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La Juan Pride v. Matthew Cate

August 10, 2012

LA JUAN PRIDE, PETITIONER,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Carolyn K. Delaney United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Petitioner, a state prisoner, is proceeding pro se with a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Dkt. No. 1 ("Ptn.").) Petitioner claims that there was insufficient evidence for the trial court to find he had a prior strike conviction, which resulted in an additional three-year prison term when petitioner was sentenced in 2009 for possession of counterfeit money. The parties have consented to this court's jurisdiction. (Dkt. Nos. 3, 7.) Upon careful consideration of the record and the applicable law, the undersigned will deny petitioner's application for habeas corpus.

BACKGROUND

On January 12, 2009, a jury in the Superior Court of Sacramento County found petitioner guilty of possession of counterfeit money and second degree burglary. (Lod. Doc.*fn1 ,

Reporter's Transcript on Appeal (RT) at 346.) On March 20, 2009, Judge Patrick Marlette of the Sacramento County Superior Court found petitioner guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of a prior strike for a September 18, 2007 robbery conviction in Alameda County Court. (Lod. Doc., Clerk's Transcript (CT) at 357, 375.) On March 27, 2009, Judge Marlette sentenced petitioner to three years in state prison for possession of counterfeit money and doubled the three year term to six years pursuant to petitioner's prior strike. (RT at 397.) Judge Marlette also sentenced petitioner to two years in state prison for the burglary, and doubled this term pursuant to petitioner's prior strike, but ruled that this sentence would run concurrently. (RT at 398.) In total, petitioner was sentenced to a term of six years in state prison. (RT at 398.)

Petitioner appealed on an evidence chain of custody ground to the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District. (Ptn. at 2.) On August 11, 2010, the Court of Appeal stayed the burglary sentence but otherwise affirmed the trial court judgment. (Lod. Doc. 4 at 2.) Petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court of California, and the court denied his appeal on October 20, 2010. (Ptn. at 2 and Dkt. 8 at 2.)

On March 17, 2011, petitioner filed a habeas petition with the Sacramento Superior Court. (Ptn. at 3.) Petitioner alleged that there was insufficient evidence at trial to prove the prior strike conviction. (Ptn. at 4.) The Sacramento Superior Court denied the petition in a reasoned opinion dated April 26, 2011. (Lod. Doc. 8, Opinion of the Sacramento County Superior Court ("Opinion") at 1.) On May 23, 2011, petitioner appealed this decision to the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District. (Lod. Doc. 9 at 1.) The California Court of Appeal denied the petition on June 2, 2011. (Lod. Doc. 10.) Petitioner then appealed to the Supreme Court of California on June 18, 2011. (Lod. Doc. 11.) On July 27, 2011, the Supreme Court of California denied the petition. (Lod. Doc. 12.)

On December 1, 2011, petitioner filed the habeas petition now pending before the court. (Ptn.) Respondent filed an answer on February 9, 2012. (Dkt. 8.)

DISCUSSION

I. AEDPA

The statutory limitations of federal courts' power to issue habeas corpus relief for persons in state custody is provided by 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). The text of § 2254(d) states:

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 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 ...


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