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Jackson v. Arnold

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 23, 2015

ERIC ARNOLD, Warden; and MATTHEW CATE, Secretary; Respondents.


ROGER T. BENITEZ, District Judge.

On March 5, 2014, Petitioner Robert Jackson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No.1.) Respondents filed an Answer and Petitioner filed a Traverse. (Docket Nos. 8, 10.) On August 11, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued a thorough and thoughtful Report and Recommendation, advising the Petition be denied. (Docket No. 11.) On September 24, 2014, Petitioner filed Objections to the Report. (Docket No. 14.) For the reasons stated below, the Report and Recommendation is ADOPTED.


According to the California Court of Appeals, the facts are as follows:

On October 5, 2011, Petitioner was found guilty of residential burglary and robbery. In September 2010, Clifton and Ledesma Broadhurst saw an intruder in their home whom they described as an African American male, six feet four inches to six feet five inches tall, slender, with short curly hair, no facial hair, and wearing a white polo shirt with red and black stripes. The man shoved Clifton and grabbed Ledesma by the wrists and threw her to the ground. Ledesma's wallet containing $30 was missing.

Other witnesses described the man as an African American in a striped shirt who appeared to be in his twenties due to his build and agility and about five feet nine to ten inches tall. Less than a mile from the Broadhurst home a polo shirt with vertical red, blue, white and green stripes was found with fresh sweat on it; Ledesma's wallet was found another ten feet away. Both items contained blood that matched Petitioner's DNA profile. Officer Barton originally testified that he collected these items into one bag but later changed his testimony to two separate bags because his handwriting was on two bags. Clifton and Officers Thomas and Woodland corroborated this, but Ledesma thought the items were in one bag. Officers tracked down William Harrell who had an outstanding arrest warrant. Clifton was confident that Harrell was not the intruder, but Ledesma was uncertain. Harrell's DNA profile did not match the blood from the shirt or the wallet.

In his petition, Petitioner asserts the following claims: (1) insufficient evidence to support the verdict in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (2) cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. The Report concluded that there was sufficient evidence to identify Petitioner as the perpetrator and to support his conviction. The Report also concluded that the sentence was not grossly disproportionate because Petitioner had the possibility of parole. Petitioner also had a long history of violence and recidivism and the state is justified in punishing recidivists more harshly than first time offenders.

In his Objection, Petitioner argues that there is insufficient evidence to support a beyond-a-reasonable-doubt verdict because no one specifically identified him as the perpetrator, another man in the area fit the description given by the witnesses, and the DNA from his shirt could have contaminated the wallet. Also, Petitioner objects to the claim that he is a violent person.


Federal Rule of CiviI Procedure 72(b) provides the standard of review for a magistrate judge's report and recommendation to which objections have been made. It states, "The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to. The district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." See 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1).

A writ of habeas corpus shall not be granted unless the adjudication on the merits in the state court proceeding resulted in a decision that was (1) "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the U.S." or (2) "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)(1).


The Court has reviewed the record in this case and addresses ...

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