United States District Court, D. Nevada
P. GORDON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se habeas matter under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is
before the court on respondents' motion to dismiss in
part the petition brought by Brandon Christopher Ragland (ECF
No. 14). Ragland opposed (ECF No. 46), and respondents
replied (ECF No. 47).
Procedural History and Background
April 30, 2013, a jury convicted Ragland of possession of a
firearm by an ex-felon (exhibit 35). The state district court
adjudicated Ragland a habitual criminal under the small
habitual criminal statute and sentenced Ragland to 60-150
months, with 182 days credit for time served. Exh. 42. The
judgment of conviction was filed on November 12, 2013.
Id. The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed Ragland's
conviction on April 10, 2014, and remittitur issued on May 5,
2014. Exhs. 48, 49.
12, 2014, Ragland filed a proper person state postconviction
habeas corpus petition. Exhs. 50, 54. The state district
court denied the petition on September 22, 2014. Exh. 56. The
Nevada Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of the petition
on February 4, 2015. Nevada Court of Appeals Case No.
66646. Remittitur issued on October 14, 2015.
October 28, 2015, Ragland dispatched his federal habeas
petition for filing (ECF No. 6). Now before the court is
respondents' motion to dismiss the petition in part (ECF
Legal Standards & Analysis
argue that grounds 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 are procedurally barred
(ECF No. 14, pp. 7-8). Generally, “a state
prisoner's failure to comply with the state's
procedural requirements in presenting his claims bar him or
her from obtaining a writ of habeas corpus in federal court
under the adequate and independent state ground
doctrine.” Schneider v. McDaniel, 674 F.3d
1144, 1152 (9th Cir.2012) (citing Coleman v.
Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731-32 (1991)). A federal court
will not review a claim for habeas corpus relief if the
decision of the state court regarding that claim rested on a
state law ground that is independent of the federal question
and adequate to support the judgment. Coleman v.
Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 730-31 (1991). The
Coleman Court stated the effect of a procedural
default as follows:
In all cases in which a state prisoner has defaulted his
federal claims in state court pursuant to an independent and
adequate state procedural rule, federal habeas review of the
claims is barred unless the prisoner can demonstrate cause
for the default and actual prejudice as a result of the
alleged violation of federal law, or demonstrate that failure
to consider the claims will result in a fundamental
miscarriage of justice.
Coleman, 501 U.S. at 750; see also Murray v.
Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 485 (1986). The procedural
default doctrine ensures that the state's interest in
correcting its own mistakes is respected in all federal
habeas cases. See Koerner v. Grigas, 328 F.3d 1039,
1046 (9th Cir.2003).
procedural default doctrine to apply, “a state rule
must be clear, consistently applied, and well-established at
the time of the petitioner's purported default.”
Wells v. Maass, 28 F.3d 1005, 1010 (9th Cir.1994).
See also Calderon v. United States District Court
(Bean), 96 F.3d 1126, 1129 (9th Cir.1996).
instant federal petition, Ragland contends in ground 2 that
the prosecution improperly influenced the grand jury with
evidence of prior bad acts in obtaining his indictment (ECF
No. 6, p. 7). As ground 4, Ragland claims that the trial
court violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights
when it erroneously instructed the jury on the definition of
ex-felon in possession of a firearm. Id. at 14-15.
He argues in ground 6 that the trial court failed to evaluate
the issue of corpus delicti under NRS
34.810(1)(b)(2) in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment due
process rights. Id. at 24. Ragland asserts in ground
7 that the prosecutors' misconduct in manipulating jury
instructions, using evidence of uncharged bad acts, and
presenting the State's impression of the evidence during
closing arguments violated his due process rights.
Id. at 26-27. As ground 8 Ragland contends that
several district court errors-including erroneously approving
a DNA warrant and not allowing Ragland's witnesses to
testify at the suppression hearing-violated his Fourteenth
Amendment due process rights. Id. at 29.
direct appeal, Ragland raised the following: he claimed that
the firearm was seized during a search of his vehicle that
violated the Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and
the Nevada Constitution; that the state district court erred
by denying the defense motion to suppress; and that the
district court erred by failing to give the Las Vegas Police
Department's incident log report the ...