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Bryant v. Neven

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 3, 2018

SHAWNDELL BRYANT, Petitioner,
v.
DWIGHT NEVEN, et al., Respondents.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II United States District Judge.

         Before the court are the petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (#5) and respondents' answer (#22). The court finds that relief is not warranted, and the court denies the petition.

         After a jury trial in state district court, petitioner was convicted of attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm out of a motor vehicle, and discharging a firearm at or into a structure, vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft. Ex. 13 (#13). Petitioner appealed, and the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed. Ex. 17 (#13).

         Petitioner then filed in state district court a post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Ex. 23 (#13). The state district court appointed counsel and held an evidentiary hearing on some of petitioner's claims. Ex. 31 (#13). The state district court denied the petition. Ex. 32 (#13). Petitioner appealed, and the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed. Ex. 34 (#13).

         Petitioner then commenced this action. The court found that grounds 2(b) and 3© were not exhausted.[1] Order (#19). Petitioner elected to dismiss those grounds, and the answer to the remaining grounds followed.

         Congress 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; 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). “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, 131 S.Ct. 770, 784 (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, § 2254(d)(2).

Richter, 131 S.Ct. at 785. “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 ...

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