United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
JEFFREY S. WHITE, UNITED STATE DISTICT JUDGE.
a prisoner of the State of California, filed a pro se
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, challenging the validity of his no contest plea
and sentence in state court. Respondent filed an answer to
the petition, to which Petitioner filed a traverse. For the
reasons set forth below, the petition is DENIED.
pled guilty on June 28, 2007, to charges of kidnaping and
robbery, and admitted to having a prior felony, using a gun
during the robberies, and acting for the benefit of a gang.
In exchange for Petitioner's guilty plea, the prosecutor
dismissed 23 counts. The Monterey County Superior Court
sentenced Petitioner to a term of 40 years in state prison.
He did not appeal the judgment. Between 2008 and 2013, he
filed requests in the state superior, appellate and supreme
courts for transcripts of the plea and sentencing hearing.
The superior court finally granted that request on January
18, 2012, but the transcripts were not sent to him until
November 25, 2013. (ECF No. 1-7.) Petitioner also filed two
federal habeas petitions in this Court concerning his
transcripts, both of which were dismissed. (See Nos. C
10-3133 JSW, C 14-1592 JSW.)
2013 and 2015, Petitioner filed habeas petitions in the state
superior court, appellate court, and supreme court, raising
claims raised in the instant petition --- namely that the
guilty plea was not knowing or voluntary because of his
mental incompetence, that he was improperly denied a
competency hearing, and that his trial counsel was
ineffective in failing to investigate his competency; these
petitions were all denied. (Resp. Exhs. A, H, -N.) On
September 10, 2015, Petitioner filed the instant federal
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), a district court may grant a petition
challenging a state conviction or sentence on the basis of a
claim that was “adjudicated on the merits” in
state court only if 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).
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).
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
application” inquiry should ask whether the state
court's application of clearly established federal law
was “objectively unreasonable.” Id. at
case, the last reasoned opinion by the state courts on
Petitioner's claims are the opinions of the Monterey
County Superior Court denying Petitioner's habeas
petitions in which he raised the two claims raised here. (ECF
Nos. 1-5, 1-12.) Those, consequently, are the opinions
reviewed here under the standard or review set forth in 28
U.S.C. § 2254(d). See Cannedy v. Adams, 706
F.3d 1148, 1158 (9th Cir.), amended, 733 F.3d 794
(9th Cir. 2013).
grounds for federal habeas relief, Petitioner claims: (1) the
state courts unreasonably applied the Supreme Court's
holdings in failing to hold a competency hearing; and (2) the
state courts unreasonably applied Strickland v.
Washington in rejecting his claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel.
Petitioner's Competency ...