United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye, U.S. District Court Judge.
Alfaro's Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is
fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. Dkts. 6, 24, 25. The
Court takes judicial notice of the records from
Petitioner's state court proceedings, which have been
lodged by the parties. See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b);
Dawson v. Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 (9th Cir.
2006). Having carefully reviewed the record, including the
state court record, the Court finds that the parties have
adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the
briefs and record and that oral argument is unnecessary.
See D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the
Court enters the following Order.
OF PRELIMINARY MOTIONS
before the Court are Respondent Al Ramirez's requests for
extensions of time regarding briefing of the remaining
issues. Dkts. 22, 23. Good cause appearing, both motions will
be granted. Respondent's Response to the Amended Petition
is considered timely.
Idaho Court of Appeals provided the following background to
In the summer of 2004, [the town of] Caldwell[, Idaho]
experienced a spate of drive-by shootings between rival
gangs. One shooting occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. on
August 14, 2004, while Javier “Harvey” Rodriguez,
Sael Castillo, Jason Alverado and Carlos Chavez, all
associated with the “Westside Lomas” (Westside)
gang, were at Rodriguez's house. A vehicle drove by, and
two of its passengers began shooting at the house, resulting
in Chavez being killed. It was the third shooting
investigated by Caldwell police that night alone.
When police arrived on the scene they found various bullet
casings in the area, but the bullet that killed Chavez could
not be tied to a particular weapon. One neighbor reported
seeing a blue car speed away after the shooting, while
another described a light tan car with three occupants.
Rodriguez told the police he arrived at the house mere
moments before the shooting and that Castillo and Alverado
were outside in front of the house and Chavez was inside at
the time. He could not describe the vehicle from which the
shots had been fired and was generally uncooperative in
aiding the investigation. After interviewing over 100 people
in relation to Chavez's death, the police never recovered
a weapon, never identified the vehicle, and had no suspects.
In June 2005, Evan Musquiz, a teenager associated with the
“Eastside Locos” (Eastside) gang, who was
thirteen years old at the time of Chavez's shooting, told
police he had been in a light blue four-door car with other
Eastsiders, Arandu Maceda, Richard Alaniz, and a person he
only knew as “Mike” who was driving. Musquiz
stated the four had driven around for a while and then drove
by a residence where Maceda and Alaniz opened fire, shooting
at the house and the men in front of the house. Musquiz was
shown a six person photo lineup, in which Alfaro was number
three, and indicated “Mike” was either two or
three. Musquiz could not identify the time of year or the
time of day the shooting had taken place, other than to say
it was dark. When police provided Musquiz with the location
of Rodriguez's house and asked whether it was the
location of the shooting, Musquiz said yes. Following
Musquiz's interview, Alaniz denied any involvement in the
In June 2009, another Eastside gang member, Mario Flores, was
charged with multiple felonies, including recruiting gang
members, supplying firearms, and witness intimidation. Police
questioned him as to whether he had any knowledge pertaining
to Chavez's death, which he had denied possessing when
interviewed shortly after the shooting. This time, Flores
told police he had observed Maceda and Musquiz getting into a
black Cadillac with Alfaro and Alaniz on the night of August
14, 2004. In exchange for his cooperation, all charges
against Flores were dismissed.
State's Lodging B-4, pp. 1-2.
plea-bargaining codefendants who participants in the drive-by
shooting that resulted in Chavez's death ended up
testifying against Petitioner Alfaro in a state criminal
action in the Third Judicial District Court in Canyon County,
Idaho. Petitioner was charged with and convicted by jury of
aiding and abetting first degree murder, aiding and abetting
aggravated assault, aiding and abetting unlawful use of a
firearm, and infliction of great bodily harm, for being the
driver of the car from which the shooter shot and killed
received a prison sentence of 20 fixed years, with life
indeterminate. Judgment was entered on January 3, 2011.
Petitioner filed a direct appeal and a post-conviction action
in state court. This federal habeas corpus case was stayed
for several months to permit Petitioner to exhaust his state
court remedies. Dkt. 4. Petitioner obtained no relief from
his state court actions, and this case was re-opened on May
22, 2017. Dkt. 7.
filed a Motion for Partial Summary Dismissal, which the Court
granted. Dkts. 13, 21. Claims One and Four were deemed
procedurally defaulted, and the Court determined that no
exception applied to excuse their default. Petitioner was
permitted to proceed to the merits of Claims Two and Three.
petitioner files a federal habeas corpus action to challenge
a state court judgment, 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;
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).
the source of clearly established federal law must come only
from the holdings of the United States Supreme Court, lower
federal court decisions addressing similar fact patterns may
be used as comparisons 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, 569 U.S. 58, 64 (2013).
assess whether habeas corpus relief is warranted, the federal
district court reviews “the last state-court
adjudication on the merits.” Greene v. Fisher,
565 U.S. 34, 40 (2011). The deferential standard of section
2254(d) applies regardless of whether the state court
decision “is unaccompanied by an opinion explaining the
reasons relief has been denied.” Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 98 (2011). “When a federal
claim has been presented to a state court and the state court
has denied relief, it may be presumed that the state court
adjudicated the claim on the merits in the absence of any
indication or state-law procedural principles to the