United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS;
DENYING MOTION TO PROCEED AS NEXT FRIEND (DKT. NO.
JEFFREY S. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a California prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this petition
for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Two
of his claims --- that his arrest was obtained in violation
of his Fourth Amendment rights and that the one-year sentence
on one of the robbery counts should not have been consecutive
to the sentence on the other counts ---- were denied because
they do not present cognizable bases for federal habeas
relief. He has one remaining claim, that his lawyers at trial
and on appeal were ineffective because they failed to
challenge the validity of his arrest on Fourth Amendment
grounds. The parties were directed to file supplemental
briefs addressing this claim, which they have done. For the
reasons explained below, the petition is DENIED.
March 10, 2011, Detective Cassandra Smith of the Pittsburg
Police Department discovered that Petitioner had not
registered as a sex offender within five days of his
birthday, as he was required to do. She also discovered that
on February 25, 2011, the Concord Police Department had
issued a warrant for Petitioner's arrest for robbery.
Smith and other officers arrested Petitioner at his apartment
complex on Friday, March 18, 2011. The following Tuesday,
March 22, 2012, the prosecutor filed a complaint on two
charges of robbery, and a Ramey warrant was issued
finding probable cause to arrest Petitioner on the charges in
the complaint. The following day, Petitioner was
arraigned on the robbery charges. He was eventually convicted
of robbery and using a dangerous weapon, and he was sentenced
to a term of five years and four months in state prison. The
instant petition challenges the robbery conviction and
claims that his trial and appellate lawyers should have
argued that his arrest violated the Fourth Amendment because
the Ramey arrest warrant was issued after his
arrest. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a criminal defendant
guarantees effective assistance of counsel. Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 686 (1984). A federal habeas
petitioner must establish that counsel's performance was
deficient, i.e., that it fell below an "objective
standard of reasonableness" under prevailing
professional norms, and prejudicial in that "there is a
reasonable probability that, but for counsel's
unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would
have been different." Id. at 694. Claims of
ineffective assistance of appellate counsel fall under the
Due Process Clause, not the Sixth Amendment, but they are
reviewed according to the standard set out in
Strickland. Smith v. Robbins, 528 U.S. 259,
lawyers did not perform deficiently in failing to argue that
his arrest violated the Fourth Amendment because the record
shows that it was supported by probable cause, as well as a
valid warrant. The Fourth Amendment requires that an arrest
be supported by probable cause. Atwater v. City of Lago
Vista, 532 U.S. 318, 354 (2001). An arrest is supported
by probable cause if, under the totality of the circumstances
known to the arresting officer, a prudent person would have
concluded that there was a fair probability that the
defendant had committed a crime. Luchtel v.
Hagemann, 623 F.3d 975, 980 (9th Cir. 2010). The
probable cause supporting the arrest consisted of the records
demonstrating that Petitioner had not complied with the sex
offender registration laws, as well as the outstanding arrest
warrant from the Concord Police Department. Although an
additional arrest warrant was issued after Petitioner's
arrest, at the time he was arrested, there was a warrant for
his arrest for robbery from February 25, 2011.
Petitioner's trial and appellate lawyers could not
successfully argue that Petitioner's arrest violated his
Fourth Amendment rights because there was probable cause and
a valid warrant for his arrest. As a result, the lawyers'
failure to challenge Petitioner's arrest on Fourth
Amendment grounds was neither deficient nor prejudicial under
Strickland, and did not violate Petitioner's
constitutional rights to the effective assistance of trial
and appellate counsel.
Petitioner's remaining claim for federal habeas relief
fails, his petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED. A
certificate of appealability will not issue. See 28
U.S.C. § 2253 (c). This is not a case in which
“reasonable jurists would find the district court's
assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or
wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484
motion to proceed as “next friend” for Petitioner
is DENIED as moot based upon the denial of the petition. Such
a motion may be renewed if necessary for the purpose of any
Clerk shall enter judgment in favor of the Respondent and
close the file.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The warrant was issued pursuant to
California Penal Code Section 817 and People v.
Ramey, 16 Cal.3d 263 (1976), which is for a suspect at
his home address obtained by a police agency by going
directly to a ...