United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
WILLIAM H. ORRICK United States District Judge.
Jeremy Nelson Porter seeks federal habeas relief from his
state convictions on claims that (1) defense counsel rendered
ineffective assistance; (2) the trial court failed to reduce
his sentence; and (3) his due process right to a fair trial
was violated when the jury saw him in shackles and prison
clothing. None of these claims has merit. Accordingly, the
petition for habeas relief is DENIED.
2010, Porter shot Irma Flores to death in his car and then
deposited her corpse on the sidewalk. The State Appellate
Opinion describes what happened:
On the night of March 25-26, 2010, Flores and her cousins,
Christina and Stephanie, and their friends, Sandra, Anna, and
Carla, were returning from a club in Bay Point to their
Richmond homes in a van driven by Christina. They left the
club around 1:30 a.m. on March 26 . . . .
While they were stopped at a stoplight in Richmond at
approximately 2:00 a.m., a Buick driven by Porter pulled up
to the right side of Christina's van. Porter and his
passenger began talking to Flores and the other women in the
van. Christina drove away, but Porter followed. Christina
drove around the block, thought she had lost Porter, and then
stopped at Sandra's house, where Sandra, Anna, and Flores
got out. Flores told her friends she did not want to return
to her own apartment because her boyfriend [with whom she had
a ‘sketchy' and ‘rough' relationship] was
As Christina was driving away from Sandra's house, Porter
pulled up to the house in the Buick. Sandra and Anna went
into the house; Flores walked over to Porter's car and
began talking with him. Flores later came into the house and
asked Sandra to dial Porter's cell phone number because
he had misplaced his phone. Sandra used her sister's cell
phone to call Porter, and this number was later found stored
in Porter's phone. After Porter found his phone, Sandra
went back inside, and Flores stayed outside with Porter.
Flores later came inside again and talked to Sandra. Flores
was crying and said her boyfriend was going to hit her
because she had gone out. Sandra offered to let Flores sleep
at her house, but Flores went back outside. Sandra went
outside and saw Flores and Porter hugging and kissing. Flores
told Sandra that she was going to leave with Porter. After
failing to convince Flores to stay with her, Sandra went
inside. Sandra heard the doors of the Buick close and the
Later that morning, around 7:00 a.m., a substitute teacher on
her way to school discovered Flores's body on a sidewalk.
Flores had been shot twice in the face, once in the forehead
and once on the right side of her nose.
Richmond Police Officer Steve Harris, an expert in crime
scene investigations, examined the scene that morning. Based
on the blood spatter on the curb and on Flores's
clothing, the broken car glass found at the scene, and the
positioning of Flores's body, Harris concluded Flores was
shot while sitting inside a car at that location and was then
dragged outside. Harris located a bullet about six feet from
Flores's body. The flattened tip of the bullet was
consistent with hitting a glass window.
At the time of Flores's death in March 2010, Porter was
in a dating relationship with Taquoise Newberry. Newberry
testified pursuant to a use immunity agreement. Newberry
stated she and Porter purchased a Tec-9 firearm a few weeks
before Flores was killed.
Newberry testified that, around 4:30 a.m. on March 26, 2010,
the morning Flores was killed, Porter called Newberry and
said repeatedly, ‘I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I
fucked up.' Porter drove to the motel in Oakland where he
and Newberry were staying. Newberry saw that the passenger
side window of Porter's Buick was gone and there was
blood all over the car. Porter told Newberry he was in the
car that night with a woman he had met (Flores), who did not
want to get out of the car because she was afraid of her
boyfriend. Porter said he was not worried about her boyfriend
because he had a gun, which he showed to Flores. Porter told
Newberry the gun did not have the clip in, and he pointed the
gun at Flores and pulled the trigger. Porter said there must
have been a round in the chamber, because he fired one bullet
into Flores's face or head. Porter said the shooting was
an accident. Porter told Newberry he took Flores's body
out of the car and laid it on the ground.
[Porter then discarded the gun, a Tec-9 firearm which
Newberry and Porter had purchased a few weeks before Flores
was killed. The pair later retrieved the gun. Newberry wiped
the gun with bleach to remove any fingerprints and then
Porter sold the gun.] . . . .
Newberry threw Porter's bloody clothes in a dumpster. In
the Buick, she covered up the front seat and other bloody
areas with sheets and T-shirts. Newberry later attempted to
clean the car with bleach and other cleaning products.
Newberry wanted to burn the Buick, but Porter decided to
scrap it instead. A few days after Flores was killed, Porter
paid Maji Mosley, an automotive recycler, to scrap the car.
Mosley towed the car to Schnitzer Steel in Oakland to be
[The police retrieved the car after Newberry informed the
police, through an anonymous telephone call, that the car was
about to be destroyed. She had called police because in the
days after the killing, Porter had become more aggressive,
drank more, and tried to jump off a balcony.] . . . .
[An examination of the car yielded the following.] The front
passenger side window was missing, and there was a bullet
hole above the passenger side sun visor. There was blood on
the center console and on the right front door panel, which
had been removed. Harris also found a traffic ticket and
other paperwork in Porter's name, as well as a spent
nine-millimeter shell casing.
DNA testing of blood found inside Porter's car revealed a
DNA profile matching Flores's profile. A bullet fragment
found at the scene also had Flores's DNA on it.
In early April 2010, Newberry made additional calls to the
Richmond Police Department and provided more information,
including identifying Porter as a suspect. Newberry told the
police Porter had told her he shot Flores accidentally;
Porter felt bad about what had happened and had nightmares
about it; but he would not come forward because he did not
think anyone would believe the shooting was an accident.
(Ans., Ex. 6 (State Appellate Opinion, People v.
Porter, No. A135565, 2014 WL 4080020 (Cal.Ct.App. Aug
19, 2014) (unpublished)) at 2-5.)
2012, a California Superior Court, County of Contra Costa
jury found Porter guilty of second degree murder and being a
felon in possession of a firearm. The trial court found true a
firearm sentencing enhancement. Based on his present and
prior convictions, Porter was sentenced to 60 years to life
in state prison. His efforts to overturn his conviction in
state court were unsuccessful. This federal habeas petition
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).
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 ...