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Motta v. Beard

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 26, 2016

EDWARD J. MOTTA, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFREY BEARD, Respondent.

          ORDER (1) ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; (2) DENYING PETITION; and (3) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          Hon. Koger T. Benitez, United States District Judge

         Petitioner Edward Motta, a California prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 2254. (Docket No. 1.) The Magistrate Judge issued a thorough and thoughtful Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending habeas relief be denied. (Docket No. 25.) Petitioner filed Objections to the Report. (Docket No. 28.) For the reasons stated below, the Report and Recommendation is ADOPTED, and the Petition is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner was convicted of attempted murder, assault, making a criminal threat, false imprisonment, resisting an officer, burglary, and battery based on three incidents between Petitioner and his then-girlfriend. He was sentenced to 75 years-to-life plus 20 years in state prison.

         Petitioner appealed his conviction. The California Court of Appeal affirmed. He then filed a petition for review in the Supreme Court of California. That petition was denied.

         The R&R recommends that Petitioner’s claims be denied. Petitioner makes four objections to the R&R. First, he objects to the finding that he received constitutionally effective representation. Second, he objects to the Report’s finding that an evidentiary hearing was not necessary. Third, Petitioner argues that the Magistrate Judge failed to “independently review the record pursuant to Federal Habeas Corpus Rule 11.” Fourth, he contends that the Magistrate Judge erred in finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying his mid-trial request for self-representation.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         I. Report and Recommendation

         Where a timely objection to a report and recommendation has been filed, the district court reviews de novo those portions of the report or specific proposed findings or recommendations to which the petitioner objected. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         II. Petition for Habeas Corpus

         A Petition for Habeas Corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”); see Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 337 (1997). AEDPA states that a habeas petition will not be granted with respect to any claim adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings unless that adjudication either: (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). A federal court engages in extraordinarily deferential review of the state court’s determination, and only looks to see whether the state court’s decision was objectively unreasonable. See Yarbrough v. Gentry, 540 U.S. 1, 4 (2003); Medina v. Hornung, 386 F.3d 872, 877 (9th Cir. 2004). When there is no reasoned decision from the state’s highest court, the court “looks through” to the underlying appellate court decision. Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 801-06 (1991).

         The Supreme Court has stated that a federal habeas court “may issue the writ under the ‘contrary to’ clause if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in our cases, or if it decided a case differently than we have done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.” Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002). Relief under the “unreasonable application” prong is only granted where the governing law was correctly identified, but was applied to the facts in an “objectively unreasonable manner.” Id. As to § 2254(d)(2), “factual determinations by state courts are presumed correct absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary . . ., and a decision adjudicated on the merits in a state court and based on a factual determination will not be overruled on factual grounds unless objectively unreasonable in light of the evidence presented in the state-court proceeding.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 340 (2003).

         DISCUSSION

         I. De Novo ...


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