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Carbajal v. Arnold

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 2, 2017

ANGEL CARBAJAL, Petitioner,
v.
ERIC ARNOLD, Warden, California State Prison, Solano, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

          JAMES K. SINGLETON, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Angel Carbajal, 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. Carbajal is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and incarcerated at California State Prison, Solano. Respondent has answered, and Carbajal has not replied.

         I. BACKGROUND/PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

         On September 25, 2012, the trial court granted, over defense counsel's objection, the prosecution's motion to consolidate charges from two complaints lodged against Carbajal. In a consolidated information, Carbajal was charged with two counts of making a criminal threat (Counts 1 and 3), and assault with a deadly weapon (Count 2). The information further alleged as to Count 1 that Carbajal personally used a deadly weapon (a machete) and that Carbajal had been previously convicted in 2007 of making terrorist threats and in 2010 for assault with a deadly weapon. The Count 1 charges resulted from an incident involving Saysana Souksavath occurring on December 14, 2011, and had been the subject of a previous case that had ended in a mistrial. On direct appeal of his conviction, the California Court of Appeal recounted the following facts underlying the Count 1 charge against Carbajal:

         The facts of [Carbajal's] offense are not at issue and may be briefly stated.

         [Carbajal] resided in south Sacramento. In December 2011, he stood in the front yard of his next door neighbor's residence swinging a long knife and yelling. After retreating to his house, he reemerged and again swung the knife. [Carbajal] told his neighbor that he wanted to cut him "like this, " and motioned to the knife.

         Sacramento City Police officers arrested [Carbajal] and transported him to the Sacramento County Jail.

         People v. Carbajal, No. C073292, 2014 WL 660141, at *1 (Cal.Ct.App. Feb. 21, 2014).

         Counts 2 and 3 were lodged in connection with an incident occurring on July 29, 2012, and involving Carbajal's brother, Rudy Carbajal. Defense counsel moved to sever Count 1 from the remaining counts. The trial court denied the motion, and Carbajal proceeded to a jury trial on all counts. During deliberations, the trial court was informed that the jury had reached verdicts on Counts 1 and 3 but were "stuck" on Count 2. The parties agreed to take partial verdicts. The jury returned a not guilty verdict as to Count 3 and a guilty verdict as to Count 1. The jury also found true that Carbajal personally used a deadly weapon. The jury said that they were deadlocked as to Count 2, and the court declared a mistrial as to that count. In a bench trial, Carbajal admitted the two alleged prior convictions. The court subsequently sentenced Carbajal to a term of 12 years' imprisonment, consisting of 6 years (twice the upper term) for criminal threats, 5 years for the prior serious felony, and one year for the prior prison term. The court also ordered Carbajal to pay, among other fines, booking and classification fees.

         Through counsel, Carbajal appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court improperly imposed booking and classification fees. On February 21, 2014, the Court of Apeal unanimously affirmed the judgment against Carbajal in all respects. Carbajal, 2014 WL 660141, at *3. The record does not indicate that Carbajal petitioned for review in the California Supreme Court.

         Carbajal then filed in the California Supreme Court a pro se petition for habeas relief. In that petition, Carbajal argued that he had received the ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The Supreme Court summarily denied the petition on June 25, 2014.

         Carbajal then filed an additional pro se petition for habeas relief in the California Supreme Court. In his second petition, Carbajal claimed that: 1) the trial court erred in consolidating his two cases; 2) his right to due process rights were violated because the prosecutor failed to disclose to the jury that prior testimony used to impeach Souksavath, who testified as a prosecution witness, was from a previous trial that resulted in a mistrial; 3) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the prosecutor's failure to disclose that information to the jury; and 4) appellate counsel was ineffective for only challenging fines and fees rather than challenging the underlying conviction on direct appeal. The Supreme Court denied the petition without comment on May 20, 2015.

         Carbajal timely filed apro se Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to this Court on May 22, 2015. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).

         II. GROUNDS/CLAIMS

         In his pro se Petition before this Court, Carbajal raises the four claims he unsuccessfully raised to the state courts by habeas petition. First, he argues that he was deprived of due process when the trial court consolidated his two cases. He next contends that his right to due process was violated by the prosecutor's failure to disclose that prior testimony admitted in his trial came from a previous trial that ended in a mistrial. In Ground 3, Carbajal claims that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the prosecutor's failure to disclose ...


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