United States District Court, E.D. California
LEONARD P. RODRIGUEZ, Petitioner,
SHAWN HATTON, Warden, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS ORDER DECLINING TO ISSUE CERTIFICATE
OF APPEALABILITY ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO ENTER
JUDGMENT AND CLOSE CASE
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is currently in the custody of the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation serving an 8 year sentence for
his 2013 conviction of inflicting corporal injury, false
imprisonment by violence, dissuading a witness, and second
degree robbery. In this action, Petitioner claims: 1) There
was insufficient evidence that the victim suffered a corporal
injury that resulted in a traumatic condition; 2) Petitioner
was prejudiced by the admission of evidence; 3) The
conviction was obtained by use of perjured testimony by the
prosecution; and 4) Defense counsel rendered ineffective
assistance. The Court disagrees and will DENY the petition.
was convicted in the Fresno County Superior Court on January
18, 2013, of inflicting corporal injury (Cal. Penal Code
§ 273.5(a)), false imprisonment by violence (Cal. Penal
Code § 236), dissuading a witness by force or threat
(Cal. Penal Code § 136.1(c)(1)), and second degree
robbery (Cal. Penal Code § 211). People v.
Rodriguez, 2014 WL 4723434, *1 (Cal.Ct.App. 2014). He
was sentenced to a total determinate term of eight years.
appealed to the California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate
District (“Fifth DCA”). The Fifth DCA affirmed
the judgment on September 23, 2014. Id. Petitioner
then filed a petition for review in the California Supreme
Court. The petition was summarily denied on December 10,
2014. (LD 12.)
next filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in Fresno
County Superior Court. On March 19, 2015, the petition was
denied. (LD 15.) He then filed a habeas petition in the Fifth
DCA. That petition was denied on April 23, 2015. (LD 17.)
Last, he filed a habeas petition in the California Supreme
Court, and that petition was denied on December 16, 2015. (LD
February 9, 2016, Petitioner filed this petition for writ of
habeas corpus in this Court. (Doc. No. 1). The parties have
consented to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge.
Respondent filed an answer on May 10, 2016. (Doc. No. 16).
Petitioner did not file a traverse.
Court adopts the Statement of Facts in the Fifth DCA's
Antoinette Ramirez (a.k.a. Antoinette Garcia) has been a
correctional officer for years. She and defendant have two
children together. At one point, Ramirez and defendant lived
together for several weeks. [Footnote] Ramirez and defendant
broke up in March 2012.
September 3, 2012
On the morning of September 3, 2012, defendant called Ramirez
and asked if she could take him to the store and then to
lunch. Ramirez was seven months pregnant at the time. She
brought her son along to pick up defendant at Roeding Park,
where he lived. [FN.5]
[FN.5] Defendant was homeless at the time.
Around noon, defendant rented a motel room. At some point,
Ramirez took her son home and returned to the motel room.
That evening, Ramirez took a shower in the motel room. During
Ramirez's shower, defendant began accusing her of
“being with” someone else. Ramirez believed
defendant was intoxicated or impaired in some fashion.
Ramirez “didn't want to hear it” so she got
out of the shower, got dressed and said she was going home.
[FN.6] Ramirez began gathering her “items” near a
sink outside the bathroom. Defendant said,
“[Y]ou're not going anywhere, you're staying
here.” Defendant pushed her into the bathroom. [FN.7]
Ramirez said she was calling the police. Defendant told
Ramirez, “‘You're not gonna do shit, I'm
gonna punch you in your stomach, you're not walking out
of here.'” Defendant and Ramirez “were
struggling in the bathroom” as Ramirez attempted to
call the police and defendant tried to take the phone away.
Ramirez told defendant to stop. Defendant began
“banging” Ramirez's hand on the tub to knock
the phone out of her grasp. Her phone fell into the tub.
Throughout their “struggle, ” defendant
“constantly” said, “[Y]ou're not going
anywhere, ” or some variation of that phrase. Ramirez
pulled out her Taser and tased defendant. Defendant fell to
the floor, and Ramirez “took off running out the
[FN.6] She told defendant three or four times that she wanted
[FN.7] Ramirez qualified this testimony saying defendant
“[p]retty much” pushed her “[p]retty
much” with his chest.
Eventually, defendant came out of the room and ran down
stairs towards the motel office where Ramirez was. Ramirez
pointed the Taser gun at him, and he ran past the motel room
to an exit. Ramirez went back to the hotel room and looked
for her cell phone but could not find it. Eventually, a
police officer contacted Ramirez at the motel.
At around 9:30 p.m., Officer Cory Hastings began canvassing
nearby areas. He was initially unable to locate defendant. At
about 1:40 a.m. the next morning, Hastings saw defendant
walking on a sidewalk. Defendant saw Hastings and ran into
the parking lot of a nearby motel. Hastings found defendant
sitting down, apparently trying to hide behind a vehicle.
Defendant smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred, and his
eyes were red and watery.
Officer Hastings arrested defendant and searched him. He
located a phone in defendant's shorts pocket. Hastings
had another officer call Ramirez's number. When he did
so, the phone found on defendant rang. Hastings answered the
call and was connected to the other officer. At that point,
defendant yelled out, “That bitch has my phone, so I
took” her phone.
During their struggle in the motel room, defendant had
“head butt[ed]” Ramirez four or five times. The
“head butts” hurt Ramirez and she “felt it
later.” Specifically, Ramirez felt a knot on her head,
though it was not visible. She did not go to the hospital and
returned to work the next day. An officer who responded to
the scene did not observe any visible injuries on Ramirez.
The motel clerk was asked whether he saw any bruises or cuts
on Ramirez, and he answered: “I just seen
[sic] her crying that's all.”
Ramirez wrote a letter stating she did not want to
“press charges” against defendant. Ramirez did
not want defendant prosecuted because she loved him, he is
the father of her children, and he's “a good
person” when he is sober.
April 15, 2010 Incident
Ramirez testified to a prior incident that occurred on April
15, 2010. She and defendant were dating at the time.
Defendant came to visit her some time after 9:00 p.m.
Defendant, who was intoxicated, wanted to come into
Ramirez's home, but she would not let him. He said he
would drink a beer on her porch and then leave. Ramirez
eventually checked outside to see if defendant had left. She
saw that her vehicle's windshield “had a brick
through it, ” and that her mirrors had been broken.
Ramirez walked down to the street to where defendant's
friend lived. Defendant was outside the residence, and
Ramirez asked him whether he broke her windshield. Defendant
became angry. It looked to Ramirez as if defendant was going
to throw something at her so she “took off.”
Defendant approached her car “like he was gonna throw
something” at it. Ramirez “accidentally stepped
on the gas trying to get away, and accidentally ran him
over.” Ramirez was given a citation but no charges were
filed in connection with the incident.
February 12, 2011, Incident
On February 12, 2011, an Officer Eloy Escareno was dispatched
on reports of a “disturbance with a male who refused to
leave the location.” When Escareno arrived, Ramirez was
upset because defendant had come to her house and was
“very belligerent, was drunk, was loud.” After at
least 10 minutes, a fire engine arrived with its lights and
sirens activated. The fire captain told Escareno that they
had received a 911 call that a child was having difficulty
breathing. Escareno called dispatch to learn what phone
number had placed the 911 call. Escareno confirmed with
Ramirez that the phone number belonged to defendant. Escareno
then used Ramirez's cell phone to call defendant. A male
answered and said, “‘Ha ha ha, I got you, bitch.
Now I'm gonna get you in trouble.'” The male
continued to talk and laugh, but Escareno did not recall what
the male spoke about. The male then hung up. Escareno waited
a couple minutes and called the number again. The male said,
“F**k you, bitch, f**k you.” Escareno then
identified himself as a police officer. The male said
Escareno “had nothing on him” and
“couldn't do anything to him.” The male then
said, “F**k you, come get me if you can find me.”
Escareno was unable to locate defendant.
June 2011 Incidents
On June 1, 2011, Ramirez called 911. An officer responded and
Ramirez was given an emergency protective order against
On June 3, 2011, defendant left several voicemails for
Ramirez. In one message, defendant said, “When I catch
you, I'm going to f**k you up.” In another,
defendant said, “I'm a crazy mother f**king
[M]exican.” Ramirez called law enforcement and had
defendant served with a temporary restraining order.
On June 4, 2011, Ramirez again called police because she
interpreted certain voicemails from defendant to be threats
against her children.
Ramirez was “pretty sure” defendant left further
voicemails on her phone around June 19, 2011.
Defendant pled no contest to charges of making criminal
threats (Pen. Code, § 422) “in connection with
events alleged to have occurred on June 19th, 2011....”
Ramirez had not wanted defendant prosecuted.
Sometime around June 2011, [FN.8] Ramirez had video
surveillance equipment installed at her home. The system
recorded defendant throwing a brick through Ramirez's
front window on June 30, 2011. The system also recorded
defendant pulling Ramirez's pool sweep out of the water
and throwing it over a fence.
[FN.8] When asked if she installed the video surveillance in
June, Ramirez said, “Um, probably, yes.”
Ramirez also testified that on a day in February 2012,
defendant was watching their son while Ramirez was at work.
Ramirez's mother called her at work and said defendant
sounded like he had been drinking. Ramirez left work and came
home to find beer bottles around the house. She asked
defendant to leave, but he did not want to. Ramirez told
defendant that she was going to call the police. Defendant
left the home, so Ramirez “cancelled with” the
police. Ramirez went outside to move her car because she did
not want defendant “to go mess up my car.” As she
was moving her car, defendant approached her angrily and
began cussing at her. Ramirez felt threatened so she tased
him. Defendant apologized and said he would leave. Ramirez
disconnected the Taser prongs, and defendant left.
April 13, 2012, Incident
On the morning of April 13, 2012, Officer Manuel Robles
responded to a report that an adult male was possibly high on
methamphetamine. Robles contacted a female on scene who told
him that “nothing was going on, ” and defendant
was probably making the calls. Robles went inside the home
and confirmed that “there was nothing going on.”
Ramirez said she wanted to file charges against defendant.
Officer Robles called the number that had made the false
emergency call. A male answered the phone and eventually
admitted he was “Leonard Rodriguez” (defendant).
Robles told him the number had been used to make a false
police report and to violate a restraining order. Defendant
said he didn't “give a f**k.” Defendant also
said “he knows that he's in violation for calling
the female, but the female calls him, she picks him up”
so “he's gonna continue to violate the restraining
order if the female wants him around.” Defendant said
“he's the one that made the false police calls ...
to cause problems against the victim because he wanted to see
July 2012 Incidents
On July 5, 2012, Ramirez contacted law enforcement because
defendant was harassing her at work. Defendant would call
Ramirez and curse repeatedly.
On July 14, 2012, officers responded to Ramirez's home on
a report of shots fired. Officers arrived with guns drawn.
Ramirez told them “there's nothing going on.”
The officers did “a quick sweep and left.”
On July 17, 2012, defendant called 911 saying he was in
Ramirez's house tied up in the garage. Officers arrived
and Ramirez explained to them that this had “been
happening all week.”
On July 21, 2012, officers again responded to Ramirez's
home. Ramirez testified: “I guess [defendant] was
saying my son was smoking and smoking.” Later that
night, an officer was informed by dispatch that defendant had
been located and stopped. The officer went to defendant and
observed he was slurring speech, smelled of alcohol, was
acting belligerently, and had red eyes and an unsteady gait.
The number of a cell phone found on defendant's person
matched the number that had been placing the false emergency
Defendant was convicted of falsely reporting an emergency
(Pen. Code, § 148.3, subd. (a)) after pleading no
Marriage and Family Therapist
A licensed marriage and family therapist testified as a
domestic violence expert for the prosecution. The expert
explained that victims often minimize what happened to them,
alcoholism increases the severity of the abuser's
violence and verbal assaults, and victims can testify with an
emotionless response because they become “numb”
in the course of developing “learned
Rodriguez, 2014 WL 4723434, at *1-4.
by way of a petition for writ of habeas corpus extends to a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court
if the custody is in violation of the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); 28
U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3); Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 375 n. 7 (2000). Petitioner asserts that he
suffered violations of his rights as guaranteed by the United
States Constitution. The challenged conviction arises out of