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Mann v. Beard

United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division

January 13, 2015

MICHAEL MANN, Plaintiff,
JEFFREY BEARD, et al., Defendants.


DAVID O. CARTER, District Judge.

Before the Court is Magistrate Judge Nagle's Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Dkt. 18). On October 31, 2014, Magistrate Judge Nagle recommended that the District Court grant Petitioner Michael Mann's 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition and vacate his 2008 conviction in Orange County Superior Court Case No. 01NF3414 on the grounds that the California Court of Appeals unreasonably applied U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the Sixth Amendment's Speedy Trial Clause and that the state violated Petitioner's right to a speedy trial (Ground One). For the reasons below, the District Court declines to adopt the portion of the R&R analyzing Ground One, see R&R at 16:15-32:17, but adopts the remainder of the R&R.

I. Background

The Court adopts the sections of the R&R describing the factual background and procedural history of this case. See R&R 2:1-8:3, 12:17-16:13.

Subsequent to the Magistrate Judge's issuance of the R&R, Respondent filed objections to the R&R on the basis that the state court's decision was not "unreasonable" because fair-minded jurists could debate whether Petitioner's federal speedy trial rights were violated under applicable Supreme Court case law. See Objections, Nov. 17, 2014 (Dkt. 19). The R&R and objections were then forwarded to this Court for review.

II. Legal Standard

A. Standard of Review of Magistrate Judge Reports and Recommendations This Court is required to make a de novo review upon the record of those portions of the R&R to which specific objections have been made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). "The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).

B. Standard of Review of State Court Decisions Under AEDPA

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), the federal habeas court cannot override a state court's decision and grant a writ of habeas corpus for a person in state custody unless the state court's decision (1) "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) "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding."

The first prong is the prong at issue in this case. Magistrate Judge Nagle correctly stated the standard of review under the first prong:

Clearly established federal law, for purposes of Section 2254(d)(1) review, means Supreme Court holdings in existence at the time of the relevant state court decision. Greene v. Fisher, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 38, 44-45 (2011); see also Cullen v. Pinholster, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 1388, 1399 (2011); Richter, 131 S.Ct. at 785. Deference to a state court decision is required absent a Supreme Court decision that either "squarely addresses'" the issue in the case before the state court or establishes a legal principle that "clearly extends'" to a new context. Varghese v. Uribe, 736 F.3d 817, 824 (9th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted), cert. denied, 134 S.Ct. 1547 (2014); Moses v. Payne, 555 F.3d 742, 760 (9th Cir. 2009); see also Richter, 131 S.Ct. at 786 (it "is not an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law for a st2 ate court to decline to apply a specific legal rule that has not been squarely established by'" the Supreme Court) (citation omitted). While circuit precedent is relevant "to ascertain whether [a circuit] has already held that the particular point in issue is clearly established by Supreme Court precedent, " circuit precedent may not "be used to refine or sharpen a general principle of Supreme Court jurisprudence into a specific legal rule that [the Supreme] Court has not announced." Marshall v. Rodgers, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1446, 1450-51 (2013) (per curiam).
Under Section 2254(d)(1)'s first prong, a state court decision is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if the state court applies a rule that contradicts the relevant Supreme Court holdings or reaches a different conclusion than that reached by the high court on materially indistinguishable facts. Price v. Vincent, 538 U.S. 634');"> 538 U.S. 634, 640, 123 S.Ct. 1848, 1853 (2003).

R&R at 9-10.

"Section 2254(d)(1) permits a federal court to grant habeas relief based on the application of a governing legal principle to a set of facts different from those of the case in which the principle was announced." Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 76 (2003). "Certain principles are fundamental enough that when new factual permutations arise, the necessity to apply the earlier rule will be beyond doubt." Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 666 (2004). However, habeas courts cannot "introduce[] rules not clearly established under the ...

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