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Williams v. Sherman

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 10, 2014

CARLTON WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
STU SHERMAN, [1] Warden, Respondent.

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS, CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND EVIDENTIARY HEARING

JAY C. GANDHI, Magistrate Judge. [2]

I.

BACKGROUND

On December 8, 2010, a jury convicted Carlton Williams ("Petitioner") of forgery, second degree burglary, and receiving stolen property. (Lodg. No. 7, Clerk's Transcript at 103-06, 110-11.) The trial court further found true that Petitioner had one prior strike conviction and one prior prison term. ( Id. at 131.) For his crimes, Petitioner was sentenced to six years in state prison ( Id. at 130-33.)

Petitioner appealed, the California Court of Appeal affirmed, and the California Supreme Court denied review. (Lodg. Nos. 1-4, 10-11.) Petitioner's state habeas petition was likewise denied. (Lodg. Nos. 5-6.)

On May 17, 2012, Petitioner filed his original federal habeas petition. [Dkt. No. 1.] On October 17, 2012, Petitioner filed a First Amended Petition. [Dkt. No. 27.] On April 10, 2014, Petitioner filed a Second Amended Petition ("SAP"), [Dkt. No. 38], which the Court considers below.

The Court has reviewed the record, and the evidence is accurately summarized in the California Court of Appeal's decision on direct review, which is attached as Exhibit A. (Lodg. No. 2); see also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1) (facts presumed correct). The Court discusses facts below as are pertinent to habeas relief.

II.

DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

Petitioner asserts a single ground for relief, which fails on this record. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) (Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act); Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 786 (2011).

Specifically, Petitioner argues that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated when his friend wanted to, but did not, testify at his trial. (SAP at 5.)

As a rule, a criminal defendant has the right to call witnesses in his favor. Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44, 52 (1987). However, "the right to present relevant testimony is not without limitation" and "may, in appropriate cases, bow to accommodate other legitimate interests in the criminal trial process." Id. at 55 (internal citation omitted). To establish a violation, Petitioner must "at least make some plausible showing of how [the absent] testimony would have been both material and favorable to his defense." See United States v. Valenzuela-Bernal, 458 U.S. 858, 867 (1982). Moreover, habeas relief may only be granted if the alleged error had a "substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury's verdict." Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637-38 (1993)

Here, Petitioner's claim fails for three reasons:

• Vague and Conclusory: First, this claim is vague, conclusory, and unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. See Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 75 n.7 (1977); James v. Borg, 24 F.3d 20, 26 (9th Cir. 1994) (conclusory allegations, unsupported by a statement of specific facts, do not merit habeas relief); Jones v. Gomez, 66 F.3d 199, 204-05 (9th Cir. 1995) ...

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