Contreras v. Neven et al, No. 2:2007cv01418 - Document 25 (D. Nev. 2010)

Court Description: ORDER Denying 6 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Clerk shall enter judgment for respondents and close this case. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY IS DENIED. Signed by Judge Robert C. Jones on 4/21/10. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - EDS)
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. 1 ': l 1 . ; : k ' é.J 72; . E :y;: 4 !' !: . '. ë; ! jj*') . .. 1 , ' ' 2 / . 3 : tt . 4 5 6 UNITED STA TES DISTR IC T C O URT 7 DISTR ICT O F NEVA DA 8 SERGIO CONTRERAS, 9 Petitioner, 10 vs. l1 DW IGHT NEVEN,claI., 12 Respondents. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 2:07-cv-14l8-RCJ-GW F ORDER / 13 14 Thisaction isaprosepetition forawritofhabeascorpuspursuantto28 U.S.C.j2254,Gled 15 by Sergio Contreras,aN evada state prisoner. Thiscase isbeforethecourtfordecision on the m crits. 16 l7 Contreras v. Neven et al PR O CED URAL HISTOR Y On Janual'y 10,2005,in the Eighth JudicialD istrictCourt,a second am ended inform ation was 18 filed,charging petitionerw ith one countofrobbery with thc use ofa deadly w eapon,two countsof Doc. 25 19 battery with the use of a deadly wcapon resulting in bodily harm , and two counts of m alicious 20 destructionofproperty.(Exhibit4).OnJanuary 14,2005,petitionerwasfoundguiltybyajuryofall 21 counts. (Exhibit6). On M arch l7,2005,petitionerwas scntenced to the following:on Countl,a 22 m axim um of156 m onthsin the Nevada Dcpartm entofCorrcctionswith a m inim um parole eligibility 23 of35m onths,plusan equalandconsecutive term ofam axim um of156m onthswith am inim um parole 24 eligibility of 35 m onthsforthe use ofa dcadly w capon;on Count2,a m axim um of60 m onthsin the 25 Nevada Departm entofCorrcctionsw ith am inim um parole eligibility of24 m onthsto run consecutive 26 to C ount 1, 'on Count3,a m axim um of 60 m onths in the N cvada Departm entofCorrections with a Dockets.Justia.com 1 m inim um parole eligibility of24 m onths,to run concurrentwith Counts land 2' ,Count4,12 m onths 2 in the Clark County Detention Center to run concurrentw ith Counts 1,2,3,and 4' ,on Count5,12 3 m onthsin theClark County D etention C enterto run concurrentw ith C ounts 1,2,3,and 4. Petitioner 4 received323dayscrcditfortimeserved.(Exhibit7).ThejudgmentofconvictionwastiledonMarch 5 29,2005. (Exhibit8). 6 PctitionertiledanotieeofappealonMarch22,2005.(Exhibit9).Petitioner'sdirectappcalfast 7 track statemcntwasfiled on July 13,2005.(Exhibit10).On January30,2006,thcNevadaSuprem e 8 Courtfiled itsorderaffirming in part,reversingin part,andremandingjudgment. (Exhibit12).The 9 reversaland rem and was forthe purpose of correcting the allocation of petitioner's creditfor tim ed 10 served.(ld.,atp.7).RemittiturissuedonFcbruazy24,2006.(Exhibit13). 11 Petitionertiled apost-conviction habeaspetition in thestatedistrictcourton September5,2006. l2 (Exhibit14). The state districtcourtdenied the petition by written orderon Decembcr 22,2006. 13 (Exhibitl6). Pctitioner filed a notice ofappealon January l0,2007. (Exhfbit17). The Nevada 14 SupremeCourtissued itsorderofaftirmanceon July 24,2007. (Exhibit18). Rem ittimrissued on l5 August21,2007.(Exhibit19). 16 Thïs Courtrcceived the federalhabeaspetition on O ctober 22,2007. Petitionerasserted tive 17 groundsin the federalpetition. (Dockct//5). On August 18,2008,respondentstiled a motion to l8 dismiss.(Docket//16.) OnM arch 26,2009 theCourtentered an ordergrantingrespondents'motion 19 todismiss.(Docket//22.)TheCourtdismissedGround1withprcjudiceforfailuretostateaclaim,and 20 consolidatcd Grounds 4 and sw ith Ground 2,crcating a single ground for relief for ineffective 21 assistance ofcounscl,w ith m ultiple sub-parts.The courtalso found thatground 3 wasunexhausted. 22 On M arch 31,2009,petitionertiled a sw orn declaration abandoning Ground 3 and stating that 23 he wished to proceed with the remaining groundsforrelief. (Docket//23.) On April21,2009, 24 rcspondentsfiledan answerto theremaininggroundsforrelief.(Docket//24.) 25 /// 26 /// 2 1 2 LEG AL STANDA RD S On April24,1996,Ctmgressenactcd the Antiterrorism and EffectiveD eath PenaltyA ctof1996 3 (ISAEDPAD'),whichappliestoallpctitionsforwritofhabeascorpusfiledafteritsenactm ent.Lindh :'. 4 M urphy,521U .S.320,l17S.Ct.2059,2063(1997),cert.#c??I 'gJ,522U.S.l008,118S.Ct.586(1997). , 5 Jqffriesv.Wood,114F.3d 1484,1499(9t hCir.1997)(quotingDrinkardv.Johnson,97F.3d751,769 6 (5thCjr.1996),cert.denied,520U.S.1107,ll7S.Ct.lll4(1997),overruledonothergroundsbyLindh 7 v.M urphy,521U.S.320,1l7 S.Ct.2059(l997)(holding AEDPA only applicableto casestiled after 8 statute's enactment), The instantpetition was filed after the enactm entofthe AEDPA,thusitis 9 governed by itsprovisions. 10 This courtm ay entertain a petition forwritofhabeas corpusiçin behalfofa person in custody 11 pursuanttothejudgmentofaStatecourtonlyonthegroundthatheisincustodyinviolation ofthe l2 Constitution orlawsortrcatiesoftheUnited States,''28 U.S.C.j 2254(a. ). 13 TheA EDPA altcred thestandard ofreview thata federalhabeascourtm ustapply with respect 14 toastateprisoner'sclaim thatwasadjudicatedonthemeritsinstatecourt.Williamsk.Taylor,l20S.Ct. 15 l495,1518-23(2000).UndertheAEDPA,anapplication forhabeascorpuswillnotbegrantedunless 16 theadjudicationoftheclaim 'iresultedinadecisionthatwascontraryto,orinvolved anunreasonable 17 application of,clearly established Federal law ,as determ ined by the Suprem e Court of the United 18 Statesk''ortGresulted in adecision thatw asbased on an unreasonable determ ination ofthefactsin light 19 ofthcevidencepresented intheStatcCourtproceeding.''28U.S.C.j2254(d), .Lockyerv.Andrade,l23 20 S.Ct.1166,1173(2003)(disapprovingofthcNinthCircuit'sapproachinVanTranv.Lindsey,l12F.3d 21 ll43(9'bCir.2000))* ,Willialnsv.Taylor,l20S.Ct.1495,1523(2000).ttA fcderalhabeascourtmaynot 22 issuethewritsimplybecausethatcourtconcludesinitsindependentjudgmentthatthcrelevantstate23 courtdecision applied clearly established federallaw crroneously or incorrcctly.'' Lockyer,at l174 24 (citationsomitted).6clkathcr,thatapplicationmustbeobjectivelyunreasonable.''Id.(citationsomitted). 25 W hile habeas corpus relicf is an im portant instlum ent to assure that individualsare 26 constitutionallyprotected,Barqjbotv.Estelle,463 U.S.880,887,103 S.Ct.3383,339l-3392(1983)' , Harrisv.Nelson,394U.S.286,290,89S.Ct.1082,1086(1969),directreview ofacrim inalconviction 3 l istheprim arym ethod forapetitionerto challengethatconviction.Brechtv.Abrahamson,507U .S.619, 2 633,l13S.Ct.1710,l7l9(1993).lnaddition,thestatccourt'sfactualdeterminationsmustbepresumed 3 convct,andthefederalcourtm ustacceptallfactualGndingsm adebythestatecourtunlessthepetitioner 4 canrebutt'thepresumption ofcorrectnessby clearand convincing evidence.''28U.S.C.j2254(e)(1). , 5 Purkettv.Elem,5l4 U.S.765,115S.Ct.1769 (1995),Thompson v.Keohane,516 U.S.99,116 S.Ct. 6 457(1995), .Langfordv.Day,l10F.3d 1380,1388(9tbCir.1997). 7 8 DISCUSSIO N In Ground 2,the sole rem aining ground forreliefin this action,petitionerraisesseveralclaim s 9 ofineffectiveassistanceofcounsel.The1aw governingineffectiveassistanceofcounselclaim sisclearly 10 establishedforthepurposesoftIAeAEDPA deferencestandardsetforthin28U.S.C.j2254(d).Canales v.Roe,151F.3d 1226,1229(9'hCir.1998.) lnapetition forwlitofhabeascorpusalleging ineffective 12 assistanceofcounsel,thecourtm ustconsidertwofactors.Stricklandv.Washington,466 U.S.668,687, 13 104S.Ct.2052,2064 (1984),Lowky v.Lcwfx,21F.3d344,346(9thCir.1994).First,thepetitionermust 14 show thatcounsel'sperform ancewasdeficient,requiring a show ing thatcounselm adeerrorsso serious 15 thatheorshe wasnotfunctioning asthe''counsel''guarantecd bythe Sixth A m cndm ent.Strickland,466 16 U.S.at687.Thepetitionermustshow thatcounsel' srepresentationfellbelow anobjectivestandardof l7 reasonableness,and m ust identify counsel's alleged acts or om issions that were not the result of 18 rcasonablcprofessionaljudgmentconsidcringthecircumstances./J.at688. ,UnitedStatesv.Quintero19 Barraza,78 F.3d l344,1348 (9thCir.1995). Judicialscrutiny ofcounscl'sperfonnance ishighly 20 deferential.A courtindulgesa strongpresum ption thatcounsel'sconductfallswithin thew iderange of 21 reasonableprofcssionalassistance.Strickland,466U.S.668,687,104S.Ct.2052,2064(1984), .Sanders 22 v.Ratelle,21F.3d 1446,1456(9t hCir.1994). 23 Second,the petitioncr m ustdem onstrate that 'there is a reasonable probability that,but for 24 counsel's unprot-essionalerrors,the result w ould have been different,''466 U .S.,at694.Petitioner 25 m ustshow thatcounsel'serrorsw ereso egregiousasto deprivedefendantofafairtrial,onew hoseresult 26 is reliable. Strickland, 466 U .S. at 688. The court m ust evaluate whether the entire trial w as 4 l fundamentallyunfairorurlreliablebecauseofcounsel'sineffectiveness./J,,'Quintero-Barraza,78F.3d 2 atl345, 'UnitedStatesv.Palomba,31F.3d 1356,1461(9thCir.1994). 3 A courtnced notdeterm ine whcthercounsel'sperform ance wasdeficientbefore cxam ining the 4 prejudicesufferedbythepetitionerasaresultoftheallegeddcticiencies.Strickland,466U.S.668,697, 5 104S.Ct.2052,2074(1984).Sinccthedefendantmustaffirmativelyproveprejudice,anydeticiency 6 thatdoesnotresultin prcjudiccmustneccssarily fail.However,therearecertaininstanccswhich are 7 legallypresumedtoresultinprejudice,e.g.,wheretherchasbccnanactualorconstructivedenialofthe 8 assistance ofcounselorwherc thc Statc hasinterfered with counsel's assistance.See Strickland,466 9 U .S.at692. ,United States v.Cronic',466 U ,S.,at659,and n.25,104 S.Ct.,at2046-2047,and n.25 10 (1984). ll lneffectiveassistanceofcounselclaim sarcanalyzed underthet' unreasonableapplication''prong 12 ofWilliamsv.Taylor,529U.S.362(2000). Weighallv.M iddle,215F.3d l058,l062 (2000).tiunder 13 the iunreasonable application' clause,a fcderal habeas court m ay grant the writ if the state court 14 identitiesthe correctgoverning legalprinciple from kunited States Supreme Courtldecisions but 15 unreasonably appliesthatprinciple to thefactsofthe prisoner'scase.'' W illiams,529 U.S.at413.The l6 habeas corpusapplicantbearsthe burden to show thatthc state courtapplied Unitcd States Suprem e 17 Courtprecedentin an objcctivelyunreasonablemanner. Pricev.Vincent,538 U.S.634,640 (2003). 18 The Nevada Suprem e Courtaddrcssed petitioner's presentclaim s ofineffective assistancc of 19 counselin itsordcrofJuly 24,2007,aftirm ing thedistrictcourt'sdcnialofpetitioner'spost-conviction 20 pctition forw ritofhabeascorpus. Exhibitl8. In reviewing petitioner's claim s,theN evada Suprem e 21 Courtapplied the Stickland standard. /J.,p.4. 22 Petitioner tirstcontcnds thatdefense counselwas inadcquate in failing to conductsufficient 23 prctrialinvestigation.Respondentdisputesthiscontention.lnaddressingtheissue,theNevadaSuprem e 24 Courtheld as follow s: 25 26 Sixth,appellantclaim ed thathiscounselwasineffective forfailing to investigate.ln particular, he claim ed that his counsel did not test the truck for blood or drugs, did not request fingerprintingofthegun clip,and failedtohaveappellant'sw atch subm itted forforcnsictesting. 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Appellant'scounsclcould nothave preserved the evidence leftin the truck on the nightofthe incidentasithad been returned to the ow nerthe nextday.M orcover,itisnotclearhow testing forblood could havcaided appellant'sdefense asboth theprosecution and defense agreed that Garciahadbeeninjuredinthetruck,butappellanthadnot.W hilethepresenccofdnlgscould lend credenceto appellant'sclaim thatthctw om cn had intended to takedrugs,thetestcould not show if those drugs w ere let in the truck before or after the truck was taken from Garcia. Regarding thegun clip,whethertheclip wasdevoid oftingerprintsorboreanotherindividual's fingerprints would notnecessarily have warranted its exclusion or rendered it exculpatory evidence.Theprintswouldnothavesigniticantlyunderm ined Garcia'stestim onythatappellant brandished a tireann then struck him in the face with it. Lastly,counselw asnotdeticientfor failing to havc appellant's w atch tested as the presence of blood on the w atch w ould not conclusively show thatappellantstruck G arciaw ith thew atch instcad ofm erelyw orethew atch while he pistol-w hipped and stabbed Garcia. Accordingly,the district courtdid not err in denying thisclaim . 8 Exhibit18,p.8-9. 9 ThisCourtfindsthatpctitionerhasprovided nothing to show thattheN evada Suprem cCourt's 10 adjudication ofthe claim 'sresulted in a decision thatwascontrary to,orinvolved an unreasonable 11 application of,clearly established Federal law,as determ ined by the Suprem c Court of the United l2 Statesi''or''resulted in adecision thatw asbased on an unreasonablcdeterm ination ofthcfactsin light 13 ofthe evidence presented in the Statc Courtproceeding.''28 U.S.C.j 2254(d).The Courtfinds, l4 therefore,thatpetitionerhasfailed to can'yhisburden and thatthisfirstcontention providcsno basisfor 15 habcas corpusrelief. 16 Second,petitionercontendsthatcounselwasineffectiveforfailingtopresenttothejurytheprior 17 inconsistentstatem ents ofthcvictim ,the state'skey witncsscs. Respondentdisputesthis contention. 18 In addressing thisand sim ilarlyunsupported claim s,theNevadaSuprem eCourtheld:çitheseclaim swcre 19 only tcrse statcm cnts that were not supported by specific facts w hich,if true,w ould have entitled 20 appellanttorelief.gFootnotcomittcd.) Accordingly,thedistrictcourtdid noterrin denying the 2l 22 23 claims.'' (Exhibitl8,p.3.) Third,petitionercontendsthatcounselwasineffectiveforfailingtoobjecttothejuozpoolon theground thatitdidnotcontain anym em bersofpetitioner'srace.Respondentdisputesthiscontention. 24 25 26 TheNevada Suprem eCourtrejected thiscontention,rtllingasfollows: Third,appellantclaimedthathiscounselfailedtoobjecttothejurypoolasitdidnotcontainany mcmbersofhisracc.gFootnote12.1Ourreview oftherecordonappealrevealsthatthedistrict 6 court did not err in denying appellant relief on this claim . A ppellant had the burden of establishing a prime facie violation ofthe fair-cross-section requirem ent.gFootnote 13.jTo 2 dcm onstrate a prim a facie violation, appellant m ust dem onstrate that the group allegedly 3 4 excluded from thejury venirewasaçidistinctive''group in thecommunity,thatrepresentation ofthatgroupinjuryvenireswasnotfairandreasonableinrelationtotheproportionofmembcrs ofthatgroupinthecommunity,andthattheunder-representationofthatgroupinjuryvenires wasdueto systematicexclusion ofthatgroup in thejury selection process.(Footnote 14.j 5 individualsweresystematicallyexcludedfrom thevenireorthejurrselectionprocess,orthat 6 Appellantfailed to satisfy this three-parttest. Appellantfailed to dem onstrate thatHispanic thc percentagc of H ispanic individuals within the venire w as not fair and reasonable in proportion to the num berofsuch personsin thecom m unity. Thus,the districtcourtdid noterr in denying this claim . 7 Footnote l2:W e note thatnothing in the record beforethiscourtsupport's appellant's 8 statementrcgardingtheracialcomposition ofthejury. 9 Footnote 13:Evansv.State,112Nev.ll72,1186,929P.2d 265,275(1996). 10 Footnote l4:See Duren v.M ississippi,439 U.S.357,364 (1979). 1l Exhibit18,p.6. 12 Fourth,petitionercontcndsthatcounselwasineffectiveforfailingtoobjecttotheintroduction l3 ofthegunclip,whichpetitioncrclaimswashighlyprejudicialandwasobtainedinanillegalsearch. 14 Respondentdisputesthiscontention.ThcNevadaSupremeCourtrejcctedthiscontentionasfollows: 15 Fourth,appcllantclaimedthathiscounselfailedtoobjecttotheintroductionofthegun 16 testimonyaboutthemissingstereo isbeliedbytherecord.Appellant'scounselobjected 17 objcctionandinstructed thejul' ytodisrcgardthetestimony. Regardingthegunclip, 18 19 20 clip and the testim ony about the m issing stereo. Appellant's claim concerning thc to the victim 'stcstim ony aboutthe m issing stcreo and the districtcourtsustained the appellant did notallege any factualbasis for why the gun clip should nothave been adm itted. H e asserted no constitutional violation in the m anner in w hich it was discovered.gFootnote15.1 Further,hcdidnotshow thatapm'tofafircarm locatedin an apartm entto which appellanthad accessw asirrclevantto whetherappellanthadused afirearm in thecrime.gFootnote 16.jThus,hedidnotdemonstrateasufticientbasisfor hiscounsel'sobjectiontoitsadmission.Accordingly,thedistrictcourtdidnoterrin denying thisclaim . 21 Footnote 15:NRS 48.025(1)(b). 22 23 24 Footnote 16:NRS48.025(1). Fifth,petitionercontendsthatcounselwasineffectiveforfailingtoobjecttotheadmission m aterially unrcliable evidenceofdeadly weapons.Respondentdisputcsthiscontention.This 25 the claim s,referenccd above,in regard to which the Nevada Suprcm e Courtheld:çGthese claim sw ere 26 7 1 only terse statem ents thatw ere notsupported by specitic facts which,if tl-ue,would have entitled 2 appellantto relief.(Footnote om itted.) Accordingly,the districtcourtdid noterrin denying the 3 claims.''(Exhibitl8,p.3.) 4 ThisCourttindsthatpetitionerprovidesno argum entin supportofhisburden under28 U.S.C. 5 j2254(d)inregardtohissecond,third,fourth ortifth contentions.Thatis,petitionerdoesnotprovide 6 anydiscussionoftheNcvadaSupremeCourt'sadjudicationoftheclaim inanattempttoshow thatit 7 ççresultcd in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonablc application of, clearly 8 established Federallaw ,as determ ined by the Suprem e Courtofthe United Statesi''orSçrcsultcd in a 9 decision thatwasbased on an unreasonabledeterm ination ofthefactsin lightoftheevidenceprescntcd 10 in theStateCourtproceeding.''28U.S.C.j2254(d).TheCourtfinds,therefore,thatthesecontentions 11 provide no basisforhabcascorpusrclief. 12 ln order to proceed with an appeal,petitioner m ustreceive a certiticate ofappealability. 28 13 U.S.C.j2253(c( )(1);Fed.R.App.P.22' ,9tbCir.R.22-l;Allen v.Ornoski,435F.3d946,950-951(9th 14 Cir.2006). ,scc also United States v.M ikels,236 F.3d 550,551-52 (9th Cir.2001). Generally,a l5 petitioner m ust m ake ita substantial show ing of the denial of a constitutional right''to warrant a 16 certiticateofappealability.f#.;28U.S.C.j2253(c)(2)' ,Slackv.M cllaniel,529U.S.473,483-84(2000). 17 tç-rhcpctitioncrmustdemonstratethatreasonablejuristswouldfindthedistrictcourt'sassessmentofthe 18 constitutionalclaimsdebatableorwrong.''1d.(quoting Slack,529U.S.at484).In orderto meetthis 19 threshold inquiry,thepetitionerhasthe burden ofdem onstrating thatthe issuesare debatable am ong 20 juristsofreason' ,thatacourtcouldresolvetheissuesdifferently;orthatthequestionsareadequateto 21 desen,e encouragem entto proceed fttrther. /J. 22 Pursuantto the Decem bcr 1,2009 am cndm entto Rule 1l oftheRulesG overning Section 2254 23 and 2255 Cases,district courts are required to rule on the certificate of appealability in the order 24 disposing ofaproceeding adversely to thepetitionerorm ovant,ratherthan waitingforanoticeofappeal 25 andrequestforcertiticateofappealabîlitytobetiled.Rulcl1(a).ThisCourthasconsideredtheissues 26 raised by petitioner,w ith respectto whethcr thcy satisfy the standard for issuance ofa ccrtificate of 8 1 appealability,and determ inesthatnone m eetthatstandard. The Courtwillthercfore deny petitionera 2 cel-tificate ofappealability. 3 IT IS TH EREFO R E O R DERED thatthispetition forw ritofhabeascorpusisDEN IED .The 4 courtshallenterjudgmentforrcspondentsandclosethiscasc. 5 IT IS FUR TH ER O RD ERED thata certiticateofappealability isDEN IED . 6 Datedthis .11k . 2-dayofApril,2010. 7 8 9 . 10 U NITED STA 1l 12 13 14 15 16 17 l8 l9 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 9 D ISTRICT JUD GE