United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY PETITION FOR WRIT
OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINE TO ISSUE CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY (DOC. 1)
K. OBERTO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
William Allen Smith, is a state prisoner proceeding pro
se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. He alleges two grounds for habeas
relief: (1) “illegal requirement to register as a
sexual offender for out-of-state conviction”; and (2)
the registration requirement is a violation of his right to
equal protection. (Doc. 1 at 4.) The Court referred the
matter to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1) and Local Rules 302 and 304. Petitioner
acknowledges in his traverse that the equal protection claim
should be dismissed with prejudice, (Doc. 23 at 13);
consequently, the Court recommends dismissing the equal
rights claim with prejudice. Having reviewed the record as a
whole and applicable law, the undersigned further recommends
that the Court deny the habeas petition.
Factual and Procedural
year old G. and his eight year old brother N. were playing in
a vacant lot near their home in Bakersfield when Petitioner
pulled up in his girlfriend's car. G. road up to the
vehicle on his tricycle, Petitioner opened the door of the
vehicle, put the boy in the car, and drove off. N. quickly
reported the abduction to his mother, who called the
Bakersfield Police Department.
30 minutes after G. and N.'s mother called police, an
anonymous male caller notified Bakersfield Police that G.
could be found at a church roughly 3 miles from the abduction
site. An officer found G. crying in the church parking lot 20
minutes later. G. appeared shaken, but did not appear to have
suffered any physical injuries. G. went a local hospital for
an examination, and was later reunited with his parents.
that same day, a Bakersfield Police Detective contacted
Petitioner at his mother's home, which was located one to
two blocks from the abduction site. Petitioner fit the
description of the abductor provided by N. and a vehicle
matching the description of the one involved in the crime was
parked outside the home. N. positively identified Petitioner
as the abductor and Petitioner was taken into
trial, Petitioner's girlfriend, Dana Williams (“Ms.
Williams”), testified that Petitioner dropped her off
at work on the day of the abduction and then drove off with
her vehicle, which was later identified as the one involved
in the abduction. Ms. Williams testified that sometime after
the abduction, Petitioner admitted he watched G. and N. play,
but stated that G. walked up to the vehicle and climbed
inside it by himself. According to Williams, Petitioner
claimed he then drove off with G. and dropped him off a few
blocks away before calling police.
1996, a jury convicted Petitioner of kidnapping (Cal. Penal
Code § 208(b)). Petitioner was sentenced to 33 years to
life in prison with two additional five year enhancements for
having two strikes.
appealed his conviction and on August 27, 1997, the
California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District
affirmed the judgment. Petitioner filed his appeal with the
Supreme Court on September 29, 1997. On November 12, 1997,
the California Supreme Court summarily denied
Petitioner's “Petition for Review.”
his appeal was pending with the Supreme Court, on October 14,
1997, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus
challenging the legality of his conviction with the Kern
County Superior Court. On September 28, 1998, the Superior
Court held that the admission of a statement Petitioner made
during an interview with a local television station was
improperly admitted at trial. Therefore, the Superior Court
granted the petition and Petitioner was granted a new trial.
January 20, 1999, Petitioner's second jury trial
commenced. The second jury convicted Petitioner of kidnapping
(Cal. Penal Code § 208(b)). In a bifurcated proceeding,
the trial court found true allegations that Petitioner
suffered two prior strikes. On March 1, 1999, Petitioner was
sentenced to an indeterminate term of 43 years to life.
September 12, 2000, the Court of Appeal affirmed
Petitioner's conviction for kidnapping and affirmed the
fact that he suffered one strike. The court remanded the
finding on the second strike to the trial court for further
proceedings on the issue of whether one of Petitioner's
prior convictions constituted a prior serious felony
conviction under California law.
Court of Appeal also remanded the case for resentencing.
Petitioner filed a “Petition for Review” with the
Supreme Court for certain claims that were decided by the
Court of Appeal.The “Petition for Review” was
summarily denied on December 20, 2000.
remand from the Court of Appeal, the trial court held a
hearing on February 21, 2001. At the hearing, the prosecutor
informed the court that Petitioner's prior Florida
conviction was insufficient to count as a strike in
California. The trial court dismissed this strike and
sentenced Petitioner to a determinate state prison term of 27
appealed his conviction and on October 18, 2001, the appeal
was dismissed pursuant to Petitioner's
request. Petitioner then filed several state habeas
corpus petitions, which were all denied.
November 9, 2015, Petitioner filed his petition for habeas
corpus with this Court. Respondent filed a response on March
9, 2016, and Petitioner replied on April 25, 2016.
Standard of Review
person in custody as a result of the judgment of a state
court may secure relief through a petition for habeas corpus
if the custody violates the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); Williams
v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 375 (2000). On April 24, 1996,
Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), which applies to all
petitions for writ of habeas corpus filed thereafter.
Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 322-23 (1997). Under
the statutory terms, the petition in this case is governed by
AEDPA's provisions because it was filed April 24, 1996.
corpus is neither a substitute for a direct appeal nor a
device for federal review of the merits of a guilty verdict
rendered in state court. Jackson v. Virginia, 443
U.S. 307, 332 n. 5 (1979) (Stevens, J., concurring). Habeas
corpus relief is intended to address only "extreme
malfunctions" in state criminal justice proceedings.
Id. Under AEDPA, a petitioner can obtain ...