United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
William Alsup United States District Judge
a California prisoner, filed this pro se petition for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. He claims that
(1) an incorrect instruction on self-defense violated his
right to due process; and (2) the prosecution relied on his
post-Miranda silence as proof of guilt. Respondent
filed an answer with a supporting memorandum and exhibits,
and petitioner filed a traverse. All of these papers have
been considered, and for the reasons discussed below, the
petition is Denied.
2012, a jury in Santa Clara County convicted petitioner of
voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. He
was acquitted on charges of murder and attempted premeditated
murder. The trial court sentenced him to a total term of 12
years in state prison. His appeals to the California Court of
Appeal and the California Supreme Court were denied. This
federal habeas petition followed.
following background facts are based upon the facts set forth
in the last explained state court opinion, People v.
Delgado, 2015 WL 3830345 (Cal.Ct.App. June 22, 2015)
(Resp. Exh. F), and they are reasonably supported by the
April 26, 2009 at approximately 12:30 p.m., petitioner, and
his two co-defendants Joseph Correa and Ralph Ojeda, went to
the apartment complex at 711 Northrup Street in San Jose to
confront Hamilton Hyatt over allegations that he had
“choked, ” “pushed, ” and
“cussed out” petitioner's sister, Rachel
Duran (id. at 9). Hyatt and Duran were in a
long-term relationship, and had gotten into a physical
altercation the night before.
they arrived, Correa offered to go up to the apartment with
petitioner. Petitioner replied, "No. It's cool.
I'm just going to talk to him" (id. at 10).
Correa handed petitioner a knife telling him to take it,
"just in case" (ibid.). Petitioner went to
Hyatt's sister's apartment, but Hyatt was not there.
Before the three men left, Hyatt arrived in a car with
several men. Petitioner testified that the men jumped out of
the vehicle and ran towards him. Petitioner pulled out the
knife and waved it around to keep them away, but not to stab
and Hyatt began to argue over the incident. Hyatt called
Duran a "lying ass ho" (ibid.). Petitioner
testified that he got angry that Hyatt insulted his sister,
so he “ran at” Hyatt (ibid.). He was not
intending to stab Hyatt, but the knife was still in his hand
as he chased him. Petitioner caught Hyatt by the shirt when,
according to petitioner, he felt someone punch him in the
back of the head. Petitioner let go of Hyatt, turned around,
and saw a man he did not recognize holding what appeared to
be a small baseball bat. Hyatt said that he saw his cousin
Michael Hazard come “the other way kicking, like a
ninja kick, a karate kick in the air” (id. at
5). Petitioner reacted by swinging the knife towards the
"big blur" that had kicked him (id. at
10-11). Petitioner then saw Hazard on the ground. Hazard, who
had been stabbed in the neck by the knife, jumped up, ran
back to the car, and started driving toward a nearby
hospital. During this time, petitioner, Correa, and Ojeda ran
back to their car. According to Correa, petitioner sounded
panicked and said, “I think I stabbed somebody”
(id. at 12).
and his friends found Hazard unconscious a short distance
away. The paramedics arrived and pronounced Hazard dead at
the scene. Sometime later at Ojeda's apartment,
petitioner learned that Hazard had died.
approximately 11:00 p.m., Sergeant Heather Randol stopped a
vehicle driven by Ojeda. As a result of the stop, Randol and
three officers went to Ojeda's apartment to conduct a
parole search. Petitioner and Correa were both at the
apartment when they arrived. Petitioner identified himself to
Randol as “Floyd Munoz” (id. at 18). At
that time, none of the officers knew that petitioner, Correa,
or Ojeda were suspects in Hazard's death.
following morning, Sergeant Randol discovered that
“Floyd Munoz” was Floyd Delgado and that he was a
homicide suspect. Detective Brian Spears and two other
officers went back to Ojeda's apartment that day and