rodriguez's conviction are well known to the parties and are not relevant to the issues raised in the Petition, they are not repeated here.
II. ISSUES RAISED/DEFENSES
In his Amended Petition, Rodriguez raises four enumerated grounds: (1) his confession was coerced; (2) his conviction was obtained by the use of evidence obtained through an unlawful arrest; (3) a Miranda violation;*fn3 and (4) denial of the effective assistance of counsel. Respondent contends that Rodriguez has failed to exhaust his state-court remedies with respect to his first, second, and fourth grounds. Respondent asserts no other affirmative defense.*fn4
Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), this Court cannot grant relief unless the decision of the state court was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States" at the time the state court renders its decision or "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding."*fn5 The Supreme Court has explained that "clearly established Federal law" in § 2254(d)(1) "refers to the holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of [the Supreme Court] as of the time of the relevant state-court decision."*fn6 The holding must also be intended to be binding upon the states; that is, the decision must be based upon constitutional grounds, not on the supervisory power of the Supreme Court over federal courts.*fn7 Thus, where holdings of the Supreme Court regarding the issue presented on habeas review are lacking, "it cannot be said that the state court 'unreasonabl[y] appli[ed] clearly established Federal law.'"*fn8 When a claim falls under the "unreasonable application" prong, a state court's application of Supreme Court precedent must be "objectively unreasonable," not just "incorrect or erroneous."*fn9 The Supreme Court has made clear that the objectively unreasonable standard is "a substantially higher threshold" than simply believing that the state-court determination was incorrect.*fn10 "[A]bsent a specific constitutional violation, federal habeas corpus review of trial error is limited to whether the error 'so infected the trial with unfairness as to make the resulting conviction a denial of due process.'"*fn11 In a federal habeas proceeding, the standard under which this Court must assess the prejudicial impact of constitutional error in a state court criminal trial is whether the error had a substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the outcome.*fn12 Because state court judgments of conviction and sentence carry a presumption of finality and legality, the petitioner has the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she merits habeas relief.*fn13
The Supreme Court recently underscored the magnitude of the deference required:
As amended by AEDPA, § 2254(d) stops short of imposing a complete bar on federal court relitigation of claims already rejected in state proceedings. Cf. Felker v. Turpin, 518 U.S. 651, 664, 116 S.Ct. 2333, 135 L.Ed.2d 827 (1996) (discussing AEDPA's "modified res judicata rule" under § 2244). It preserves authority to issue the writ in cases where there is no possibility fairminded jurists could disagree that the state court's decision conflicts with this Court's precedents. It goes no farther. Section 2254(d) reflects the view that habeas corpus is a "guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems," not a substitute for ordinary error correction through appeal. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 332, n.5, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979) (Stevens, J., concurring in judgment). As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.*fn14
In applying this standard, this Court reviews the "last reasoned decision" by the state court.*fn15 State appellate court decisions that summarily affirm a lower court's opinion without explanation are presumed to have adopted the reasoning of the lower court.*fn16 This Court gives the presumed decision of the state court the same AEDPA deference that it would give a reasoned decision of the state court.*fn17 Under AEDPA, the state court's findings of fact are presumed to be correct unless the petitioner rebuts this presumption by clear and convincing evidence.*fn18 This presumption applies to state-trial courts and appellate courts alike.*fn19