United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
filed by Idaho state prisoner Lawrence James Crow
(“Petitioner” or “Crow”), challenging
Petitioner's Bingham County conviction of attempted
first-degree murder. (Dkt. 1.) On June 22, 2018, the Court
dismissed Claims 1, 2, 3, 4(c), and 4(e) as procedurally
defaulted or noncognizable. (Dkt. 19.) The remaining claims
in the Petition-Claims 4(a), 4(b), and 4(d)-are now fully
briefed and ripe for adjudication on the merits. (Dkt. 20,
Court takes judicial notice of the records from
Petitioner's state court proceedings, which have been
lodged by Respondent. (Dkt. 10.) See Fed. R. Evid.
201(b); Dawson v. Mahoney, 451 F.3d 550, 551 n.1
(9th Cir. 2006).
parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States
Magistrate Judge to conduct all proceedings in this case in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 73. (Dkt. 8.) Having 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.
following facts of Petitioner's case, as described by the
Idaho Court of Appeals, are presumed correct absent clear and
convincing evidence to the contrary:
In July 2010, officers responded to a shooting involving Crow
and his ex-girlfriend (victim). Crow and the victim dated for
approximately six years and separated around one month prior
to the shooting. Crow and the victim had a child together
and, at the time, were sharing custody. On the day of the
shooting, Crow had custody of the child (at Crow's
mother's residence) and was to return the child to the
victim around noon. The victim observed Crow pull into her
driveway that day. However, instead of dropping off the
child, Crow backed up and left. The victim indicated that
normally she would have been alone, but that day her mother
was at her residence. The victim later surmised Crow had seen
her mother's car in the driveway and left.
A short time thereafter, the victim drove to Crow's
mother's residence to pick up the child. When the victim
arrived, Crow desired to talk about their relationship and
the victim agreed. While talking on the front porch, the
victim realized Crow had been drinking and decided to leave.
The victim attempted to open the front door to retrieve her
child, but found the door was locked and so she knocked.
Because Crow was acting aggressively, the victim dialed 911
on her cell phone but did not send the call initially. Crow
then drew a handgun from his pants and stated to the victim,
“If I can't have you, no one can.” Crow also
stated “I got this for you” in a threating manner
while pointing the gun at the victim. By this time, the front
door had been unlocked by someone within the house. The
victim fled into the house and dialed 911. Crow pursued her.
Crow again pointed the gun into the victim's face and
chest, and the victim pushed the gun away. Crow fired the
gun, wounding the victim in the arm.
The victim retreated into a bathroom and locked the door. The
victim heard one or two additional shots. One of these shots
went through the bathroom door, although missing the victim.
Crow subsequently gained entry into the bathroom. In
desperation, the victim began hugging Crow, telling him that
she would come back to him. Crow loosened his grip on the gun
and the victim seized it and turned it over to Crow's
sister. Police arrived shortly thereafter.
(State's Lodging B-4 at 1-2.) See 28 U.S.C.
Seventh Judicial District Court in Bingham County, Idaho,
Petitioner was charged with attempted first-degree murder and
domestic battery involving traumatic injury in the presence
of a child, along with two sentencing enhancements for use of
a firearm and for infliction of great bodily injury.
(Id. at 2.) Petitioner eventually pleaded guilty to
attempted first-degree murder. In exchange, the state
dismissed the sentencing enhancements, which, by that time,
were the only remaining charges. Petitioner was sentenced to
a unified term of 15 years in prison, with 9 years fixed, and
was ordered to pay a civil fine. (Id.)
appealed his sentence, the civil fine, and the trial
court's denial of his motion for reduction of sentence
under Idaho Criminal Rule 35. The Idaho Court of Appeals
reduced the amount of the fine, but otherwise affirmed the
judgment of conviction. (Id. at 2-6.)
filed a state post-conviction petition asserting numerous
claims, including claims of ineffective assistance of trial
counsel. (State's Lodging C-1 at 4-10.) After holding an
evidentiary hearing, the state district court dismissed the
petition. (State's Lodging C-4; C-1 at 38-39.) The Idaho
Court of Appeals affirmed, denying Petitioner's
ineffective assistance claims on the merits,  and the Idaho
Supreme Court denied review. (State's Lodging D-4; D-6.)
filed the instant habeas corpus petition in March 2017. (Dkt.
1.) Claims 4(a), 4(b), and 4(d)-all of which allege
ineffective assistance of counsel-remain for adjudication on
the merits. In Claim 4(a), Petitioner argues that his initial
trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance when-based on
counsel's erroneous belief that Petitioner was facing the
death penalty-counsel waived Petitioner's preliminary
hearing and told Petitioner he had to plead guilty,
presumably to avoid that penalty. (Dkt. 1 at 7.) Claim 4(b)
asserts that Petitioner's later trial counsel never spoke
to Petitioner about filing an appeal. (Id.) And
Claim 4(d) alleges that trial counsel refused to challenge
the charging document as duplicative. (Id.)
Respondent contends that Petitioner is not entitled to habeas
relief on any of these claims.
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 a 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.
considering a habeas claim de novo, a district court may, as
in the pre-AEDPA era, draw from both United States Supreme
Court as well as circuit precedent, limited only by the
non-retroactivity rule of Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S.
288 (1989). Even under de novo review, however, if the
factual findings of the state court are not unreasonable
under § 2254(d)(2), 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
1167-68. Conversely, if a state court factual determination
is unreasonable, the federal court is not limited by §
2254(e)(1) and may consider evidence outside the state court
record, except to the extent that § 2254(e)(2) might
apply. Murray v. Schriro, 745 F.3d at 1000.
asserts that the Idaho Court of Appeals' rejection of
Claims 4(a), 4(b), and 4(d) was reasonable under AEDPA. For
the following reasons, the Court agrees.
Clearly-Established Federal Law: Ineffective ...