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Knox v. McDaniels

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 30, 2014

MONTENEQUE N. KNOX, Petitioner,
v.
E.K. McDANIELS, et al., Respondents.

ORDER

MIRANDA M. DU, District Judge.

This action is a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, by a Nevada state prisoner. This matter comes before the Court on the merits of the amended petition.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On January 19, 2007, the State charged petitioner in Reno Township Justice Court by criminal complaint with possession of a stolen motor vehicle in violation of NRS 205.273. (Exh. 2.[1]) After the preliminary hearing, Petitioner was bound over to the Second Judicial District Court for the State of Nevada. (Exh. 4.) The information, charging petitioner with possession of a stolen vehicle, was filed on February 13, 2007. (Exh. 7.) The matter proceeded to a jury trial. (Exh. 23.) Petitioner was found guilty. (Exh. 21.) At sentencing, petitioner was adjudicated a habitual criminal and sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment of 10-25 years. (Exhs. 31 & 32.) The judgment of conviction was filed on September 11, 2007. (Exh. 32.) Petitioner appealed his conviction. (Exh. 33.) On August 4, 2008, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed petitioner's convictions. (Exh. 44.)

On March 31, 2009, petitioner filed a post-conviction habeas petition in the state district court. (Exh. 46.) The district court denied the petition. (Exh. 56.) Petitioner appealed the denial of his post-conviction habeas petition. (Exh. 63.) On July 14, 2011, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the post-conviction habeas petition. (Exh. 76.) Remittitur issued on August 8, 2011. (Exh. 77.)

On October 7, 2011, petitioner filed his federal habeas petition in this Court. (Dkt. no. 3.) On November 4, 2011, petitioner filed an amended petition. (Dkt. no. 6.) Respondents filed an answer to the amended petition on November 30, 2011. (Dkt. no. 7.) Petitioner filed a reply to the answer on January 12, 2012. (Dkt. no. 15.)

Petitioner moved for leave to file a second amended petition. By order filed May 31, 2013, the Court granted petitioner's motion. (Dkt. no. 24.) The Court's order allowed petitioner to file a second amended petition within thirty (30) days. ( Id. ) The order further specified that, if petitioner failed to file a second amended petition, this case was to proceed on the amended petition. ( Id. ) On July 1, 2013, petitioner filed a notice informing the Court that he would not be filing an amended petition. (Dkt. no. 25.) As such, this action proceeds on the amended petition at dkt. no. 6.

II. FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS STANDARDS

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"), at 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), provides the legal standard for the Court's consideration of this habeas petition:

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; 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.

The AEDPA "modified a federal habeas court's role in reviewing state prisoner applications in order to prevent federal habeas retrials' and to ensure that state-court convictions are given effect to the extent possible under law." Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693-694 (2002). A state court decision is contrary to clearly established Supreme Court precedent, within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2254, "if the state court applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [the Supreme Court's] cases" or "if the state court confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme Court] and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [the Supreme Court's] precedent." Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 73 (2003) ( quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-406 (2000) and citing Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002)). The formidable standard set forth in section 2254(d) reflects the view that habeas corpus is "a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, ' not a substitute for ordinary error correction through appeal." Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. ___, ___, 131 S.Ct. 770, 786 (2011) (quoting Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 332 n.5 (1979)).

A state court decision is an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court precedent, within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), "if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme Court's] decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case." Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. at 75 (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413). The "unreasonable application" clause requires the state court decision to be more than merely incorrect or erroneous; the state court's application of clearly established federal law must be objectively unreasonable. ( Id. ( quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 409).) In determining whether a state court decision is contrary to, or an unreasonable application of federal law, this Court looks to the state courts' last reasoned decision. See Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 803-04 (1991); Shackleford v. Hubbard, 234 F.3d 1072, 1079 n.2 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 944 (2001).

In a federal habeas proceeding, "a determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct, " and the petitioner "shall have the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). If a claim has been adjudicated on the merits by a state court, a federal habeas petitioner must overcome the burden established in § 2254(d) ...


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