United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a California state prisoner proceeding pro se with an
application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. The action proceeds on the petition filed on
August 12, 2014, ECF No. 1, which challenges petitioner's
2012 conviction for domestic violence offenses. Respondent
has answered, ECF No. 13, and petitioner has filed a
traverse, ECF No. 15. Petitioner seeks relief on the sole
ground that his rights under the Confrontation Clause were
violated by the admission of statements made to a responding
police officer by the non-testifying complainant.
Proceedings In the Trial Court
was charged in Sacramento County Superior Court with (1)
inflicting corporal injury on a cohabitant in violation of
Cal. Penal Code § 273.5(a); (2) assault with a deadly
weapon in violation of Cal. Penal Code § 245(a)(1); (3)
false imprisonment in violation of Cal. Penal Code §
236; and (4) brandishing a firearm in violation of Cal. Penal
Code §417(a)(2). CT 21-23 (Amended Felony
the defense and the prosecution filed motions regarding the
admissibility of statements the complaining witness had made
to a responding police officer. CT 135-45 (prosecution trial
brief and motions in limine); CT 147-58 (defense trial brief
and motions in limine). The prosecution was unable to locate
the victim for purposes of trial, and sought to present the
testimony of the officer regarding her statements. CT 139.
The trial court conducted a hearing pursuant to Cal. Evid.
Code § 402, at which Officer Daguman testified. RT
19-55.The court ruled that the victim's
statements were admissible as spontaneous statements, and
that their admission would not violate defendant's rights
under the Confrontation Clause because the statements were
made in an emergency situation. RT 48-49 (finding no
trial commenced on April 23, 2012. CT 133.
The Evidence Presented At Trial
Manganaan testified that he was sitting outside a
neighbor's open garage on the evening of July 23, 2011,
when a young woman came running up asking for help. The
petitioner was chasing her in his car. The woman said
“Help me, help me” and “Call the
cop[s].” Petitioner stopped his car and got out. He
appeared angry, and the woman was crying and seemed
frightened. She said “He's gonna kill me.”
The witness did not want to involve himself by calling 911,
but did so after the woman repeatedly asked him to. A
recording of the 911 call was played for the jury. Mr.
Manganaan did not see any violence by petitioner against the
woman, or hear any threats.
Rodjard Daguman, of the Elk Grove Police Department,
testified that he responded on the evening of July 23 to a
call regarding a domestic disturbance on Jenny Lynn Way.
Officers were already on the scene when he arrived, and he
was informed that one of the involved parties was being
detained. Officer Daguman spoke to Shoua Yang, who was
sitting in the open garage of a neighbor. Ms. Yang had been
crying and appeared afraid. She had bruises and scratches all
over her face, and bruises were also visible on her arms,
legs, knees, shoulders and back. Photographs of Ms.
Yang's injuries were introduced into evidence. Ms. Yang
told Officer Daguman that one bruise had been caused by
petitioner hitting her with a metal pole. Another injury was
the result of petitioner grabbing her by the bra strap and
trying to rip her bra off.
Yang's account to Officer Daguman was not chronological
or cohesive. She was crying, speaking fast, and “all
over the place” in recounting what was going on between
herself and the petitioner. Officer Daguman thought that she
was probably under the influence of methamphetamine, but she
responded appropriately to questions and her answers made
Yang said that she had been in a dating relationship with
petitioner for two years, and had lived with him for about a
year. The incident that precipitated the 911 call on July 23
began when Yang entered the garage of their house, where
petitioner was. Petitioner called Yang over, but she refused
to go to him. Petitioner became angry, walked over to Yang,
grabbed her by the shoulder and tried to choke her. Ms. Yang
broke away and left the house. She returned later, and as she
approached the house petitioner came after her. When she saw
him she fled in the other direction, to the neighbor's
incident involving her bra strap had occurred three days
earlier. On that previous evening petitioner had also hit her
over the back of the head and shoulders with two wooden
chairs. Ms. Yang reported that on numerous occasions
petitioner had used handcuffs to secure her against her will
to a car seat or other auto parts that were inside the house.
Petitioner had also struck her with a fist on numerous
occasions. On the night of July 22, petitioner had hit her
with a metal pole. That same night, she was wakened from
sleep by petitioner using a 12-inch knife to slash into the
bed where she was sleeping. Photographs of the mattress were
entered into evidence. Ms. Yang said that petitioner had
pointed a gun at her on both the 20th and the
22nd. On an unspecified date or dates, petitioner
had told her that if she left the residence or called the
police, he would kill her. Ms. Yang feared for her safety.
She said that there were guns and a machete in the house.
point after initially speaking with Ms. Yang, Officer Daguman
went into petitioner's residence and saw car parts
including bumpers and bucket seats in the family room.
Handcuffs were found in the bedroom that petitioner shared
with Yang. Officers also found a metal pole, firearms, a
knife, and a machete.
Brandon Holly testified that when he arrived at the Jenny
Lynn Way address, petitioner was being detained by other
officers on the sidewalk outside the house. Petitioner was
placed into the patrol vehicle immediately upon his arrival.
Officer Holly made contact with petitioner, and Officer
Daguman talked to Shoua Yang. It was Officer Holly's
impression that Ms. Yang was possibly under the influence of
methamphetamine and that petitioner, who was calm, was
possibly “coming down.” Ms. Yang gave permission
for Officer Holly to search the residence. In various
locations within the house he found two handguns, ammunition,
a “samurai style knife, ” a machete, handcuffs,
and a metal pole. Ms. Yang said that petitioner had hit her
on the back and shoulders with the metal pole. She identified
one of the handguns as the gun petitioner had pointed at her.
Holly questioned petitioner as he sat in the back of the
patrol vehicle. After waiving his Miranda rights, petitioner
said that he and Ms. Yang had lived together at the house for
seven or eight months, and both used methamphetamine on a
regular basis. Petitioner said that Ms. Yang had videotaped
him and lied to him, and that he had responded on numerous
occasions by hitting, slapping, punching and handcuffing her.
He admitted having pointed a gun at her many times. He stated
repeatedly that he loved Ms. Yang and had not been trying her
hurt her on these occasions, but was just trying to get her
to talk to him. Ms. Yang never fought back or physically
assaulted him. Petitioner said that on the previous night he
had hit Ms. Yang, stabbed the bed next to where she was
lying, and handcuffed her to a chair against her will. He
said that he was not trying to hurt her, but was trying to
scare her so that she would talk to him. He had pointed a
loaded gun at her on the previous night, but did not recall
whether he made verbal threats. A week earlier he had
threatened to kill her if she ever left him. He denied
striking her with the metal pole. He stated that on the day
of July 23 there had been no altercation, but that Ms. Yang
had run out of the house and he had tried to get her to come
Yang did not testify.
father, Bien Lam, testified that in July of 2011 he was
living part-time with petitioner and Ms. Yang in the house on
Jenny Lynn Way. He never witnessed any violence between
petitioner and Ms. Yang, or saw him restrain her with
handcuffs. He never heard any threats, and Ms. Yang never
told him that she was being hurt. Sometimes the elder Mr. Lam
would find Ms. Yang crying, but she would not tell him why.
Sometimes she talked out loud to herself as if she was
talking to another person, but no one was there.
April 27, 2012, the jury found petitioner guilty on all
counts. CT 234-35. Judgment and sentence were pronounced on
August 8, 2012. CT 274. Petitioner was sentenced to a prison
term of five years and four months. Id.
timely appealed, and the California Court of Appeal affirmed
the judgment of conviction on December 10, 2013. Lodged Doc.
7. The California Supreme Court denied review on April 9,
2014. Lodged Doc. 11. The instant federal petition, dated
April 28, 2014, was docketed on August 12, 2014. ECF No. 1.
GOVERNING HABEAS RELIEF UNDER THE AEDPA
U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”),
provides in relevant part as follows:
(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the 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;
(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.
statute applies whenever the state court has denied a federal
claim on its merits, whether or not the state court explained
its reasons. Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770,
785 (2011). State court rejection of a federal claim will be
presumed to have been on the merits absent any indication or
state-law procedural principles to the contrary. Id.
at 784-785 (citing Harris v. Reed, 489 U.S. 255, 265
(1989) (presumption of a merits determination when it is
unclear whether a decision appearing to rest on federal
grounds was decided on another basis)). ...