United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S PROPOSED FINDINGS AND
STEPHAN M. VIDMAR, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER is before me on Petitioner Arturo Anaya's Petition
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a
Person in State Custody, filed April 22, 2016. [Doc. 1].
Respondents filed an answer on July 17, 2017. [Doc. 19].
Anaya replied on July 27, 2017. [Docs. 21, 22]. The Honorable
Robert A. Junell, Senior United States District Judge,
referred this matter to me for analysis and a recommended
disposition. [Doc. 27]. Having considered the parties'
submissions, the record, and the relevant law, and being
otherwise fully advised in the premises, I find that Anaya
has alleged both exhausted and unexhausted claims and I
recommend that he be given the opportunity to withdraw the
unexhausted claims and proceed with the exhausted
23, 2013, Anaya was convicted by a jury in the First Judicial
District Court of New Mexico on two counts of murder in the
first degree, one count of aggravated burglary, and two
counts of intimidation of a witness. [Doc. 19-1] at 1-2. The
charges stemmed from an altercation during which Anaya
fatally shot two occupants of a trailer on his property
following a dispute over rent. See [Doc. 19] at 2.
Judgement was entered on June 17, 2013. [Doc. 19-1] at 1-7.
He was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for the
murder convictions and three years for each
intimidation-of-a-witness conviction, to run
consecutively. Id. at 2-3.
through counsel, appealed his conviction. [Doc. 19-1] at 9.
He alleged five errors on appeal: (1) the trial judge's
violation of Anaya's statutory right to peremptorily
excuse his assigned judge; (2) ineffective assistance of
counsel based on defense counsel's failure to timely
excuse the assigned judge; (3) insufficiency of the evidence
to sustain the conviction for aggravated burglary; (4) the
trial judge's failure to give a jury instruction on
self-defense; and (5) cumulative error. [Doc. 19-2] at 3-4;
[Doc. 19-1] at 32-74 (Anaya's appellate brief-in-chief).
Exercising jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12-102(A)(1) NMRA,
New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed his conviction on May 4,
2105. As to the ineffective-assistance claim, the Court found
that only an evidentiary hearing in a post-conviction habeas
proceeding would supply the requisite facts, if any,
supporting the claim. [Doc. 19-2] at 8-9. As to the other
four grounds, the Court ruled against Anaya on the merits.
See Id. at 23-40.
pro se, Anaya filed a state habeas corpus petition on June 5,
2015. [Doc. 19-2] at 43-49. His petition was summarily
dismissed by the district court on September 18, 2015.
Id. at 62-64. The court construed his habeas
petition as challenging the sufficiency of the evidence of
his aggravated burglary conviction on the basis that his
entry into the victims' trailer was lawful because he
owned the property. Id. at 62. The court found that
it was precluded from addressing that claim because it had
already been raised and rejected by the Supreme Court on
direct appeal. Id. The court found no fundamental
error or lack of an adequate record that would permit the
court to consider the claim. Id. at 62-63. While
Anaya stated in the instant petition that he filed a writ of
certiorari to the New Mexico Supreme Court, which was denied,
it appears that he did not file any such
instant petition, filed on April 22, 2016, and in a number of
additional supporting documents, Anaya raises several grounds
for relief. He raises claims relating to the allegedly false
testimony of the State's witnesses, including, most
clearly, a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel on the
basis of his counsel's failure to discredit the
State's witnesses. [Doc. 1] at 5, 7; [Docs. 16-18]. He
claims he is “innocent” and that his murder
convictions should be overturned because he was not the
initial aggressor in the altercation but instead was acting
in self-defense. E.g., [Doc. 4] at 1-2; [Doc. 21] at
1. He claims that he was not present unlawfully in the
victims' trailer, effectively arguing there was not
sufficient evidence to support his aggravated burglary
conviction. [Doc. 21] at 1. Finally, he claims the trial
judge erred in striking his peremptory excusal of the
assigned judge, and, alternately, that his counsel's
failure to timely excuse the assigned judge constituted
ineffective assistance of counsel. [Doc. 22].
construe Anaya's petition as raising a single ground for
relief: ineffective assistance of counsel for his
counsel's failure to discredit the false testimony of the
State's witnesses. [Doc. 19] at 4. Respondents contend
that Anaya failed to exhaust this claim and request that his
petition be denied on that ground. Id. at 5-8. In
the alternative, they argue that Anaya fails to show that his
counsel's representation was constitutionally inadequate.
Id. at 8- 12.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
attacks the constitutionality of a state prisoner's
conviction and continued detention. A federal court cannot
grant habeas relief pursuant to § 2254(d) with respect
to any claim adjudicated on the merits by a state court
unless the petitioner's state court proceeding:
(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.
2254(d). “Even if a state court resolves a claim in a
summary fashion with little or no reasoning, [federal courts]
owe deference to the state court's result.”
Paine v. Massie, 339 F.3d 1194, 1198 (10th Cir.
2003). This standard is “highly deferential” to
state courts, and the Supreme Court has noted that it is
“difficult to meet, ” as it requires federal
courts to give state court decisions the benefit of the
doubt. Cullen v. Pinholster, 131 S.Ct. 1388, 1398
(2011) (citing Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86,
101 (2011); Woodford v. Viscotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24
(2002) (per curiam)); see also Black v. Workman, 682
F.3d 880, 891 ...