United States District Court, D. Nevada
MIRANDA M. DU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court for a decision on the merits is a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus filed by Jesus Rodas, an individual
incarcerated in Nevada. (ECF No. 8.) For the reasons that
follow, the Petition will be denied.
state district court for Clark County, Nevada, Rodas pled
guilty to battery with use of a deadly weapon resulting in
substantial bodily harm and robbery. (ECF No. 14-7 at 2.) The
court sentenced him to 6-15 years on the former and 3-10
years on the latter, to be served consecutively. (ECF No.
14-8 at 11.) The judgment of conviction was entered on
November 20, 2013. (ECF No. 14-10 at 2.)
did not file a direct appeal. On October 30, 2014, he filed,
pro se, a state habeas petition in the state
district court. (ECF No. 14-12 at 2.) Appointed counsel filed
a supplemental petition. (ECF No. 14-18.) In response, the
State conceded a hearing was necessary on Rodas's claim
that he was deprived of his right to an appeal under
Lozada v. State, 871 P.2d 944 (Nev. 1994). (ECF No.
14-20 at 6.) The court held an evidentiary hearing on January
15, 2016, and subsequently denied the petition. (ECF No.
14-22 (hearing transcript); ECF No. 15-1 (order).)
appealed. (ECF No. 15-3.) The Nevada Court of Appeals
affirmed. (ECF No. 15-17.) On September 12, 2016, Rodas
mailed, or handed to a prison official for the purpose of
mailing, his federal petition for writ of habeas corpus
containing two grounds. (ECF No. 8.) This Court gave Rodas an
opportunity to amend the Petition to cure defects in Ground
One. (ECF No. 7.) When Rodas failed to file an amended
petition, the Court dismissed Ground One. (ECF No. 10.) The
Court now decides Ground Two on the merits.
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.
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.
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) (first quoting Lindh
v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333 n.7 (1997); then quoting
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 omitted).
federal court may not second-guess a state court's
fact-finding process unless, after review of the state-court
record, it determines that the state court was not merely
wrong, but actually unreasonable.” Taylor v.
Maddox,366 F.3d 992, 999 (9th Cir. 2004), overruled
on other grounds by Murray v. Schriro,745 F.3d 984,
999-1000 (9th Cir. 2014); see also Miller-El, 537
U.S. at 340 (“[A] decision adjudicated on the merits in
a state court and based on a factual determination will not
be overturned ...