Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Negrete v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 31, 2017

MANUEL NEGRETE, Petitioner,
v.
RONALD DAVIS, Warden, San Quentin State Prison, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

          JAMES K. SINGLETON, JR. Senior United States District Judge

         Manuel Negrete, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus with this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Negrete is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. Respondent has answered, and Negrete has replied.

         I. BACKGROUND/PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

         On March 8, 2012, Negrete was charged with attempted premeditated murder (Count 1); aggravated mayhem (Count 2); two counts of assault likely to cause great bodily injury (Counts 3 and 5); and battery with serious bodily injury (Count 4) in connection with a bar fight involving many participants. The information further alleged that Negrete personally inflicted great bodily injury resulting in brain injury or paralysis with respects to counts 3 and 4. On May 5, 2012, Negrete proceeded to a jury trial. On direct appeal of his conviction, the California Court of Appeal laid out the following facts underlying this case and the evidence presented at trial:

In June 2011 [Negrete] went to the Last Call bar. At the bar [Negrete] tried to buy a drink for another bar patron, Jessenia Isordia. After she refused his offer, [Negrete] punched her in the face and called her a bitch.
The bar bouncer witnessed the attack and testified [Negrete] punched Isordia twice in the face with his closed fist. The bouncer led [Negrete] out of the bar. About 20 bar patrons followed [Negrete] outside and a fight broke out.
As the fight raged, Angel Martinez made his way through the melee. Someone hit Martinez with a “haymaker” punch, knocking him unconscious. The man began to stomp on the prone Martinez. A bouncer at the bar and another bar patron testified that [Negrete] joined the attacker and repeatedly stomped Martinez in the face with his heel. [Negrete] then kicked Martinez in the face with powerful “field goal”-style kicks. Martinez remained unconscious, unable to respond or defend himself. Following the beating, Martinez was in a coma for at least five days and remained hospitalized for a month and a half, suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
During the brawl, Arta Rusch was pushed to the center of the melee. [Negrete] punched Rusch in the face with a “haymaker punch” and knocked her out. Afterward, [Negrete] made eye contact with one of the bar patrons, threw his hands in the air, and shouted, “Come get some.” He then fled on foot.
After witnesses described [Negrete] to police officers, the officers detained him. [Negrete] was intoxicated, had blood around his left eye, and had a cut under his lip.
Defense
[Negrete] testified in his own behalf. He stated he went to the Last Call bar to celebrate his birthday with his girlfriend and her sister. [Negrete] drank “a few” beers before he arrived and had at least six or seven mixed drinks while at the bar.
[Negrete] denied tangling with anyone inside the bar but testified he accidentally bumped into a woman as he left. Although he apologized, the woman became upset, swore at him, and began to fight with [Negrete's] girlfriend.
The bar bouncer broke up the fight and escorted them out of the bar. Once outside, someone “sucker punched” [Negrete], and he fought back to defend himself. [Negrete] continued to fight until an officer stopped him. During the brawl, [Negrete's] girlfriend was by his side, fighting with another woman.
[Negrete] testified he did not kick or stomp on anyone. He had no physical contact with Martinez, nor did he strike Rusch or Isordia. Isordia could have been the woman fighting with [Negrete's] girlfriend in the bar.
Verdict and Sentence The jury found [Negrete] guilty of counts 2, 3, and 4. The jury also found true the great bodily injury allegations as to counts 3 and 4. The jury found [Negrete] not guilty of count 5, but guilty of the lesser included offense of misdemeanor assault. After the jury could not reach a verdict on count 1, the trial court declared a mistrial and dismissed the charge.
The trial court sentenced [Negrete] to life in prison with the possibility of parole on count 2, four years on count 3, and four years on count 4, plus an additional five years each on counts 3 and 4 under the infliction of a brain injury enhancements (former § 12022.7, subd. (b)) and an additional three years each on counts 3 and 4 under the infliction of great bodily injury enhancements (former § 12022.7, subd. (a)). The court then stayed sentence on counts 3 and 4 under section 654. The court imposed 180 days' time served on count 5. In addition, the trial court imposed several fines, including a $240 restitution fine.

People v. Negrete, No. C071519, 2014 WL 413060, at *1-2 (Cal.Ct.App. Feb. 3, 2014).

         Through counsel, Negrete appealed his conviction, arguing that: 1) the aggravated mayhem conviction was not supported by legally sufficient evidence because the prosecution failed to prove that Negrete had the specific intent to maim; 2) the great-bodily-injury enhancements in counts 3 and 4 were not supported by legally sufficient evidence because the prosecution failed to prove it was impossible to determine which act by which aggressor resulted in the great bodily injury and thus the group beating exception did not apply; 3) the trial court erred by instructing the jury with CALCRIM Nos. 3160 and 3161, which were not supported by the evidence and incorrectly stated the law applicable to the case; 4) the great-bodily-injury enhancement in Count 4 should be vacated because great bodily injury is an element of the crime of battery resulting in serious bodily injury; 5) the court erred in imposing two great-bodily-injury enhancements on Count 3, in violation of state law; and 6) the trial court's imposition of a $240 restitution fine violated the ex post facto clause and Negrete's right to due process. The prosecution conceded that Negrete was correct with respect to two of the claims challenging the great-bodily-injury enhancements imposed on Counts 3 and 4 (claims 4 and 5), but otherwise opposed the appeal. In a reasoned, unpublished opinion issued on February 4, 2017, the Court of Appeal modified the abstract of judgment to correct the enhancements imposed on Counts 3 and 4 but unanimously affirmed the judgment in all other respects. Negrete, 2014 WL 413060, at *5-6. Negrete petitioned for review in the California Supreme Court, raising the four claims he unsuccessfully raised before the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court denied the petition for review without comment on April 9, 2014.

         Negrete then filed in the California Superior Court a pro se petition for habeas relief. In that petition, he argued that: 1) the evidence presented was insufficient to prove aggravated mayhem; 2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to assert imperfect self defense; and 3) trial counsel was ineffective for “fail[ing] to request the trial court to ‘further instruct' his jury on imperfect self-defense.” The superior court denied the petition in an unpublished, reasoned opinion issued on April 23, 2015. Negrete raised the same claims in a pro se habeas petition in the California Supreme Court, which was summarily denied on April 29, 2015.

         While his state habeas petitions were pending, Negrete timely filed a pro se Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to this Court on March 23, 2015. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).

         II. GROUNDS/CLAIMS

         In his pro se Petition before this Court, Negrete argues that: 1) the evidence presented by the prosecution was legally insufficient to sustain his aggravated mayhem conviction; 2) the prosecution failed to prove the applicability of the group beating exception to personal infliction findings and thus the evidence was insufficient to sustain the jury's findings of personal infliction of great bodily injury; 3) the imposition of his $240 restitution fine violated the ex post facto clause and his right to due process because the court imposed the minimum under a statute amended after he committed his offense; and 4) his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to assert an imperfect self defense for aggravated mayhem.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), this Court cannot grant relief unless the decision of the state court was “contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, ” § 2254(d)(1), or “was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding, ” § 2254(d)(2). A state-court decision is contrary to federal law if the state court applies a rule that contradicts controlling Supreme Court authority or “if the state court confronts a set ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.