United States District Court, E.D. California
ROBERT M. STEWARD, Petitioner,
CLARK E. DUCART, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel with a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. He challenges a judgment of conviction
entered against him on August 20, 2015 in the Sacramento
County Superior Court on charges of attempted carjacking. He
seeks federal habeas relief on the following grounds: (1)
that his rights were violated in an unspecified way by the
admission into evidence of preliminary hearing testimony; (2)
that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in
unspecified ways; and (3) he was denied unspecified appeal
rights. Respondent has also addressed an insufficient
evidence claim which petitioner presented to the California
Supreme Court, but which is not explicitly raised in the
immediate petition. Upon careful consideration of the record
and the applicable law, petitioner's application for
habeas corpus is denied.
unpublished memorandum and opinion affirming petitioner's
judgment of conviction on appeal, the California Court of
Appeal for the Third Appellate District provided the
following factual summary:
At approximately 9:00 p.m. on April 17, 2015, Kerrye Wheeler
was sitting in the driver's seat of her car at 3113
Huntsman Drive in Sacramento. Her window was open and she was
talking to her 13- year-old son, Joey, who was sitting in the
front passenger seat. An individual, later identified as
defendant, approached the driver's side of the car and
punched Wheeler in the face. Defendant told Wheeler to
“[g]et out of the car” and said, “I'm
After defendant struck Wheeler, Joey got out of the car and
ran inside to get his father. Meanwhile, defendant reached
inside Wheeler's car and opened the door. He then undid
her seat belt, yanked her out of the car, and threw her into
the street. Defendant got into the car and attempted to start
it but was unable to do so. Eventually, defendant got out of
the car and walked away, leaving some of his papers behind. A
search of the car by the police revealed numerous papers with
defendant's name on them.
Defendant was charged by an amended information with
attempted carjacking in violation of Penal Code sections 664
and 215, subdivision (a).1 It was further alleged that
defendant had served a prior prison term within the meaning
of section 667.5, subdivision (b), and had suffered a prior
serious felony conviction within the meaning of section 667,
subdivision (a), which qualified as a strike (§§
667, subds. (b)-(i), 1170.12).
Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of the
charged offense. In a bifurcated proceeding, the trial court
found true the sentence enhancement allegations. The trial
court sentenced defendant to an aggregate term of 15 years in
prison, consisting of the upper term of four years and six
months for the attempted carjacking, doubled to nine years
for the prior conviction, plus five years for the prior
strike and one year for the prison prior.
People v. Steward, 2016 WL 4249699, at *1 (Cal.App.
3 Dist., 2016) (unpublished) (footnote omitted).
Standards of Review Applicable to Habeas Corpus
application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in
custody under a judgment of a state court can be granted only
for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United
States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). A federal writ is not
available for alleged error in the interpretation or
application of state law. See Wilson v. Corcoran,
562 U.S. 1, 5 (2010); Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S.
62, 67-68 (1991); Park v. California, 202 F.3d 1146,
1149 (9th Cir. 2000).
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) sets forth the following standards
for granting federal habeas corpus relief:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the 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;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented