United States District Court, D. Nevada
C. MAHAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pro se 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas petition filed
by Sylvester Sanford Tatum comes before the court for
disposition on the merits (ECF No. 7).
Procedural History and Background
court has previously set forth in the order granting in part
the motion to dismiss, on October 28, 2010, a jury convicted
Tatum of one count of trafficking in a controlled substance
and one count of possession of a controlled substance
(exhibit 46 to respondents' motion to dismiss, ECF No.
The state district court sentenced Tatum to ten to
twenty-five years for the trafficking count and twelve to
thirty-two months for the possession count, to run
concurrently. Id. Judgment of conviction was filed
on November 1, 2010. Id.
Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the convictions on October 5,
2011, and remittitur issued on November 1, 2011. Exhs. 65,
67, 68. The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the state district
court's denial of Tatum's first state postconviction
petition on June 12, 2014, and remitittur issued on July 9,
2014. Exhs. 77, 108, 124, 135, 136. The state district court
denied Tatum's second postconviction petition, and the
Nevada Court of Appeals affirmed the denial on February 24,
2015. Exhs. 132, 147, 160.
failed to indicate the date he dispatched his federal
petition for mailing, but he signed the petition on July 31,
2014 (ECF No. 7). Respondents now answer the remaining claim,
ground 2(B) (ECF No. 33). Tatum did not file a reply.
Legal Standards & Analysis
AEDPA Standard of Review
U.S.C. § 2254(d), a provision of the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), provides the legal
standards for this court's consideration of the petition
in this case:
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.
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). This court's ability to grant a writ
is limited to cases where “there is no possibility
fair-minded jurists could disagree that the state court's
decision conflicts with [Supreme Court] precedents.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011). 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, 563 U.S. 170, 181 (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).
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] ...