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Storm v. Reinke

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 6, 2015

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 the revocation of his parole, arising from a state criminal conviction. (Dkt. 1.) The Court denied Respondents' Motion to Dismiss and ordered them 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Petitioner originally requested permission to file a sur-reply and requested oral argument (Dkt. 28, 29), he has since withdrawn those requests and asks the Court to rule on the briefing before the Court. (Dkt. 34.)

Petitioner also notified the Court that his case file had been destroyed while he was on parole. The Court provided Petitioner with a new copy, and gave him 21 days to file any final response to the Court's notice of intent to dismiss this case. (Dkt. 48.) Petitioner has filed his final response. (Dkt. 49.)

Having reviewed the record and the parties' briefing, the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order denying and dismissing the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.

CONSIDERATION OF MERITS OF PETITION

1. Standard of Law

Federal habeas corpus relief may be granted where a petitioner "is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Where the petitioner challenges a state court judgment in which the petitioner's federal claims were adjudicated on the merits, then Title 28 U.S.C.§ 2254(d), as amended by the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), applies. Title 28 U.S.C.§ 2254(d) limits relief to instances where the state court's adjudication of the petitioner's 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; 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.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). A federal habeas court reviews the state court's "last reasoned decision" in determining whether a petitioner is entitled to relief. Ylst v. Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 804 (1991).

Where a petitioner 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, a state court's decision is "contrary to" clearly established federal law "if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in [the Supreme Court's] cases, or if it decides a case differently than [the Supreme Court] [has] done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts." Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002).

Under the second test, to satisfy the "unreasonable application" clause of § 2254(d)(1) the petitioner must show that the state court-although it identified "the correct governing legal rule" from Supreme Court precedent-nonetheless "unreasonably applie[d] it to the facts of the particular state prisoner's case." Williams (Terry) v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 407 (2000). "Section 2254(d)(1) provides a remedy for instances in which a state court unreasonably applies [Supreme Court] 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 habeas relief simply because it concludes in its independent judgment that the state court's decision is incorrect or wrong; rather, 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, 535 U.S. at 694. If fairminded jurists could disagree on the correctness of the state court's decision, then relief is not warranted under § 2254(d)(1). Harrington v. Richter, 131 S.Ct. 770, 786 (2011). The Supreme Court emphasized that "even a strong case for relief does not mean the state court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable." Id. (internal citation omitted).

Though the source of clearly established federal law must come only from the holdings of the United States Supreme Court, circuit precedent may be persuasive authority for determining whether a state court decision is an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent. Duhaime v. Ducharme, 200 F.3d 597, 600-01 (9th Cir. 1999). However, circuit law may not be used "to refine or sharpen a general principle of Supreme Court jurisprudence into a specific legal rule that th[e] [Supreme] Court has not announced." Marshall v. Rodgers, 133 S.Ct. 1446, 1450 (2013).

If the state appellate court did not decide a properly-asserted federal claim on the merits-or if the state court's factual findings are unreasonable under § 2254(d)(2)-then § 2254(d)(1) does not apply, and the federal district court reviews the claim de novo. Pirtle v. Morgan, 313 F.3d 1160, 1167 (9th Cir. 2002). In such a case, as in the pre-AEDPA era, a district court can draw from both United States Supreme Court and well as circuit precedent, limited only by the non-retroactivity rule of Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989).

Under de novo review, if the factual findings of the state court are not unreasonable, the Court must apply the presumption of correctness found in § 2254(e)(1) to any facts found by the state courts. Pirtle, 313 F.3d at 1167. Contrarily, if a state court factual determination is unreasonable, or if there are no state court factual findings, the federal court is not limited by § 2254(e)(1), the federal district court may consider evidence outside the state court record, except to the extent that § 2254(e)(2) might apply (limiting evidentiary hearings for failure to develop the factual basis of the claim in state court). Murray v. Schriro, 745 F.3d 984, 1000 (9th Cir. 2014).

Parole revocation is not part of a criminal prosecution. Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 480 (1972). Revocation of parole is remedial rather than punitive, because it seeks to protect the welfare of parolees and the safety of society. Gagnon v. ...


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