United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division
ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND
RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
HONORABLE PHILIP S. GUTIERREZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
August 27, 2019, the United States Magistrate Judge issued a
Second Report and Recommendation ("Second
R&R"), recommending that the Petition be dismissed
on the merits with prejudice. (ECF No. 37). On September 10,
2019, petitioner filed Objections to the Second R&R. (ECF
raises thirty-four separate objections, and the Court finds
that a substantial number pertain to state law issues, such
as alleged violations of procedures regarding state court
competency hearings. (See ECF No. 38 at 10-20).
Habeas relief, however, is available only to state prisoners
who are "in custody in violation of the Constitution or
laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. §
2254. In a federal habeas proceeding, a court is limited to
deciding whether a prisoner's conviction violated the
Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States, as
habeas relief does not lie for errors of state law.
Estellev. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67, 112S.Ct. 475,
116 L.Ed.2d 385 (1991). Accordingly, to the extent petitioner
in his objections asserts violations of state law, his claims
are not cognizable in this habeas proceeding.
also directs objections at the California Court of
Appeal's factual findings. (See ECF No. 38 at
9). Although petitioner cites examples of what he believes to
be factual inaccuracies in the court of appeal's opinion,
the purported inaccuracies that he identifies are not
material to any of his grounds for relief. Moreover, with
respect to his plea hearing, the Magistrate Judge in the
Second R&R conducted an independent review of the record
when determining that petitioner's plea was voluntary and
intelligent. Accordingly, the Court finds no merit to these
petitioner in his Objections attacks the validity of his plea
by pointing out that, just before the plea colloquy
commenced, his counsel and the trial court discussed where
petitioner might be placed to serve his 180-day term in a
residential mental health treatment program. In particular,
the transcript reflects the following exchange:
[The Court]: So that's where we are today. So he's
your lawyer. And, at this point, the question is would you
like to accept the offer or not? And that's really the
only issue we have to resolve.
The only other question I have is that, [defense counsel], in
the event there is ... a desire to resolve the matter, what
is contemplated as far as the six month live-in program?
[Defense Counsel]: We have a program[ ] called Hillsman.
Hillsman has a mental health component in it. There is a
letterfrom AIR in the court file.
[The Court]: Okay.
[Defense Counsel]: They have a bed ready for him. That's
just a matter of authorizing AIR to pick him up and deliver
[The Court]: Okay. All right.
(ECF No. 19-1 at 188-89).
asserts that after his sentencing on March 10, 2016, he was
not transferred to his residential treatment program until
sometime in May 2016, and that he "was never transferred
or enrolled in any Hillsman Program." (ECF No. 38 at
Court notes that during the plea colloquy, the trial court
explained to petitioner the ...