United States District Court, E.D. California
CAROLYN K. DELANEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state inmate proceeding through counsel in this habeas
corpus action filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Upon
review of the parties' briefs, the court hereby requests
supplemental briefing on the analytical framework for
resolving claim one of the pending § 2254 petition for
the reasons discussed herein.
Factual and Procedural Background
was convicted in the Sacramento Superior Court following two
jury trials in which he was convicted of two separate
incidents of premeditated attempted murder with gun and gang
enhancements. ECF No. 1 at 2. He was sentenced to a total
prison term of 50-life plus a consecutive determinate term of
24 years and 8 months. ECF No. 1 at 2. At the time of the
shootings, petitioner was 17 years old. ECF No. 1-4 at 2
(direct appeal opinion).
December 29, 2016 petitioner filed the pending habeas corpus
application primarily challenging the admission of
petitioner's confession at trial as a violation of his
Fifth Amendment right to remain silent as well as his Sixth
Amendment right to counsel. ECF No. 1. While the California
Court of Appeal concluded that the admission of
petitioner's confession violated his rights under
Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), it
ultimately found that this error was harmless beyond a
reasonable doubt. See ECF No. 1-4 at 3 (direct
appeal opinion). Petitioner subsequently filed a state habeas
corpus petition in the California Supreme Court raising the
Miranda violation plus additional newly discovered
evidence impeaching the prosecution's main eyewitness to
the first attempted murder conviction (“the Lopez
shooting”). See ECF No. 1 at 3. The California
Supreme Court issued a summary denial of this habeas petition
on November 30, 2016. Id.; see also Lodged
Document No. 23.
Federal Habeas Standard of Review
order to be entitled to federal habeas relief, petitioner
must first exhaust his state court remedies. 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A). Furthermore, petitioner must affirmatively
establish that the state court decision resolving the claim
on the merits “was contrary to, or involved an
unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law,
as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
… 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.
conducting the requisite § 2254(d) analysis of the
constitutional issue raised by petitioner, this court must
determine what is the last reasoned state court opinion
resolving this claim for relief. Both parties in the pending
action rely on the California Court of Appeal's decision
as the last reasoned state court opinion resolving
petitioner's Miranda claim for relief.
See ECF No. 1-2 at 13; ECF No. 8 at 17. However, the
Ylst look-through doctrine applies “[w]here
there has been one reasoned state judgment rejecting a
federal claim, [and where] later unexplained orders upholding
that judgment or rejecting the same claim rest upon the same
ground.” Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 803
(1991). Here, the California Court of Appeal was not
reviewing the same Miranda claim as the California
Supreme Court on habeas review. In state habeas proceedings,
the California Supreme Court reviewed the Miranda
claim plus the additional impeachment evidence of the
prosecution's main witness. The California Court of
Appeal reviewed the Miranda claim and conducted its
harmless error analysis absent this new impeachment evidence.
Thus, the Ylst look-through doctrine may not apply
to petitioner's Miranda claim.
2011, the Supreme Court adopted a rebuttable presumption that
a state court's summary denial of a federal claim
constitutes an adjudication on the merits that is entitled to
deference under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86 (2011). Since that time, the high
court has repeatedly reversed habeas corpus decisions from
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal that have failed to apply
this deferential standard of review to silent denials of
relief issued by California state courts. See Cullen v.
Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170 (2011) (reversing the Ninth
Circuit's en banc opinion finding California Supreme
Court's decision was contrary to or an unreasonable
application of federal law based on evidence first introduced
in federal district court); Johnson v. Williams, 133
S.Ct. 1088, 1091-92 (2013) (reversing the judgment of the
Ninth Circuit and concluding that petitioner's Sixth
Amendment jury trial claim “must be presumed to have
been adjudicated on the merits by the California courts, that
this presumption was not adequately rebutted, that the
restrictive standard of review set out in § 2254(d)(2)
consequently applies, and that under that standard respondent
is not entitled to habeas relief”); Kernan v.
Hinojosa, 136 S.Ct. 1603 (2016) (per curiam) (summarily
reversing the Ninth Circuit's grant of habeas relief that
concluded that the silent denial by the California Supreme
Court was not a decision “on the merits” entitled
to AEDPA deference and applying Richter's presumption
that a silent denial is a denial on the merits).
this legal framework in mind, the parties are hereby ordered
to submit supplemental briefs on the application of the
Richter presumption to petitioner's first claim
for relief in the pending § 2254 petition. In so doing,
the parties shall address how the AEDPA standard applies if
the silent denial from the California Supreme Court on habeas
review constitutes the last reasoned state court opinion for
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Petitioner shall submit a supplemental brief on the issues
identified herein within 21 days from the date of this order.
Respondent shall submit a supplemental brief 14 days after
being served with petitioner's brief.
Petitioner may file a reply brief within 7 days of being
served a copy of ...