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Yakovac v. Underwood

September 14, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge



Pending before the Court in this habeas corpus matter is Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. 14.) The parties have consented to a United States Magistrate Judge conducting all proceedings, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636. (Dkt. 11.) The Court finds that decisional process would not be aided by oral argument, and it will resolve the Motion on the record after consideration of the parties' written submissions.*fn1

D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d).

For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Respondent's Motion, and this case will be dismissed.


On February 20, 2004, police officers in Pocatello were responding to a call of a physical confrontation when Petitioner waved them down from her pickup truck. (State's Lodging A-2, p. 17-19.) Petitioner had a cut on her forehead and blood on her face. (State's Lodging A-2, pp. 18-20.) She told the officers that a Camille Mikelson had hit her with a slotted spoon after she went to the Mikelson's apartment to confront her about the theft of Petitioner's cell phone. (State's Lodging A-2, pp. 18-20.)

The officers ran Petitioner's identity through dispatch and learned that she had active warrants for her arrest. (State's Lodging A-2, p. 19.) She was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment, where she was given a urinalysis test that revealed the presence of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine in her system. (State's Lodging A-2, p. 29.) Officers searched Petitioner's pickup incident to the arrest and discovered a cigarette package in a coat pocket that contained a small spatula and a glass pipe with residue that later tested positive for methamphetamine. (State's Lodging D-7, p. 2.)

Petitioner was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, and with being a persistent violator of the law. (State's Lodging A-2, pp. 33-34, 36-37.) She was convicted after a jury trial, and the trial court sentenced her to fifteen years in prison with the first five years fixed. (State's Lodging A-1, pp. 103-06, 113-16.)

While her direct appeal was pending, Petitioner filed an application for post-conviction relief, alleging that she had been deprived of her right to the effective assistance of counsel and that the judge had made prejudicial comments during the trial. (State's Lodging B-1, p. 4.) The district court dismissed the application without holding an evidentiary hearing (State's Lodging B-1, pp. 16-21), and Petitioner's appeal from that decision was consolidated with the direct appeal from her conviction. (State's Lodging C-1.)

The Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction but reversed the dismissal of the post-conviction, concluding that Petitioner had established genuine issues of material fact with respect to certain claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. (State's Lodging C-5.) The Idaho Supreme Court then reviewed the case and affirmed the district court in all respects. (State's Lodging D-7.)

In her Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Petitioner again alleges that (1) she was deprived of her Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of trial counsel, (2) the trial judge made prejudicial comments to the jury that violated her right to a fair trial and due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment, and (3) the trial judge admitted test results into evidence that should have been suppressed under the Fourth Amendment.

The Court conducted an initial review of the Petition and ordered the Clerk of Court to serve it on Respondent. (Dkt. 6.) Respondent has filed an Answer and the pending Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 13, 14.) Petitioner has responded to the Motion, and the matter is now ripe for the Court's decision.


Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate where "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Summary judgment procedure is applicable to habeas proceedings, see Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 80-81 (1977), but a motion for summary judgment must be reviewed in light of the substantive law and standards governing federal habeas proceedings.

Those standards are found in the provisions of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). Under AEDPA, the Court cannot grant habeas relief on any federal claim that the state court adjudicated on the merits 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 ...

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