United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
J. Lodge United States District Judge.
case has been reassigned to this Court for final adjudication
of Petitioner Peter Trejo Mora's Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus challenging his state court conviction. (Dkt.
1.) Respondent has filed a Response asserting that
Petitioner's claims are procedurally defaulted,
noncognizable, or fail on the merits. (Dkt. 10.) Petitioner
has elected not to file a reply. Accordingly, the Petition is
now fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.
Court takes judicial notice of the record from
Petitioner's state court proceedings, lodged by the
parties. See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b); Dawson v.
Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 (9th Cir. 2006).
carefully reviewed the record and having considered the
arguments of the parties, the Court finds that the parties
have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in
the briefs and that oral argument is unnecessary.
See D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the
Court enters the following Order.
Standard of Law
Preliminary Procedural Requirements
habeas petitioner must exhaust his or her remedies in the
state courts before a federal court can grant relief on
constitutional claims. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel,
526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). To do so, the petitioner must
invoke one complete round of the state's established
appellate review process, fairly presenting all
constitutional claims to the state courts so that they have a
full and fair opportunity to correct alleged constitutional
errors at each level of appellate review. Id. at
845. In a state like Idaho, that has the possibility of
discretionary review in the highest appellate court, with
assignment of most criminal cases to the intermediate court
of appeals, the petitioner must have presented all of his
federal claims in a petition seeking review before that
court. Id. at 847. “Fair presentation”
requires a petitioner to describe both the operative facts
and the legal theories upon which the federal claim is based.
Gray v. Netherland, 518 U.S. 152, 162-63 (1996).
habeas petitioner has not fairly presented a constitutional
claim to the highest state court, and it is clear that the
state court would now refuse to consider it because of the
state's procedural rules, the claim is said to be
procedurally defaulted. Gray, 518 U.S. at 161-62.
Procedurally defaulted claims include those within the
following circumstances: (1) when a petitioner has completely
failed to raise a claim before the Idaho courts; (2) when a
petitioner has raised a claim, but has failed to fully and
fairly present it as a federal claim to the Idaho
courts; and (3) when the Idaho courts have rejected a claim
on an adequate and independent state procedural ground.
Id.; Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 32
(2004); Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750
a petitioner's claim is procedurally defaulted, a federal
district court may still hear the merits of the claim if the
petitioner meets one of two exceptions: (1) a showing of
actual innocence, which means that a miscarriage of justice
will occur if the constitutional claim is not heard in
federal court, Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 329
(1995); or (2) a showing of adequate legal cause for the
default and prejudice arising from the default,
Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 488
Review of the Merits of the Claims
federal habeas corpus action challenging a state court
judgment is governed by Title 28 U.S.C.§ 2254(d), as
amended by the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
of 1996 (“AEDPA”). 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;
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).
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).
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).
state appellate court did not decide a properly-asserted
federal claim, if the state court's factual findings are
unreasonable under § 2254(d)(2), or if an adequate
excuse for the procedural default of a claim exists, 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).
de novo review, if the factual findings of the state court
are not unreasonable, the Court must apply the presumption of
correctness found in 28 U.S.C. § 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 district court is not limited by §
2254(e)(1), but may consider evidence outside the state court
record, except to the extent that § 2254(e)(2) might
apply. Murray v. Schriro, 745 F.3d 984, 1000 (9th
January 1, 2012, Petitioner raped his 21-year-old niece. He
was indicted by a grand jury on charges of rape and of being
a persistent violator. In a criminal action prosecuted in the
Third Judicial District Court in Canyon County, Idaho,
Petitioner pleaded guilty to the rape charge, and the State