Pacheco v. Ryan et al

Filing 10

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION recommending 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (State/2254) filed by Felipe Barrera Pacheco be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE; IT IS FURTHER RECOMMENDED that a Certificate of Appealability and leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal be DENIED because Petitioner has not made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. Signed by Magistrate Judge Michelle H Burns on 04/11/2017. (KAS)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Felipe Barrera Pacheco, Petitioner, 10 11 vs. 12 Charles L. Ryan, et al., Respondents. 13 14 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CIV 16-02072-PHX-DLR (MHB) REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 15 TO THE HONORABLE DOUGLAS L. RAYES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT: 16 Petitioner Felipe Barrera Pacheco, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison 17 Complex, filed a pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 18 (Doc. 1). Respondents filed an Answer (Doc. 8), and Petitioner filed a Reply (Doc. 9). BACKGROUND1 19 20 The following facts were found by the Arizona Court of Appeals: 21 Petitioner Felipe Pacheco was convicted pursuant to a plea agreement of one count of child molestation and two counts of attempted child molestation. The trial court sentenced him to the stipulated prison term of seventeen years on count one, followed by concurrent, lifetime terms of probation on the remaining counts. After Pacheco filed a notice of post-conviction relief, pursuant to Rule 32, Ariz.R.Crim.P., appointed counsel filed a notice pursuant to Rule 32.4(c) avowing she had found no colorable claim to raise and requesting that Pacheco be given time to file a pro se petition. Pacheco filed 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The following facts are derived from the exhibits submitted with Respondents’ Answer (Doc. 8), as well as, attachments submitted with Petitioner’s habeas petition (Doc. 1). 1 a petition, raising claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The court denied relief without an evidentiary hearing ... . 2 * * * 3 4 5 6 7 In his pro se petition, Pacheco claimed trial counsel had been ineffective because she had failed to adequately explain the plea agreement to him in part because she did not speak his native language of Spanish and used “hand gestures” in an attempt to communicate; she “gave him faulty legal advice regarding elements of possible defense”; and she did not inform him about “options” he could have pursued on appeal. In its minute entry denying Pacheco’s pro se petition, the court identified and addressed the claims he had raised, resolving them in a manner that has permitted review by this court. See State v. Whipple, 177 Ariz. 272, 274, 866 P.2d 1358, 1360 (App. 1993). 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 The record before us supports the trial court’s ruling. We note, in particular, that a certified Spanish interpreter was present during the change-of-plea hearing, which began as a settlement conference, and at sentencing. And among the questions the court asked Pacheco at the change-of-plea proceeding was whether the initials he had written in front of each paragraph of the plea agreement reflected that the terms had been “read and explained to [him] in the Spanish language” and that his attorney had reviewed the provisions with him and had answered his questions. Pacheco responded, “Yes.” Pacheco has failed to sustain his burden of establishing the court abused its discretion in dismissing his petition. Consequently, we adopt the court’s ruling, finding no purpose would be served by restating the ruling in its entirety here. See Whipple, 177 Ariz. at 274, 866 P.2d at 1360. Additionally, because some of his allegations regarding counsel’s purported ineffectiveness are being raised for the first time on review, we will not address them. State v. Ramirez, 126 Ariz. 464, 468, 616 P.2d 924, 928 (App. 1980) 16 (Exh. A at 1.) 17 After the Arizona Court of Appeals denied relief, Petitioner filed a petition for review 18 in the Arizona Supreme Court. (Exh. B.) The petition for review was denied on October 8, 19 2013. (Id.) 20 On October 9, 2013, Petitioner filed another PCR Notice. The trial court dismissed 21 the PCR proceeding on October 23, 2013, (erroneously) finding that Petitioner’s first PCR 22 proceeding was still pending with the Arizona Supreme Court. (Exhs. C, D.) Thereafter, 23 Petitioner filed a “Request to be Permitted to File a Post-Conviction Relief Petition,” which 24 the trial court treated as a timely PCR notice, and counsel was then appointed to represent 25 Petitioner. (Doc. 1 at 19.) Petitioner, however, waived counsel and represented himself in his 26 second PCR petition. (Doc. 1 at 27-28.) Petitioner filed his pro se PCR petition on April 28, 27 28 -2- 1 2014, and it was summarily denied on February 5, 2015. (Exhs. E, F, G.) The pleadings 2 indicate that Petitioner’s petition for review was denied by the Arizona Court of Appeals. 3 (Doc. 8 at 5.) 4 In his habeas petition, Petitioner asserts four grounds for relief: 5 Ground One: Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to move to suppress Petitioner’s statement made in a confrontation call; 6 Ground Two: Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to challenge Petitioner’s arrest based on a confrontation call; 7 8 Ground Three: Petitioner alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to move to have DNA tests conducted on objects at Petitioner’s home; 9 10 Ground Four: Petitioner alleges that his “14th amendment” rights were violated by the Court of Appeals’ refusal to exercise their discretionary review. 11 12 (Doc. 1 at 6-9.) 13 DISCUSSION 14 In their Answer, Respondents contend that Grounds One through Three are barred by 15 Petitioner’s guilty plea. Respondents also assert that Ground Four is not cognizable on 16 habeas review. As such, Respondents request that the Court deny and dismiss Petitioner’s 17 habeas petition with prejudice. 18 A. Grounds One through Three 19 The Supreme Court has made clear that when a defendant was convicted pursuant to 20 a guilty plea and later seeks collateral relief based on asserted constitutional errors that 21 occurred before that plea was entered, he is barred, with few exceptions, from obtaining such 22 relief. 23 24 25 26 A plea of guilty and the ensuing conviction comprehend all of the factual and legal elements necessary to sustain a binding, final judgment of guilt and a lawful sentence. Accordingly, when the judgment of conviction upon a guilty plea has become final and the offender seeks to reopen the proceeding, the inquiry is ordinarily confined to whether the underlying plea was both counseled and voluntary. If the answer is in the affirmative, then the conviction and the plea, as a general rule, foreclose the collateral attack. 27 28 -3- 1 United States v. Broce, 488 U.S. 563, 569 (1989); see also Mitchell v. Superior Court, 632 2 F.2d 767, 769 (9th Cir. 1980) (“As a general rule, one who has voluntarily and intelligently 3 pled guilty to a criminal charge may not subsequently seek federal habeas relief on the basis 4 of pre-plea constitutional violations.”). 5 In Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258 (1973), the Supreme Court established, and 6 explained the basis for, the bar on federal habeas claims based on pre-plea constitutional 7 violations: 8 9 10 11 12 [A] guilty plea represents a break in the chain of events which has preceded it in the criminal process. When a criminal defendant has solemnly admitted in open court that he is in fact guilty of the offense with which he is charged, he may not thereafter raise independent claims relating to the deprivation of constitutional rights that occurred prior to the entry of the guilty plea. He may only attack the voluntary and intelligent nature of the plea by showing that the advice he received from counsel was [inadequate]. Id. at 267. 13 Since Tollett, the Supreme Court has recognized that the bar on attacking pre-plea 14 constitutional errors does not apply when the pre-plea error is jurisdictional. See United 15 States v. Johnston, 199 F.3d 1015, 1019 n.3 (9th Cir. 1999). Pre-plea error is “jurisdictional,” 16 when it implicates the government’s power to prosecute the defendant. See id.; Broce, 488 17 U.S. at 574-76. For example, Tollett does not foreclose a claim that: a defendant was 18 vindictively prosecuted, Blackledge v. Perry, 417 U.S. 21, 30-31 (1974); the indictment 19 under which a defendant pled guilty placed him in double jeopardy, Menna v. New York, 20 432 U.S. 61, 62 (1975); or the statute under which the defendant was indicted is 21 unconstitutional or unconstitutionally vague on its face, United States v. Garcia-Valenzuela, 22 232 F.3d 1003, 1006 (9th Cir. 2000). 23 With respect to ineffective assistance of counsel claims based on pre-plea events, 24 whether or not such claims will be barred depends, as Tollett indicates, see 411 U.S. at 266- 25 67, on the relationship of the conduct challenged to the validity of the plea. When the nature 26 of the ineffective assistance claim calls into question the voluntary and intelligent character 27 28 -4- 1 of the plea, the claim likely is not barred under Tollett. However, when the nature of the 2 ineffective assistance claim does not raise any such question, the Tollett bar will apply. 3 In Ground One, Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel 4 when his trial counsel failed to move to suppress Petitioner’s statement. In Ground Two, 5 Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel 6 failed to challenge Petitioner’s arrest. And, in Ground Three, Petitioner alleges that he 7 received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to move to have DNA 8 tests conducted on “objects at Petitioner’s home.” In his reply, Petitioner claims that: 13 due to ineffective assistance of counsel failure to defend his position at a trial, failure to secure evidence’s and key witnesses and documents for his case, and even when petitioner steady complaint to the court about his attorney behavior in not effectively defending his trial position and argue his innocents in this case, that petitioner was forced to ... enter in to a settlement conference and that the settlement conference resulted in a plea agreement because petitioner did not have the support of his trial attorney to prepare him for a trial ... [and] trial court judge told petitioner’s attorney that a trial will forth whether the attorney was ready or not in this case. 14 The Court finds that none of the grounds for relief set forth in Petitioner’s habeas 15 petition present jurisdictional claims. Additionally, none of these grounds attack the 16 knowing, voluntary, or intelligent nature of his plea, but instead relate to alleged pre-plea 17 constitutional deprivations. Thus, Petitioner’s claims do not fall within the limited scope of 18 pre-plea jurisdictional defect cases in which Tollett has been held inapplicable. See, e.g., 19 United States v. Ramos, 275 Fed. Appx. 581, 582 (9th Cir. 2008) (holding the “entry of his 20 guilty plea waived all other pre-plea ineffective assistance claims” including those regarding 21 a motion to suppress) (unpublished); Moran v. Godinez, 40 F.3d 1567, 1577 (9th Cir. 1994); 22 (refusing to consider the claim that defense counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge 23 the defendant’s confession, because it was an “assertion of an alleged pre-plea constitutional 24 violation”) (amended on other grounds by Moran v. Godinez, 57 F.3d 690 (9th Cir. 1994)); 25 United States v. Bonn, 956 F.2d 208, 209 (9th Cir. 1992) (holding the petitioner’s guilty plea 26 waived his claim that counsel was ineffective at an in camera hearing); United States v. 27 Chavez, 2002 WL 31971945 at *3-4 (D. Or. Jul. 3, 2002) (claim that counsel was ineffective 28 -5- 9 10 11 12 1 based on an alleged failure to file pretrial motions, investigate, request discovery, and 2 cross-examine arresting officers was foreclosed by guilty plea). Therefore, Petitioner cannot 3 seek federal habeas review on Grounds One through Three as these claims are barred by 4 Petitioner’s guilty plea. 5 B. Ground Four 6 In Ground Four, Petitioner argues that his “14th amendment” rights were violated by 7 the Court of Appeals’ refusal to exercise discretionary review. Petitioner claims that he 8 “complied with the courts order twice by submitting two supplemental motions ... [and] on 9 both supplement the court of appeal continue to deny petitioner review even after he had 10 complianced several times.” 11 The Court can grant habeas relief “only on the ground that [a petitioner] is in custody 12 in violation of the Constitution or laws or treatises of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 13 2254(a). “[I]t is not the province of a federal habeas court to reexamine state-court 14 determinations on state-law grounds.” Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991); see 15 Gilmore v. Taylor, 508 U.S. 333, 348-49 (1993) (“[M]ere error of state law, one that does 16 not rise to the level of a constitutional violation, may not be corrected on federal habeas.”); 17 Lewis v. Jeffers, 497 U.S. 764, 780 (1990) (“[F]ederal habeas corpus relief does not lie for 18 errors of state law.”). And, a petitioner may not “transform a state law issue into a federal one 19 merely by asserting a violation of due process.” Poland v. Stewart, 169 F.3d 573, 584 (9th Cir. 20 1999) (quoting Langford v. Day, 110 F.3d 1380, 1389 (9th Cir. 1996)); see Engle v. Isaac, 21 456 U.S. 107, 119-21 (1982) (“While they attempt to cast their first claim in constitutional 22 terms, we believe that this claim does no more than suggest that the instructions at 23 respondents’ trials may have violated state law.”). 24 Petitioner does not present a cognizable federal claim in Ground Four. Although 25 Petitioner attempts to “transform a state law issue into a federal one,” Petitioner appears to 26 simply challenge the appellate court’s discretion to deny review. 27 28 -6- 1 Accordingly, the Court will recommend that Ground Four be denied as said claim is 2 non-cognizable for purposes of federal habeas review. 3 CONCLUSION 4 Having determined that Grounds One through Three are barred by Petitioner’s guilty 5 plea, and Ground Four is not cognizable on habeas review, the Court will recommend that 6 Petitioner’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus be denied and dismissed with prejudice. 7 IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED that Petitioner’s Petition for Writ of 8 Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 1) be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH 9 PREJUDICE; 10 IT IS FURTHER RECOMMENDED that a Certificate of Appealability and leave 11 to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal be DENIED because Petitioner has not made a 12 substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. 13 This recommendation is not an order that is immediately appealable to the Ninth 14 Circuit Court of Appeals. Any notice of appeal pursuant to Rule 4(a)(1), Federal Rules of 15 Appellate Procedure, should not be filed until entry of the district court’s judgment. The 16 parties shall have fourteen days from the date of service of a copy of this recommendation 17 within which to file specific written objections with the Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); 18 Rules 72, 6(a), 6(b), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Thereafter, the parties have fourteen 19 days within which to file a response to the objections. Pursuant to Rule 7.2, Local Rules of 20 Civil Procedure for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, objections 21 to the Report and Recommendation may not exceed seventeen (17) pages in length. Failure 22 timely to file objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation may result 23 in the acceptance of the Report and Recommendation by the district court without further 24 review. See United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003). Failure 25 timely to file objections to any factual determinations of the Magistrate Judge will be 26 considered a waiver of a party’s right to appellate review of the findings of fact in an order 27 28 -7- 1 or judgment entered pursuant to the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation. See Rule 72, 2 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 3 DATED this 11th day of April, 2017. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -8-

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