United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: (1) OVERRULING PETITIONER'S OBJECTIONS;
(2) ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; AND (3) DENYING
PETITIONER'S PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (ECF NOS.
6, 26, 28)
Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge.
before the Court are: (1) Petitioner Hector Pablo
Molina's First Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus, (“FAP”, ECF No. 6); (2) Magistrate Judge
Mitchell D. Dembin's Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) advising that the Court deny
Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, (ECF No.
26); and (3) Petitioner's Objections to the R&R
(“Objs. to R&R”, ECF No. 28). Respondent did
not file a reply to Petitioner's Objections. Having
considered the facts and the law, the Court (1) OVERRULES
Petitioner's Objections, (2) ADOPTS the R&R in its
entirety, and (3) DENIES Petitioner's Petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus.
Dembin's R&R contains a thorough and accurate
recitation of the factual and procedural histories underlying
the instant Petition for Writ of Habeas corpus. (See
R&R 2-8,  ECF No. 26.) This Order incorporates by
reference the background as set forth therein.
Review of Report and Recommendation
Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)
set forth a district court's duties regarding a
magistrate judge's report and recommendation. The
district court “shall make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report . . . to which objection is
made, ” and “may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c);
see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667,
673-76 (1980). In the absence of a timely objection, however,
“the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory
committee's note (citing Campbell v. U.S. Dist.
Court, 510 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974)).
Review of Habeas Corpus Petitions Under 28 U.S.C. §
Petition is governed by the provisions of the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”). See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S.
320 (1997). Under AEDPA, a habeas petition will not be
granted with respect to any claim adjudicated on the merits
by the state court unless that adjudication: (1) resulted in
a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of clearly established federal law; or (2)
resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
at the state court proceeding. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d);
Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 7-8 (2002).
§ 2254(d)(1), federal law must be “clearly
established” in order to support a habeas claim.
Clearly established federal law “refers to the
holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of [the United States
Supreme] Court's decisions . . . .” Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000). A state court's
decision may be “contrary to” clearly established
Supreme Court precedent “if the state court applies a
rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [the
Court's] cases” or “if the state court
confronts a set of facts that are materially
indistinguishable from a decision of [the] Court and
nevertheless arrives at a result different from [the
Court's] precedent.” Id. at 406. A state
court decision does not have to demonstrate an awareness of
clearly established Supreme Court precedent, provided neither
the reasoning nor the result of the state court decision
contradict such precedent. Early, 537 U.S. at 8.
court decision involves an “unreasonable
application” of Supreme Court precedent “if the
state court identifies the correct governing legal rule from
this Court's cases but unreasonably applies it to the
facts of the particular state prisoner's case.”
Williams, 529 U.S. at 407. An unreasonable
application may also be found “if the state court
either unreasonably extends a legal principle from [Supreme
Court] precedent to a new context where it should not apply
or unreasonably refuses to extend that principle to a new
context where it should apply.” Id.;
Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003);
Clark v. Murphy, 331 F.3d 1062, 1067 (9th Cir.
under the “unreasonable application” clause of
§ 2254(d) is available “if, and only if, it is so
obvious that a clearly established rule applies to a given
set of facts that there could be no ‘fairminded
disagreement' on the question.” White v.
Woodall, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1706-07 (2014) (quoting
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86 (2011)). An
unreasonable application of federal law requires the state
court decision to be more than incorrect or erroneous.
Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 76 (2003). Instead,
the state court's application must be “objectively
unreasonable.” Id.; Miller-El v.
Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 340 (2003). Even if a petitioner
can satisfy § 2254(d), the petitioner must still
demonstrate a constitutional violation. Fry v.
Pliler, 551 U.S. 112, 119-22 (2007).
courts review the last reasoned decision from the state
courts. See Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 805-06
(1991); Hibbler v. Benedetti, 693 F.3d 1140, 1145-46
(9th Cir. 2012). In deciding a state prisoner's habeas
petition, a federal court is not called upon to decide
whether it agrees with the state court's determination;
rather, the court applies an extraordinarily deferential
review, inquiring only whether the state court's decision
was objectively unreasonable. See Yarborough v.
Gentry, 540 U.S. 1, 4 (2003); Medina v.
Hornung, 386 F.3d 872, 877 (9th Cir. 2004). The
petitioner must establish that “the state court's
ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so
lacking in justification that there was an error . . . beyond
any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Burt
v. Titlow, 134 S.Ct. 10, 16 (2013) (citation omitted).
It is not within a federal habeas court's province
“to reexamine state court determinations on state-law
questions.” Hayes v. Ayers, 632 F.3d 500, 517
(9th Cir. 2011) (citing and quoting Estelle v.
McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991)).
§ 2254 authorizes habeas relief where the state
court's adjudication of a claim “resulted in a
decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of
the facts in light of the evidence presented in state
court.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2). This provision
requires the petitioner to demonstrate by clear and
convincing evidence that the factual findings upon which the
state court's adjudication of his claims rest are
objectively unreasonable. Miller-El, 537 U.S. at
Summary of the R&R Conclusion
Dembin recommends that the Court deny the Petition in its
entirety. (R&R 1, ECF No. 26.) The Petition contains two
claims for relief. (Id. at 9 (citing FAP 6-7, ECF
No. 6).) First, Petitioner contends that the trial court
erred by failing to disclose the full substance of Melvin
Breaux's investigation, which also violated the
prosecutor's Brady obligations. (Id.)
Second, Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by
denying Petitioner's motion to dismiss, which claimed
that the arresting officers should have preserved his blood
alcohol level (“BAC”) by taking a blood sample at
the time of his arrest. (Id.) Judge Dembin