United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS Dkt. No. 18
WILLIAM H. ORRICK, District Judge.
Petitioner Jovencio Dela Calzada seeks federal habeas relief from his state convictions because (1) his sentence is unconstitutional and (2) defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance. Neither of these claims has merit. The petition for habeas relief is DENIED.
In 2011, a Contra Costa County Superior Court jury found Dela Calzada guilty of committing multiple sexual offenses against two of his stepdaughters, Jane Does I and II. (Ans., Ex. 6 at 1 (State Appellate Opinion, People v. Dela Calzada, No. A133098, 2012 WL 5279770 (Cal.Ct.App. Oct. 26, 2012) (unpublished).) He received a sentence of 173 years to life in state prison. ( Id. ) His attempts to overturn his convictions in state court were unsuccessful. This federal habeas petition followed.
The state appellate court summarized the facts as follows:
The two victims are two of [Dela Calzada's] three stepdaughters who were initially raised in the Philippines and moved to the United States in May 1997 after their mother married [Dela Calzada]. At the time Jane Doe II was 13, Jane Doe I was four, and the third sister, Renzel, was 16. In view of the limited nature of the issues raised on appeal, it is not necessary to set out the evidence at trial in any detail. In short, Jane Doe II described a course of conduct in which [Dela Calzada] at first offered her money to massage him, threatened to send her back to the Philippines if she told her mother, engaged in various sex acts with her including intercourse and oral copulation, and had sex with her [p]robably more than 50 times' although she was sure it's more than that.' When Jane Doe II turned 17 she told Renzel of this conduct, and at Renzel's insistence told her mother. Her mother, however, insisted that this conduct not be reported to the authorities, and Jane Doe II and Renzel soon moved out of the family home. In December 2004, while in the Caribbean, Jane Doe II received a phone call from Jane Doe I, who was crying, sobbing, sound[ing] scared.' Concerned about her sister and over her mother's objections and threats to kill herself, Jane Doe II contacted child protective services. Upon returning to California she reported her prior experiences with [Dela Calzada] to a police detective.
Jane Doe I testified to having observed [Dela Calzada] on top of Jane II, who was not wearing pants, and then to numerous experiences of her own with [Dela Calzada] between the time she was in kindergarten until she was 11 years old. On many of these occasions [Dela Calzada] groped and touched Jane Doe I's vagina over her clothes. Jane Doe I reported some of these incidents to her mother, who discouraged her from mentioning the incidents to others at the risk of being placed in a foster home. [Dela Calzada] told Jane Doe I that he would deport her if she disclosed his actions. Her call to Jane Doe II in the Caribbean was prompted by a threat from [Dela Calzada] to kill her by cutting her throat and throwing her off a bridge. After she described to Renzel what had been occurring, she was interviewed by a police officer and a social worker, and then placed in a foster home. (Ans., Ex. 6 at 2-3.) Dela Calzada testified at trial that he was innocent of the charges, and had never sexually molested his daughters. ( Id. at 3.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), this Court may entertain a petition for writ of habeas corpus "in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The petition may not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the state court's 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).
"Under the contrary to' clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than [the] Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts." Williams (Terry) v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000).
"Under the unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the] Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case." Id. at 413. "[A] federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly. Rather, that application must also be unreasonable." Id. at 411. A federal habeas court making the "unreasonable application" inquiry should ask whether the state court's application of clearly established federal law was "objectively unreasonable." Id. at 409.
When presented with a state court decision that is unaccompanied by a rationale for its conclusions, a federal court must conduct an independent review of the record to determine whether the state-court decision is objectively unreasonable. See Delgado v. Lewis, 223 F.3d 976, 982 (9th Cir. 2000). This review is not de novo. "[W]here a state court's decision is unaccompanied by an explanation, the habeas petitioner's burden still must be met by showing there was no reasonable basis for the state court to deny relief." Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 784 (2011).
Dela Calzada was sentenced to a total term of 173 years to life. For his crimes against Jane Doe II, he received eight consecutive sentences of 15 years to life (with other sentences running concurrently), totaling 120 years. For his crimes against Jane Doe I, he received three consecutive sentences of 15 years to life, plus a sentence of 8 years (with other sentences running concurrently), totaling 53 years. (Ans., Ex. 2, Vol. 4 at 1093-94.)
Dela Calzada claims that the trial court violated (i) California Penal Code section 654, and thereby his right to due process, when it imposed multiple sentences for the same criminal conduct, and (ii) his Sixth Amendment jury trial rights when it imposed consecutive sentences after ...