United States District Court, D. New Mexico
GABRIEL G. QUINTANA, Petitioner,
JAMES MULHERON, Warden, and HECTOR H. BALDERAS, Attorney General for the State of New Mexico Respondents.
ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S PROPOSED FINDINGS
AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION
MATTER is before the Court on what the Court is considering
to be Petitioner's objections to the Magistrate
Judge's Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition
(“PFRD”). (Docs. 24, 25). On reference from the
undersigned (Doc. 4), United States Magistrate Judge Gregory
J. Fouratt recommended that this Court: (1) deny Gabriel
Quintana's “Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254” (“Petition”) with
prejudice; and (2) deny Quintana's Motion to Supplement.
(Doc. 23) at 1. On March 28, 2019, Quintana filed a document
entitled “Motion for an Appellate Review Be Allowed and
Objections on the Decision Considering the Deniel [sic] and a
Request of My Recommendation Stated in this Request”
(hereafter “objections”). (Docs. 24, 25).
Defendants neither objected to the PFRD nor responded to
Petitioner's objections. Concluding that Petitioner's
objections fail to preserve appellate review, the Court
overrules the objections and adopts the PFRD. Therefore, and
as explained below, the Court will deny the Petition as well
as the Motion to Supplement (Doc. 21).
Fouratt detailed the procedural and factual background of
this case in his PFRD. (Doc. 23) at 3-5. This Court adopts
those findings in full.
summary, a state court jury convicted Quintana of first
degree murder, attempt to commit a violent felony, second
degree murder, aggravated battery against a household member,
tampering with evidence, and violation of a protective order.
On direct appeal, the New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed,
except for the aggravated battery conviction, which was held
to violate the constitutional protections against double
jeopardy. Petitioner then filed a pro se writ of
habeas corpus in state court and, subsequently, an amended
petition that included an affidavit from defense attorney
Cynthia Hill, in which she asserted that she and her
co-counsel had provided ineffective assistance as
Petitioner's trial counsel. For reasons not relevant to
Quintana's Petition, the state district court granted
Mexico Supreme Court, however, reversed the grant of habeas
relief and remanded back to the district court with
directions to permit the State to file a response and also to
hold an evidentiary hearing. The State filed a response
supported by defense attorney Damian Horne's
affidavit-Quintana's other trial counsel-that pointedly
denied any ineffective assistance. The state habeas court
held an evidentiary hearing to consider these claims:
From the Pro Se Petition, the following claims survived:
Ground Three (regarding victims' family's involvement
in drug dealing), Ground Six (that Petitioner wanted to take
the stand in his own defense), and Ground Seven (regarding an
anonymous letter purportedly identifying the actual
perpetrator). From the Amended Petition, the following claims
survived- that trial counsel was ineffective for: (1) failure
to effectively impeach prosecution witnesses; (2) failure to
investigate; (3) failure to retain expert witnesses; and (4)
cumulative effect of counsel's errors.
February 23, 2018, the district court denied habeas relief.
Quintana sought review by the New Mexico Supreme Court on
March 22, 2018, but the court denied review on March 30,
2018. On May 18, 2018, Petitioner then sought review in this
Court by filing the instant Petition.
begins his objections by attacking the strength of the
evidence presented at his trial, specifically targeting what
he alleges to be the lack of physical and forensic evidence.
(Doc. 25) at 1. Next, he urges this Court to accord Ms.
Hill's affidavit additional weight. Similarly, Quintana
urges this Court to conduct a de novo review of all
evidence introduced at trial, and then presumably invalidate
his conviction. Id. Lastly, he asks this Court to
contact the district attorney's office that prosecuted
him and inquire whether Quintana can still accept a plea deal
that may or may not have been offered to him in 2005.
Standard for Objections to a Magistrate Judge's
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) (2012), a district judge may
designate a magistrate judge to submit proposed findings of
fact and recommendations for the disposition of any case
pending before the Court. Where a party timely objects to the
magistrate judge's proposed disposition, this Court
conducts a de novo review of all portions of the
recommendation which have been objected to and “may
accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations.” See Id. §
636(b)(1)(C). De novo review requires the district
judge to consider relevant evidence of record and not merely
to review the magistrate judge's recommendation. In
re Griego, 64 F.3d 583-84 (10th Cir. 1995). “[A]
party's objections to the magistrate judge's [PFRD]
must be both timely and specific to preserve an issue for
de novo review by the district court or for
appellate review.” United States v. One Parcel of
Real Prop., With Buildings, Appurtenances, Improvements,
& Contents, 73 F.3d 1057, 1060 (10th Cir. 1996).
“AEDPA requires that [courts] apply a difficult to meet
and highly deferential standard in federal habeas proceedings
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254; it is one that demands that
state-court decisions be given the benefit of the
doubt.” Simpson v. Carpenter, 912 F.3d 542
(10th Cir. 2018) (quoting Cullen v. Pinholster, 563
U.S. 170, 181 (2011)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“[T]he standard of review applicable to a particular
claim depends upon how that claim was resolved by state
courts.” Cole v. Trammel, 735 F.3d 1194, 1199
(10th Cir. 2013). When a petitioner includes in his habeas