United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
FREDERICK F. MUMM, Magistrate Judge.
Petitioner, Daniel Lee Newman ("Petitioner"), 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 June 4, 2013. On January 8, 2014, respondent filed an answer to the Petition. The parties have consented to have the undersigned conduct all proceedings in this case, including the resolution of all dispositive matters. The matter, thus, stands submitted and ready for decision.
II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
A Los Angeles County Court jury found Petitioner guilty of one count of possession of methamphetamine for sale (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11378). (Clerk's Transcript ["CT"] 113.) Petitioner subsequently admitted that he had suffered four prior convictions for which he had served prison terms. (CT 114.) He was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison. (CT 146-47.)
Petitioner then appealed his conviction. On May 3, 2012, the California Court of Appeal filed an unpublished opinion affirming the judgment against Petitioner. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a petition for review in the California Supreme Court, which denied review on July 11, 2012.
Petitioner then initiated this action.
III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
The following facts were taken verbatim from the California Court of Appeal's opinion affirming Petitioner's conviction:
On November 16, 2010, about 10:00 p.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies Ulises Urbina and Brant Frederickson were on patrol in Duarte when they conducted a traffic stop of a pick-up truck in the 1300 block of Bloomdale. When the truck pulled over, [Petitioner] leaned into the passenger side of the truck, then walked away from it toward a nearby residence. Deputy Urbina saw [Petitioner] toss something into the grass. The deputy stopped [Petitioner], put him in the patrol car, returned to the grassy area and found a chewing tobacco tin with a magnet on its back in the area where [Petitioner] had just tossed something. The tin contained four baggies of a substance later determined to be methamphetamine.
[Petitioner] did not appear to be under the influence of drugs. The deputies did not find any paraphernalia for ingesting drugs in the nearby area.
At trial, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Detective David Mertens testified as a narcotics expert. He explained that the 15.38 grams of methamphetamine found in the tin was a significant amount because a usable quantity was only.02 grams, which is the amount needed for an average person to be under the influence. He testified that 15.38 grams was about 769 usable doses and had a street value of about $3, 060. Detective Mertens opined that no one would possess that high a quantity unless it was for purposes of sale. Detective Mertens also stated that he had never encountered anyone possessing drugs in a magnetized tin for personal use, but had found such tins numerous times on people who possessed drugs for purposes of sale. He explained that the tins were used to conceal narcotics on a car, in locations such as the wheel wells, engine compartment or steering column. Detective Mertens also testified that two of the bags in the tin appeared to weigh 1.5 grams and that such bags were called "teeners" and sold for $120 each.
[Petitioner's] cousin Jonathan Heightman testified on [Petitioner's] behalf that he came out of a house in the 1300 block of Bloomdale in the evening of November 17, saw [Petitioner] being arrested, then saw police officers walking around for about 20 minutes with a flashlight apparently looking for something. He went inside for about 20 minutes, then came back outside and saw that police were still searching. He also observed that they were questioning a girl who was sitting on a curb.
[Petitioner's] father, who lived in a house in the 1300 block of Bloomdale, testified that he saw police search the stopped pick-up truck several times. The police searched the area in front of ...