United States District Court, D. Idaho
JARED J. WILSON, Petitioner,
KEITH YORDY, Warden, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye Chief District Judge
before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
filed by Idaho state prisoner Jared J. Wilson
(“Petitioner” or “Wilson”),
challenging Petitioner's Gem County convictions on two
counts of lewd conduct with a minor under the age of sixteen.
Dkt. 3. The Petition is now fully briefed and ripe
for adjudication. Dkt. 11, 13. The Court takes
judicial notice of the records from Petitioner's state
court proceedings, which have been lodged by Respondent.
See Dkt. 10; Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); Dawson v.
Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 n.1 (9th Cir. 2006).
carefully reviewed the record in this matter, including the
state court record, the Court concludes that oral argument is
unnecessary. See D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d).
Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order denying
habeas corpus relief.
Third Judicial District Court in Gem County, Idaho,
Petitioner was charged with two counts of violating
Idaho's Sexual Offender Registration Notification and
Community Right-to-Know Act by (1) failing to register as a
sex offender and (2) failing to provide a notice of a change
separate case, Petitioner was also charged with two counts of
lewd conduct with a minor under the age of sixteen. One of
the lewd conduct counts alleged that Petitioner molested the
victim at his home in Emmett. The other count alleged that
Petitioner molested her while driving the victim between her
home in Twin Falls and his home in Emmett. The state alleged
that both lewd conduct crimes were committed “on or
between the years 2006 and 2007, ” when the victim was
seven and eight years of age. State's Lodging
A-3 at 416.
cases were consolidated, with the agreement of
Petitioner's trial counsel. Counsel's agreement was
based on his belief that, if the cases were consolidated,
Petitioner could not be charged with a persistent violator,
or habitual offender, enhancement. That belief was incorrect,
as the parties learned shortly before trial. Because
Petitioner had other qualifying convictions, he was subject
to the habitual offender enhancement regardless of whether
the cases were consolidated or were tried separately.
Petitioner's counsel later stated that his initial
agreement to consolidate the cases might have been different
if he had known about Petitioner's previous convictions.
the prosecution ran a criminal history check and discovered
the previous convictions, it suggested that it might consider
dismissing the charges, then refiling them in new
informations that included a habitual offender enhancement in
each case. At a pretrial hearing, the prosecution agreed not
to do so if Petitioner agreed to keep the cases consolidated
and to go to trial as scheduled. Petitioner's counsel so
jury convicted Petitioner on all four counts. He was
sentenced to terms of ten years in prison on each of the
registration/notification counts, and concurrent unified
terms of life imprisonment, with ten years fixed, on each
lewd conduct count. The Idaho Court of Appeals vacated the
conviction for failing to register but affirmed the other
convictions. State's Lodging B-8.
then pursued state post-conviction relief, asserting claims
of ineffective assistance of counsel, as well as other claims
that he does not raise in his federal Petition.
State's Lodging C-1 at 4-54. The state
district court dismissed the post-conviction petition.
Id. at 163-67.
appeal from the dismissal of that petition, Petitioner raised
two claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. First,
he alleged that his trial counsel rendered ineffective
assistance by failing to investigate Petitioner's
criminal history before agreeing to consolidate the lewd
conduct case with the registration/notification case.
State's Lodging B-3. Such an investigation would
have revealed that Petitioner could be charged with a
habitual offender enhancement regardless of whether the cases
were consolidated. This claim is asserted as Claim 1 of the
Petitioner alleged that his counsel rendered ineffective
assistance by failing to call certain witnesses and present
certain other evidence. Id. This claim is presented
as Claim 2 of the Petition.
Idaho Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the
post-conviction petition. State's Lodging D-6.
With respect to Claim 1, the court concluded that trial
counsel's (1) initial agreement to consolidate the cases,
and (2) later agreement to keep the cases consolidated, were
tactical decisions and that, although the initial decision
was based on ignorance, Petitioner had not shown that this
initial decision played a role in the second strategic
decision to keep the cases consolidated so as to avoid
refiling of the charges with the addition of habitual
offender enhancements. Id. at 5-6. As for Claim 2,
the court determined that (1) counsel's decision not to
present the evidence identified by Petitioner was a
reasonable strategic decision, and (2) even if the evidence
had been presented, it would not have altered the jury's
verdicts. Id. at 6-9.
instant Petition challenges the Idaho Court of Appeals'
rejection of Claims 1 and 2.
CORPUS STANDARD OF LAW
habeas corpus relief may be granted when a 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). If the state
court has adjudicated a claim on the merits, habeas relief is
further limited by § 2254(d), as amended by the
Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”). Under AEDPA, federal habeas relief may
be granted only 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). “Deciding whether a state
court's decision involved an unreasonable application of
federal law or was based on an unreasonable determination of
fact requires the federal habeas court to train its attention
on the particular reasons- both legal and factual-why state
courts rejected a state prisoner's federal claims and to
give appropriate deference to that decision.”
Wilson v. Sellers, 138 S.Ct. 1188, 1191-92 (2018)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
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.
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 identifying “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) (emphasis omitted).
federal court cannot grant habeas relief simply because it
concludes in its independent judgment that the 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 there is any possibility
that fair-minded jurists could disagree on the correctness of
the state court's decision, then relief is not warranted
under § 2254(d)(1). Harrington v. Richter, 562
U.S. 86, 102 (2011). The Supreme Court has emphasized that
“even a strong case for relief does not mean the state
court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable.”
Id. To be entitled to habeas relief under §
2254(d)(1), “a state prisoner must show that the state
court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal
court was so lacking in justification that there was an error
well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Id.
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. 2000). 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] Court has not announced.” Marshall v.
Rodgers, 569 U.S. 58, 64 (2013).
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, 563 U.S. 170,
180 (2011). Therefore, evidence that was not presented to the
state court cannot be introduced on federal habeas review if
a claim was adjudicated on the merits in state court and if
the underlying factual determinations of the state court were
reasonable. See Murray v. Schriro, 745 F.3d 984,
999-1000 (9th Cir. 2014); (“After Pinholster,
a federal habeas court may consider new evidence only on de
novo review, subject to the limitations of §
2254(e)(2).”); Hurles v. Ryan, 752 F.3d 768,
778 (9th Cir. 2014) (“If we determine, considering only
the evidence before the state court, that the adjudication of
a claim on the merits ... was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts, we evaluate the claim de novo,
and we may consider evidence properly presented for the first
time in federal court.”).
eligible for relief under § 2254(d)(2), the petitioner
must show that the state court decision was based upon
factual determinations that were “unreasonable ... in
light of the evidence presented in the State court
proceeding.” A “state-court factual determination
is not unreasonable merely because the federal habeas court
would have reached a different conclusion in the first
instance.” Wood v. Allen, 558 U.S. 290, 301
(2010); see also Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465,
473 (2007) (“The question under AEDPA is not whether a
federal court believes the state court's determination
was incorrect but whether that determination was
unreasonable-a substantially higher threshold.”). State
court factual findings are presumed to be correct and are
binding on the federal court unless the petitioner rebuts
this presumption by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C.
petitioner satisfies § 2254(d)-either by showing that
the state court's adjudication of the claim was contrary
to, or an unreasonable application of, Supreme Court
precedent or by establishing that the state court's
factual findings were unreasonable-then the federal habeas
court must review the petitioner's claim de novo, meaning
without deference to the state court's decision.
Hurles, 752 F.3d at 778. When considering a habeas
claim de novo, a district court may, as in the pre-AEDPA era,
draw from circuit precedent as well as Supreme Court
precedent, limited only by the non-retroactivity rule of
Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989). Even on de novo
review, however, so long as the state courts' factual
findings are not unreasonable under § 2254(d)(2), the
federal habeas court still must apply § 2254(e)(1)'s
presumption of correctness to any such findings. Pirtle
v. Morgan, 313 F.3d 1160, 1167-68 (9th Cir. 2002).
Clearly-Established Law Governing Claims of Ineffective
Assistance of Counsel
Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides
that a criminal defendant has a right to the effective
assistance of counsel in his defense. The standard for
ineffective assistance of counsel (“IAC”) claims
was set forth by the Supreme Court in Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). A petitioner asserting
ineffective assistance of counsel must show that (1)
“counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not
functioning as the ‘counsel' guaranteed the
defendant by the Sixth Amendment, ” and (2) those
errors “deprive[d] the defendant of a fair trial, a
trial whose result is reliable.” Id. at 687. A
petitioner must establish both deficient performance and
prejudice to prove an IAC claim. Id. at ...