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Khalifah E.D. Saif'ullah, Aka Fernando A. Jackson, Sr v. Kevin Chappell

December 15, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles F. Eick United States Magistrate Judge


This Report and Recommendation is submitted to the Honorable J. Spencer Letts, United States District Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 636 and General Order 05-07 of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.


Petitioner filed a "Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus By a Person in State Custody" on September 24, 2012. The Petition challenges an August 26, 2011 decision of a panel of the California Board of Parole Hearings ("Board") deeming Petitioner unsuitable for parole. Respondent filed an Answer on November 20, 2012.*fn1 Petitioner filed a Traverse on December 3, 2012.


In 1980, a jury found Petitioner guilty of kidnapping for ransom in violation of California Penal Code section 209(a), and found true the allegation that Petitioner personally used a firearm in the commission of the offense (Petition, pp. 2, 5 & Ex. A, second page). The evidence showed that Petitioner approached the victim, pointed a gun at him, and compelled him to enter a car. See Saif'ullah v. Sisto, 2010 WL 3733017, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 15, 2010). Petitioner and a crime partner drove the victim, tied up in the back seat, to an apartment where they forced the victim to record a ransom tape to send to the victim's parents. Id. Petitioner and the crime partner photographed the victim and asked him if his parents would pay $60,000 for his release. Id. The victim was also injected with some sort of drug. Id. The next day, the victim managed to escape. Id.

Petitioner received a life sentence (Petition, p. 5 & Ex. A, second page). Pursuant to California Penal Code section 3046, Petitioner could not be paroled until he served at least seven years of his sentence. Petitioner's alleged minimum eligible release date was in 1986 (Petition, Ex. C).

On August 26, 2011, Petitioner appeared before the Board for a subsequent parole hearing (Respondent's Lodgment 1, p. 0005-0006). The Board denied parole for seven years (id., pp. 0089-0094). The Board considered factors including Petitioner's commitment offense and criminal history, but relied "heavily" on Petitioner's record of prison discipline, which included twenty rules violation reports (including three since the last hearing in 2008) and seventeen misconduct citations (id., pp. 0062, 0090).

Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, which that court denied in a written order on March 2, 2012 (Respondent's Lodgment 2). Petitioner filed habeas corpus petitions in the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court, which those courts denied summarily (Respondent's Lodgments 3, 4, 5).


Petitioner contends that, because Petitioner allegedly has served his full sentence, the Board's denial of parole assertedly: (1) violated due process; (2) subjected Petitioner to involuntary servitude; and (3) imposed excessive and disproportionate punishment, allegedly in violation of the Eighth Amendment.


A federal court may not grant an application for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in state custody 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 presented in the State court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24-26 (2002); Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-09 (2000).

"Clearly established Federal law" refers to the governing legal principle or principles set forth by the Supreme Court at the time the state court renders its decision on the merits. Greene v. Fisher, 132 S. Ct. 38, 44 (2011); Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 71-72 (2003). A state court's decision is "contrary to" clearly established Federal law if: (1) it applies a rule that contradicts governing Supreme Court law; or (2) it "confronts a set of facts. . . materially indistinguishable" from a decision of the Supreme ...

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