United States District Court, D. Nevada
RENE F. FERNANDEZ, Petitioner,
JAMES GREG COX, et al., Respondents.
M. Navarro, Chief Judge.
the court are the amended petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No. 21),
respondents' answer (ECF No. 50), and petitioner's
reply (ECF No. 51). The court finds that relief is not
warranted, and the court denies the petition.
jury trial, petitioner was convicted of one count each of
conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act,
trafficking in a controlled substance, and transport of a
controlled substance. Ex. 2 (ECF No. 31-2). Petitioner
appealed, and the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed. Ex. 5 (ECF
then filed in the state district court a post-conviction
habeas corpus petition and a subsequent supplement. Ex. 6
(ECF No. 31-6), Ex. 6A (ECF No. 31-7). The state district
court denied the petition. Ex. 8 (ECF No. 31-9). Petitioner
appealed, and the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed. Ex. 9 (ECF
then commenced this action. The court dismissed ground 6
because it was based upon a confusion of the federal and
state schedules of controlled substances. ECF No. 6, ECF No.
49. The answer and the reply followed.
has limited the circumstances in which a federal court can
grant relief to a petitioner who is in custody pursuant to a
judgment of conviction of a state court.
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
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). “By its terms § 2254(d)
bars relitigation of any claim ‘adjudicated on the
merits' in state court, subject only to the exceptions in
§§ 2254(d)(1) and (d)(2).” Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 98 (2011).
Federal habeas relief may not be granted for claims subject
to § 2254(d) unless it is shown that the earlier state
court's decision “was contrary to” federal
law then clearly established in the holdings of this Court,
§ 2254(d)(1); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362,
412 (2000); or that it “involved an unreasonable
application of” such law, § 2254(d)(1); or that it
“was based on an unreasonable determination of the
facts” in light of the record before the state court,
Richter, 562 U.S. at 100. “For purposes of
§ 2254(d)(1), ‘an unreasonable application of
federal law is different from an incorrect application of
federal law.'” Id. (citation omitted).
“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.”
Id. (citation omitted).
[E]valuating whether a rule application was unreasonable
requires considering the rule's specificity. The more
general the rule, the more leeway courts have in reaching
outcomes in case-by-case determinations.
Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004).
Under § 2254(d), a habeas court must determine what
arguments or theories supported or, as here, could have
supported, the state court's decision; and then it must
ask whether it is possible fairminded jurists could disagree
that those arguments or theories are inconsistent with the
holding in a prior decision of this Court.
Richter, 562 U.S. at 102.
As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus from a federal
court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's
ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so
lacking in justification that there was an error well
understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement.
Id. at 103.
claims are claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. A
petitioner claiming ineffective assistance of counsel must
demonstrate (1) that the defense attorney's
representation “fell below an objective standard of
reasonableness, ” Strickland v. Washington,
466 U.S. 668, 688 (1984), and (2) that the attorney's
deficient performance prejudiced the defendant such that
“there is a reasonable probability that, but for
counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the
proceeding would have been different, ” id. at
694. “[T]here is no reason for a court deciding an
ineffective assistance ...