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Jasso v. Legrand

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 23, 2015

REYNOLD T. JASSO, Petitioner,
v.
LeGRAND, et al., Respondents.

ORDER

MIRANDA M. DU, District Judge.

Before the Court for a decision on the merits is an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Reynaldo T. Jasso, a Nevada prisoner. (Dkt. no. 6.)

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In December 2007, the State of Nevada filed a criminal complaint in Henderson Justice Court, Clark County, Nevada, charging Jasso the following felonies: 25 counts of Lewdness with a Child Under the Age of 14, 13 counts of Sexual Assault with a Minor Under Sixteen Years of Age, one count of Battery with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, two counts of Attempted Sexual Assault with a Minor Under Sixteen Years of Age, and one count of Use of Minor in Producing Pornography. In June of 2008, Jasso entered into a guilty plea agreement with the State, under the terms of which he would enter a guilty plea to one count of Lewdness with a Child Under the Age of 14 and both parties would recommend a sentence of ten years to life.

In September of 2008, Jasso filed a motion to withdraw the guilty plea, claiming that he did not understand the plea agreement. The motion was denied. Jasso received a sentence of ten years to life, as well as lifetime supervision and mandatory registration as a sex offender within 48 hours of any release from custody. Jasso appealed.

On January 8, 2010, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of conviction. Jasso filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the state district court on October 25, 2010. On March 22, 2011, the state district court entered an order denying relief. The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed that decision on September 15, 2011.

On November 16, 2011, this Court received Jasso's petition for writ of habeas corpus. After receiving Jasso's filing fee, this Court ordered the petition filed on January 26, 2012. The respondents filed an answer to the petition on April 18, 2012. Jasso filed his reply on July 12, 2012.

II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

This action is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) sets forth the standard of review under AEDPA:

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) sets forth the standard of review under AEDPA:
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.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

A decision of a state court is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An "unreasonable application" occurs when "a state-court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case." Id. at 409. "[A] federal habeas court may not "issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly." Id. at 411.

The Supreme Court has explained that "[a] federal court's collateral review of a state-court decision must be consistent with the respect due state courts in our federal system." Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322');"> 537 U.S. 322, 340 (2003). The "AEDPA thus imposes a highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, ' and demands that statecourt decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.'" Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (quoting Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333, n. 7 (1997); Woodford v. Viscotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002) (per curiam)). "A state court's determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as fairminded jurists could disagree' on the correctness of the state court's decision." Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 786 (2011) (citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). The Supreme Court has emphasized "that even a strong case for relief does not mean the state court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable." Id. (citing Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75 (2003)); see also Cullen v. Pinholster, 131 S.Ct.1388, 1398 (2011) (describing the AEDPA standard as "a difficult to meet and highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, which demands that state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt") (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).


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