United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS;
DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
JEFFREY S. WHITE United States District Judge
a prisoner of the State of California, filed a pro se
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, challenging the validity of his criminal
conviction and sentence in state court. Respondent filed an
answer to the petition, to which Petitioner filed a traverse.
For the reasons set forth below, the petition is DENIED.
2010, a jury in Santa Cruz County Superior Court convicted
Petitioner of attempted murder, shooting at an occupied
vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon, corporal injury
to a co-habitant, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and
domestic battery. The jury also found allegations of that
Petitioner personally used and discharged a firearm and that
he inflicted great bodily injury to be true. The trial court
found that Petitioner had served three prior prison terms and
sentenced him to a term of 38 years to life in state prison.
2013, the California Court of Appeal struck the conviction
for false imprisonment, ordered the abstract of judgment to
reflect the fact that the sentence for shooting at an
occupied vehicle had been stayed, and otherwise affirmed the
judgment. Petitioner appealed this decision to the California
Supreme Court, which denied review on May 1, 2013.
Thereafter, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus in the California Supreme Court, which was denied on
July 16, 2014. On August 15, 2014, he filed the instant
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
California Court of Appeal summarized the evidence presented
at trial as follows:
Defendant had an acrimonious, violent relationship with
Deleyne Padilla that Padilla ended in August 2007. But on
September 16, 2007, defendant's mother drove defendant to
Padilla's home on Larkin Valley Road in Watsonville so he
could attempt reconciliation. She exited the vehicle, entered
the home, and explained to Padilla that defendant wished to
speak with her. Padilla agreed to speak with defendant and
went with the mother to the vehicle. She sat in the front
passenger seat and the mother sat in the driver's seat.
Defendant was sitting in the back seat. After conversing with
Padilla for several minutes, defendant began to argue with
Padilla. Padilla exited the vehicle and began walking away.
Defendant then got out, pursued Padilla, grabbed Padilla, and
threw her onto the back seat of the vehicle. Padilla
"flew across and hit the other ... passenger door."
Defendant got into the back seat and instructed his mother to
drive away. The mother drove away, and the two in the back
seat began arguing. After concluding that Padilla had been
avoiding him, defendant hit Padilla at least three times in
the face while the vehicle was on Airport Road crossing a
bridge connecting to Highway 1 toward Monterey. He then bit
Padilla on the hand. At some point, the mother pulled over
and told defendant to stop hitting Padilla. After defendant
agreed, she drove to Mesa Village Park on Green Valley Road
where defendant exited the vehicle. She then drove Padilla
home. Padilla reported the incident to the police, and the
investigating officer observed two red and purple bruised
eyes, a swollen cheek and nose, and bite marks on her hand.
The above incident formed the basis for the corporal injury,
kidnapping, false imprisonment, and domestic battery
convictions. The next described incident formed the basis for
the attempted murder, vehicle shooting, and firearm
Defendant was in custody until April 2008. After he was
released, Padilla went to see him at his home. They talked
about reestablishing their relationship and became intimate.
They began seeing each other every day. And they began
arguing after Padilla discovered that defendant was seeing a
woman named Veronica. During one argument in a restaurant,
defendant grabbed Padilla's hair, dragged Padilla around
the room, pinned Padilla against a wall, and threw a punch
near her face. During another argument at a friend's
home, defendant pulled out a revolver. On May 21, the two
argued over the telephone. Padilla hung up on defendant and
refused to answer his subsequent calls and text messages.
During the late evening of May 21 and early morning of May
22, Padilla drove her car around back roads with her
brother-in-law as a passenger. She told him about her abusive
situation and stressful condition. As she returned to her
home and drove up a hill on her narrow, one-car, dirt
driveway, a second car approached going down the driveway
toward Padilla's car. The cars stopped at a
bumper-to-bumper distance. Defendant exited the second
vehicle with a gun in his hand, ran toward the
passenger's side of Padilla's vehicle, pointed the
gun into the car, and tried to get inside, but the door was
locked. He tried the rear passenger door but that was also
locked. He angrily commanded that Padilla unlock the door,
and Padilla eventually complied. Defendant got in the back
seat, pointed the gun at Padilla, and started to argue with
her. He demanded her cell phone, and Padilla gave it to him.
Defendant read Padilla's call list and broke the cell
phone in half. At defendant's command, Padilla backed her
car off the road and the second car drove away. Defendant
then demanded that Padilla drive him to a friend's home
and get rid of her brother-in-law. Padilla instead drove
around a neighborhood while defendant argued with her. She
stopped at a 7-Eleven store, went inside, and purchased
cigarettes for defendant. She then returned to the car and
drove to the intersection of Chappel Road and Ross Avenue.
During the drive, she refused to take defendant to his
friend's home or drop off her brother-in-law. She turned
left on Ross. Defendant then told Padilla to stop and drop
him off. Padilla stopped the car, and defendant exited from
the right passenger rear door. Padilla then "hit the
gas." Defendant fired a shot from his revolver that
shattered the rear window of Padilla's car, sprayed
chunks of glass on Padilla's back, and punctured
Padilla's wrist that was holding the steering wheel.
Padilla slowed down the car, and she and her brother-in-law
slouched down. Defendant then fired another shot that hit the
dashboard and shattered glass. Padilla managed to drive out
of range. But her pain caused her to turn the driving over to
her brother-in-law who drove her to the hospital.
People v. Zamora, 2013 WL 681983, 1-2 (Cal.Ct.App.
Feb. 26, 2013).
district court may not grant a petition challenging a state
conviction or sentence on the basis of a claim that was
reviewed 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
court decision is "contrary to" Supreme Court
authority, that is, falls under the first clause of §
2254 (d)(1), only 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 that [the Supreme] Court has on a set of
materially indistinguishable facts." Williams
(Terry) v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000). A state
court decision is an "unreasonable application of"
Supreme Court authority, falling under the second clause of
§ 2254 (d)(1), if it correctly identifies the governing
legal principle from the Supreme Court's decisions, but
"unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the
prisoner's case." Id. at 413. The federal
court on habeas review may not issue the writ "simply
because the court concludes in its independent judgment that
the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established
federal law erroneously or incorrectly." Id. at
411. Rather, the application must be "objectively
unreasonable" to support granting the writ. Id.
28 U.S.C. § 2254 (d)(2), a state court decision
"based on a factual determination will not be overturned
on factual grounds unless objectively unreasonable in the
light of the evidence presented in the state-court
proceeding." Miller-El, 537 U.S. 332 at 340.
there is no reasoned opinion from the highest state court to
consider AEDPA's standard for relief has been met, the
Court looks to the last state court to deny the claims in an
explained opinion. Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797,
801-06 (1991). Here, there is no reasoned state court opinion
whatsoever on Petitioner's claims because he did not
raise them on direct appeal; instead he raised them only in a
habeas petition to the California Supreme Court, which was
denied summarily. In such a circumstance, a federal court
should conduct "an independent review of the
record" to determine whether the state court's
decision was an objectively unreasonable application of
clearly established federal law. Plascencia v.
Alameida, 467 F.3d 1190, 1197-98 (9th Cir. 2006). This