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Cross v. Gonzalez

United States District Court, S.D. California

January 27, 2015

TERRENCE QUINTEN CROSS, Petitioner,
v.
A.M. GONZALEZ, Warden, et al., Respondent.

ORDER: (1) ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; AND (2) DENYING PETITIONER HABEAS RELIEF

CYNTHIA BASHANT, District Judge.

On September 13, 2013, Petitioner Terrence Quinten Cross, a state prisoner, filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus seeking 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas relief from his January 31, 2012 conviction and sentence for selling and possessing cocaine base. ECF 1. Respondent answered the Petition, and Petitioner filed a Traverse. ECFs 11, 13. On August 14, 2014, United States Magistrate Judge Jan M. Adler issued a Report and Recommendation ("Report") recommending that this Court deny the Petition. ECF 16. Petitioner objected to the Report. ECF 17.

For the following reasons, the Court ADOPTS the Report in its entirety (ECF 16), OVERRULES Petitioner's objections (ECF 17), and DENIES the petition with prejudice (ECF 1).

I. LEGAL STANDARD

A district court's duties concerning a magistrate judge's report and recommendation and a party's objections thereto are set forth in Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and in 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). When no objections are filed, the district court is not required to review the magistrate judge's report and recommendation. See United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (holding that 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c) "makes it clear that the district judge must review the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations de novo if objection is made, but not otherwise") (emphasis in original).

In contrast, the duties of a district court in connection with a magistrate judge's report and recommendation are quite different when an objection has been filed. These duties are set forth in Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and in 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Specifically, the district court "must make a de novo determination of those portions of the report... to which objection is made, " and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 676 (1980); United States v. Remsing, 874 F.2d 614, 617 (9th Cir. 1989).

II. ANALYSIS[1]

Petitioner objects to the Report, asserting that Federal Rule of Evidence 403 allows this Court to review the trial court's determination for abuse of discretion. ECF 17. To support this proposition, Petitioner cites Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172 (1997). In that case, the Supreme Court found that the trial court abused its discretion when it refused to accept the defendant's stipulation that he had a prior felony, even though the Government refused to join the stipulation. Instead, the Government introduced the judgment from the prior conviction.

In Old Chief, the Supreme Court directly reviewed a case arriving from a federal criminal trial, governed by the Federal Rules of Evidence. In such direct actions, the abuse of discretion standard is appropriate. In contrast, Petitioner's arrives in federal court seeking habeas relief. Federal habeas relief requires a federal constitutional violation. See Jammal v. Van de Kamp, 926 F.2d 918, 919 (9th Cir. 1991). Old Chief does not address a constitutional violation, nor does it impute federal evidentiary standards onto the states. It is therefore irrelevant to the disposition of this Petition.

III. CONCLUSION

Because failure to consider Old Chief or to apply its standard to the present case was the sole basis for the Objection, and Old Chief is irrelevant, Judge Adler rightly did not apply Old Chief. Additionally, after reviewing the entirety of the Report de novo, the Court has determined Judge Adler's reasoning to be sound.

In light of the foregoing, the Court ADOPTS the Report in its entirety (ECF 16), OVERRULES Petitioner's objections, and DENIES this habeas petition with prejudice in its entirety (ECF 1).

Moreover, because reasonable jurists would not find the Court's assessment of the claims debatable or wrong, the Court DENIES a certificate of appealability. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000).

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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