Thomas Martin v. Neil McDowell

Filing 28

ORDER ACCEPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS by Judge Otis D. Wright, II: (see attached) In sum, none of Petitioner's objections is meritorious. The Court, therefore, accepts the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge. IT IS ORDERED that judgment be entered dismissing the Petition with prejudice. (jm)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 THOMAS MARTIN, Petitioner, 12 v. 13 14 NEIL McDOWELL, Warden, Respondent. 15 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CASE NO. CV 16-3464-ODW (FFM) ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 16 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the Petition, records on file, 17 18 relevant pleadings, and the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate 19 Judge. Further, the Court has engaged in a de novo review of those portions of the 20 Report to which Petitioner has objected. The bulk of the arguments that Petitioner makes in his objections is sufficiently 21 22 addressed in the magistrate judge’s Report. A few of his arguments, however, warrant 23 further discussion. First, Petitioner maintains that the magistrate judge applied Schlup 24 v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 327, 332, 115 S. Ct. 851, 130 L. Ed.2d 808 (1995), in a way that 25 held Petitioner to a higher standard than that required by the Supreme Court. 26 Specifically, Petitioner complains that the magistrate judge required Petitioner to show 27 actual innocence by presenting evidence that could not have been presented at trial, 28 /// 1 rather than establishing actual innocence based merely on evidence that was not 2 presented at trial. 3 This objection is not well-taken. To be sure, citing Judge Kozinski’s concurring 4 opinion in Lee v. Lampert, 653 F.3d 929, 937 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc), the magistrate 5 judge stated the following: “As explained in Lee, to establish actual innocence under 6 Schlup, the petitioner must show not only that reliable evidence of his innocence was 7 not presented at trial, but that it “could not have been, presented at trial.” Lee, 653 8 F.3d at 945 (Kozinski, J., concurring) (emphasis added) (citing Schlup, 513 U.S. at 9 324-28).” (Report and Rec. at 14.) Thereafter, the magistrate judge explained that all 10 of the evidence that Petitioner presented, save perhaps an unsworn letter from a garage 11 door company employee, could have been, or was, presented at trial.1 However, the 12 magistrate judge also explained that, even if Petitioner’s purported “new evidence” 13 were considered, it did not establish actual innocence under Schlup. Accordingly, 14 contrary to Petitioner’s assertions, the magistrate judge did not err in its consideration 15 of the evidence presented by Petitioner. 16 Second, Petitioner faults the magistrate judge for considering whether the 17 proposed new evidence and proposed testimony was reliable and credible. According 18 to Petitioner, the magistrate judge was required to “take all of Petitioner’s allegations 19 as true.” (Objections at 6.) There is, according to Petitioner, “no room for any 20 credibility determinations on the part of the reviewing Magistrate.” (Id.) 21 Petitioner is incorrect. Indeed, as the magistrate judge noted in his Report and 22 Recommendation, Schlup explicitly calls for the reviewing court to consider whether 23 the proposed new evidence is reliable and whether any proposed testimony would be 24 considered credible: 25 Obviously, the Court is not required to test the new 26 evidence by a standard appropriate for deciding a motion 27 1 28 The magistrate judge noted that the letter from the garage door employee was not competent evidence because it was not sworn under penalty of perjury. 2 1 for summary judgment. Instead, the court may consider 2 how the timing of the submission and the likely credibility 3 of the affiants bear on the probable reliability of that 4 evidence. 5 Schlup, 513 U.S. at 332 (emphasis added) (citations omitted). Only after considering 6 the reliability of the proffered evidence can the reviewing court make a “probabilistic 7 determination about what reasonable, properly instructed jurors would do.” 8 Id. (citations omitted). 9 Third, Petitioner asserts that the magistrate judge erred in concluding that 10 Petitioner failed to provide any evidentiary support for his allegation that the victim’s 11 phone records were altered to omit information regarding whether the given phone call 12 was incoming or outgoing. According to Petitioner, the victim or the prosecutor must 13 have altered the phone records because one page of the records shows whether the 14 given call was incoming or outgoing, whereas the other pages do not indicate the 15 origin of the call. But as the magistrate judge observed, there is no evidence other than 16 Petitioner’s self-serving speculation to show that the records were altered. It appears 17 that the first page produced by Petitioner is in a different format from the other pages. 18 In this regard, the pages that Petitioner claims were altered contain information (such 19 as whether the given call was made during peak or off-peak time) that is not included 20 in the one page that Petitioner claims was unaltered. Whether the telephone company 21 produced all the records in both formats or mixed the production of formats is 22 unknown. Petitioner has presented no evidence to demonstrate how the records 23 happened to be in multiple formats. However, regardless of the many possibilities 24 explaining why different information appeared in the phone records, no evidence 25 suggests that the records were altered by the victim or the prosecutor. 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 3 1 2 3 4 In sum, none of Petitioner’s objections is meritorious. The Court, therefore, accepts the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge. IT IS ORDERED that judgment be entered dismissing the Petition with prejudice. 5 6 Dated: _April 25, 2017 __________________________ OTIS D. WRIGHT II United States District Judge 7 8 9 10 Presented by: 11 12 13 14 /S/ FREDERICK F. MUMM FREDERICK F. MUMM United States Magistrate Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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