United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BRACK, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court under Rule 4 of the Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases on the Petition Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State
Custody (“Petition”) filed by Petitioner, Mr.
Jerry Torres. (Doc. 1.) The Court will dismiss the Petition
as barred by the statute of limitations and because Mr.
Torres is not entitled to § 2254 relief on the merits of
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
March 21, 1996, Petitioner was charged with first degree
depraved-mind murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault,
and shooting at a dwelling or occupied building in State of
New Mexico, County of Chaves, Fifth Judicial District Court,
cause No. D-504-CR-1996-00075.Torres was convicted by a jury and
sentenced to life imprisonment on October 10, 1996. Torres
appealed his conviction and sentence to the New Mexico
Supreme Court, contending that his right to confrontation
under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution were violated by the admission of a
statement by a trial witness. In December 1998, the New
Mexico Supreme Court affirmed his conviction, holding that
his confrontation rights under the United States and New
Mexico Constitutions were not violated by the admission of
the statement. State v. Torres, 971 P.2d 1267, 1280
18 months later, on June 5, 2000, Torres filed a Motion for
Postconviction Full Exculpatory Discovery and a Motion to
Require Production of Criminal Records of Witnesses. Those
Motions were denied by the State District Court on August 21,
2004, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Crawford v.
Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), setting out standards
for the determination of confrontation clause issues. Based
on Crawford, the New Mexico Supreme Court expressly
overruled Torres “to the extent that
Torres held that custodial confessions implicating
the accused fall within a firmly rooted hearsay exception and
do not violate the federal confrontation clause.”
State v. Alvarez-Lopez, 98 P.3d 699, 707 (N.M. 2004)
(citing Torres, 971 P.2d at 1280).
Torres filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in State
court on September 6, 2013. Torres raised three issues in his
State habeas corpus petition:
1. Whether the United States Supreme Court's decision in
Crawford v. Washington and the New Mexico Supreme
Court's decision in State v. Alvarez-Lopez
expressly overruled one of the holdings in State v.
Torres apply retroactively to Petitioner's
2. Whether, even if the decision apply retroactively
Petitioner's right to confrontation was violated.
3. Whether even if Petitioner right to confrontation was
violated, the error was harmless.
(Doc. 1 at 21.) In a lengthy decision containing findings of
fact and conclusions of law, the State court denied the
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on April 25, 2017.
(Id. at 19-39.) The New Mexico Supreme Court denied
certiorari on September 5, 2017. (Id. at 17.)
Torres filed his Petition in this Court on June 28, 2018. In
his federal Petition, Torres again raises three issues:
-WHETHER THE U.S. SUPREME COURT'S DECISION IN CRAWFORD V.
WASHINGTON AND THE NEW MEXICO SUPREME COURT'S DECISION IN
STATE V. ALVAREZ-LOPEZ EXPRESSLY OVERRULLED IN STATE
-WHETHER EVEN IF THE DECISION APPLY RETROACTIVELY
PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO CONFRONTATION WAS VIOLATED
-WHETHER THE PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO CONFRONTATION WAS
(Id. at 3.) Petitioner seeks a new trial in his
criminal case based on Crawford,
Alvarez-Lopez, and New Mexico v. Forbes,