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Aguilar v. Paramo

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 20, 2017

HECTOR RAFAEL AGUILAR, Petitioner,
v.
DANIEL PARAMO, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          WILLIAM H. ORRICK United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Petitioner Hector Rafael Aguilar seeks federal habeas relief from his state convictions on the ground that the charges were barred by the Ex Post Facto Clause. Because there is evidence he committed sufficient prohibited acts within the statute of limitations, his claim lacks merit. His petition for habeas relief is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2013, a Santa Clara County Superior Court jury convicted Aguilar of 21 charges arising from his sexual abuse of his two stepdaughters.[1] Only the convictions for lewd and lascivious behavior against victim one (Elysse Doe) are at issue here.

         Victim one testified at trial:

[Victim one] testified that Aguilar began molesting her in 1996. From the time the molestation began in 1996 until victim one moved out of the house in 2004, Aguilar touched her ‘at least . . . once a day.' In March 2000, when victim one was 14 years old, the family moved from San Jose to Los Banos. Victim one testified that while they were living in Los Banos Aguilar touched her breasts ‘every day' in the morning before he left for work ‘and again ‘when he would get home.' On cross-examination, victim one acknowledged that in 2003 and 2004 Aguilar sometimes stayed overnight at his mother's house. She further acknowledged that she stayed with her grandparents for a couple of weeks in the summers and sometimes on weekends and holidays.

(Ans., Ex. 4, Dkt. No. 10-9 at 3 (State Appellate Opinion, People v. Aguilar, No. H040199, 2015 WL 1951856 (Cal.Ct.App. Apr. 30, 2015) (unpublished)).)

         Aguilar was convicted and sentenced to 255 years in state prison. (Id. at 2-3.) His efforts to overturn his convictions in state court were unsuccessful. This federal habeas petition followed. As grounds for federal habeas relief, Aguilar alleges that (1) his conviction violated the Ex Post Facto Clause because the alleged acts were committed outside the statute of limitations; and (2) defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under 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).

         “Under 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 indistinguishable facts.” Williams (Terry) v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000).

         “Under the ‘unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the] Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.” Id. at 413. “[A] federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly. Rather, that application must also be unreasonable.” Id. at 411. A federal habeas court making the “unreasonable ...


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