United States District Court, D. Nevada
DAVID A. JOYCE, Petitioner,
DWIGHT NEVEN, et al., Respondents.
RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court for a decision on the merits is an application for
a writ of habeas corpus filed by David A. Joyce, a Nevada
prisoner. (ECF No. 8.)
7, 2008, a jury sitting in the state district court for Clark
County, Nevada, found Joyce guilty of burglary. The jury
acquitted Joyce on a charge of robbery. On July 8, 2008, the
court sentenced Joyce under the habitual criminal statute to
a term of twenty years with parole eligibility after eight
years. The judgment of conviction was entered on July 21,
2008. Joyce appealed.
29, 2009, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of
conviction. The Nevada Supreme Court recounted the facts
supporting the conviction as follows:
On September 27, 2007, appellant David Anthony Joyce and
another individual entered a K-Mart located in Las Vegas,
Nevada. The two immediately drew the attention of Brian
Adams, a Loss Prevention Specialist for K-Mart. Adams
monitored Joyce on the store's surveillance system and
watched as he picked up an electronic toothbrush. Adams then
observed Joyce as he stuffed the electronic toothbrush down
the front of his pants.
As Joyce was leaving the store, Adams contacted his
supervisor, Emma Dowdy, who reviewed the surveillance
videotape. After confirming that Joyce was indeed concealing
an electronic toothbrush in the front of his pants, Adams and
Dowdy approached Joyce in the parking lot. Dowdy told Joyce
that he had been caught stealing and needed to return to the
store. Joyce refused and left the scene. After Adams and
Dowdy positively identified Joyce from a photographic lineup,
the police effectuated his arrest.
April 28, 2010, Joyce filed a post-conviction habeas petition
in the state district court. The state district court denied
the habeas petition, entering written findings of fact and
conclusions of law on August 26, 2010. Joyce appealed.
10, 2011, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed in part and
reversed in part the judgment of the state district court.
The court concluded that the lower court had erred by not
holding an evidentiary hearing on one of Joyce's
ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) claims and remanded
the case for that purpose.
holding an evidentiary hearing, the state district court
denied relief and entered, on January 25, 2012, written
findings of fact and conclusions of law. Joyce appealed. On
June 14, 2012, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the lower
court's decision in all respects.
December 2012 Joyce initiated this federal habeas proceeding.
Respondents filed an answer to Joyce's petition on March
10, 2014. Joyce did not file a reply.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
action is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act (AEDPA). 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) sets forth the
standard of review under AEDPA:
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).
decision of a state court is "contrary to" clearly
established federal law if the state court arrives at a
conclusion opposite that reached by the Supreme Court on a
question of law or if the state court decides a case
differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially
indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An "unreasonable
application" occurs when "a state-court decision
unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the
facts of a prisoner's case." Id. at 409.
"[A] federal habeas court may not "issue the writ
simply because that court concludes in its independent
judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied
clearly established federal law erroneously or
incorrectly." Id. at 411.
Supreme Court has explained that "[a] federal
court's collateral review of a state-court decision must
be consistent with the respect due state courts in our
federal system." Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537
U.S. 322, 340 (2003). The "AEDPA thus imposes a
'highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court
rulings,' and 'demands that state-court decisions be
given the benefit of the doubt.'" Renico v.
Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (quoting Lindh v.
Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333, n. 7 (1997); Woodford v.
Viscotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002) (per curiam)). "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." Harrington v. Richter,
562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011) (citing Yarborough v.
Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). 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
state court's factual findings are presumed to be correct
unless rebutted by the petitioner by clear and convincing
evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Schriro v.
Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473-74 (2007). "[R]eview
under § 2254(d)(1) is limited to the record that was
before the state court that adjudicated the claim on the
merits." Pinholster, 563 U.S. at 181. In
Pinholster, the Court reasoned that the
"backward-looking language" present in §
2254(d)(1) "requires an examination of the state-court
decision at the time it was made," and, therefore, the
record under review must be "limited to the record in
existence at that same time, i.e., the record before the
state court." Id. at 182.