United States District Court, D. Nevada
C. JONES United States District Judge.
the court are the petition for a writ of habeas corpus (ECF
No. 6) and respondents' answer (ECF No. 48). The court
finds that petitioner is not entitled to relief, and the
court denies the petition.
state district court, petitioner was charged with (I) causing
the death of a person by driving a vehicle while under the
influence of alcohol, (II) leaving the scene of an accident
involving the death of a person, and (III) conspiring to
attempt to suborn perjury. The first two charges were
felonies, the third charge was a gross misdemeanor. Ex. 2
(ECF No. 10-2). Petitioner agreed to plead guilty as charged.
The parties were free to argue whether the sentences for
counts I and II would run concurrently or consecutively. The
prosecution agreed to recommend that the sentence for count
III would run concurrently with the sentences for the other
two counts. Ex. 12 (ECF No. 10-12). The state district court
sentenced petitioner to a minimum term of six years and a
maximum term of eighteen years for count I, a minimum term of
six years and a maximum term of fifteen years for count II,
to run consecutively to the sentence for count I, and a term
of twelve months for count III, to run concurrently with the
sentences for counts I and II. Petitioner received thirteen
days of credit for time served, because he was out on bail
for most of the time between arrest and sentencing. The state
district court also recommended that petitioner be placed
into the “AB 305 program” for treatment of
alcoholism. Ex. 17 (ECF No. 10-16). See also Nev.
Rev. Stat. §§ 209.425 et seq. (describing
treatment program). Petitioner did not appeal.
then filed a post-conviction habeas corpus petition in the
state district court. Ex. 18 (ECF No. 10-17). A different
judge was assigned to consider the petition. Ex. 21 (ECF No.
10-20). The state district court held an evidentiary hearing.
Ex. 28 (ECF No. 11-3). The state district court denied the
petition. Ex. 30 (ECF No. 11-5). Petitioner appealed. The
Nevada Supreme Court affirmed summarily. Ex. 42 (ECF No.
then commenced this action. The court determined that
petitioner had not exhausted his state-court remedies for
some of his grounds. ECF No. 19. The court stayed the action
while petitioner returned to state court. ECF No. 23.
state courts determined that petitioner's subsequent
state habeas corpus petition was barred as untimely and
successive. Ex. 53 (ECF No. 31-12); Ex. 70 (ECF No. 32-15).
returned to this court. The court dismissed parts of ground
2, parts of ground 4, and all of ground 6 because they were
procedurally defaulted. ECF No. 42. The answer 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 ...