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Storm v. Reinke

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 29, 2014

RICKIE STORM, Petitioner,
v.
BRENT REINKE, et al, Respondents.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Rickie Storm filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging his parole revocation arising from his state court conviction. (Dkt. 1.) The Court denied Respondents' Motion to Dismiss and ordered Respondents to file a response to the Petition. (Dkt. 24.) Respondents have filed their Response, and Petitioner has filed a Reply. (Dkt. 26, 30.) While Petitioner originally requested permission to file a sur-reply and requested oral argument (Dkt. 28, 29), he has since withdrawn those requests and asks the Court to make a ruling based on the briefing before the Court. (Dkt. 34.)

Having reviewed the record and the parties' briefing, the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary, and enters the following Order giving Petitioner notice that it intends to deny and dismiss the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for the reason set forth herein below and providing him with an opportunity for a final response to show cause why this case should not be dismissed with prejudice.

CONSIDERATION OF MERITS OF PETITION

1. Standard of Law

A. AEDPA Review Standard

Federal habeas corpus relief may be granted on claims adjudicated on the merits in a state court judgment when the federal court determines that the petitioner "is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Under § 2254(d), as amended by the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), federal habeas corpus relief is further limited to instances where the state-court adjudication of the merits:

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.

A state court need not "give reasons before its decision can be deemed to have been adjudicated on the merits.'" Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 785 (2011).

When a party contests the state court's legal conclusions, including application of the law to the facts, § 2254(d)(1) governs. That section consists of two alternative tests: the "contrary to" test and the "unreasonable application" test.

Under the first test, for a decision to be "contrary to" clearly established federal law, the petitioner must show that the state court applied a rule of law different from the governing law set forth in United States Supreme Court precedent, or that the state court confronted a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of the Supreme Court and nevertheless arrived at a result different from the Court's precedent. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404-06 (2000).

Under the second test, to satisfy the "unreasonable application" clause of § 2254(d)(1), the petitioner must show that the state court was "unreasonable in applying the governing legal principle to the facts of the case." Williams, 529 U.S. at 413. The United States Supreme Court has explained: "Section 2254(d)(1) provides a remedy for instances in which a state court unreasonably applies this Court's precedent; it does not require state courts to extend that precedent or license federal courts to treat the failure to do so as error." White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1706 (2014).

A federal court cannot grant relief simply because it concludes in its independent judgment that the decision is incorrect or wrong; the state court's application of federal law must be objectively unreasonable to warrant relief. Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75 (2003); Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002). To warrant habeas corpus relief, a petitioner must show that the challenged state-court ruling "was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement." Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 786-87 (2011).

In Richter, the United States Supreme Court explained that, under § 2254(d), a habeas court (1) "must determine what arguments or theories supported or... could have supported, the state court's decision;" and (2) "then it must ask whether it is possible fairminded jurists could disagree that those arguments or theories are inconsistent with the holding in a prior decision of this Court." Id. at 786. If fairminded jurists could disagree on the correctness of the state court's decision, then a federal court cannot grant relief under § 2254(d)(1). Id. The Supreme Court emphasized: "It bears repeating that even a strong case for relief does not mean the state court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable." Id. (internal citation omitted).

As to the facts, the United States Supreme Court has clarified "that review under § 2254(d)(1) is limited to the record that was before the state court that adjudicated the claim on the merits." Cullen v. Pinholster, 131 S.Ct. 1388, 1398 (2011). This means that evidence not presented to the state court may not be introduced on federal habeas review if a claim was adjudicated on the merits in state court and if the underlying factual ...


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