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Garcia v. Franke

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 6, 2015

RUBEN LARA GARCIA, Petitioner,
v.
STEVE FRANKE, Two Rivers Correctional Institution, Respondent.

Anthony D. Bornstein, Federal Public Defender's Office, Portland, OR., Attorney for Petitioner.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General.

Nick M. Kallstrom, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, Salem, OR., Attorneys for Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER

GARR M. KING, District Judge.

Petitioner Ruben Lara Garcia, an inmate in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections, brings this habeas corpus proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, I deny the petition and dismiss this proceeding with prejudice.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In July 2003, a jury in Multnomah County Circuit Court convicted Garcia of 42 counts for his alleged sexual abuse of two victims, J.G. and Y.G. The first three counts relate to J.G. are not at issue in this petition. The remaining counts can be summarized as follows:

Counts 4 and 5 each alleged that petitioner committed Rape 1 against Y.G. when she was under 12 years of age between April 1, 1995 and January 30, 2000.
Counts 6-8 each alleged that petitioner committed Sodomy 1 against Y.G. when she was under 12 years of age by having her mouth touch his sexual organs between April 1, 1995 and January 30, 2000.
Counts 9-11 each alleged that petitioner committed Sodomy 1 against Y.G. when she was under 12 years of age by having his mouth touch her sexual organs between April 1, 1995 and January 30, 2000.
Counts 22-31 each alleged that petitioner committed Sexual Abuse 1 against Y.G. when she was under 14 years of age by touching her breasts between April 1, 1995 and January 30, 2000.
Counts 32-41 each alleged that petitioner committed Sexual Abuse 1 against Y.G. when she was under 14 years of age by touching her vagina between April 1, 1995 and January 30, 2000.
Counts 42-51 each alleged that petitioner committed Sexual Abuse 1 against Y.G. when she was under 14 years of age by having her touch his penis between April 1, 1995 and January 30, 2000.

Resp. Ex. 102.

The trial court sentenced Garcia to a total of 350 months in prison. Garcia appealed and the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a written opinion affirming his conviction. Specifically, the appellate court declined to find that the trial court committed plain error when it did not instruct the jurors that they had to agree on a specific incident of abuse for each charge on which they convicted Garcia. The Oregon Supreme Court denied Garcia's petition for review.

In his petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR"), Garcia alleged ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The PCR court denied relief. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion, and the Oregon Supreme Court denied review.

LEGAL STANDARDS

A petition for writ of habeas corpus, filed by a state prisoner, shall not be granted unless adjudication of the claim in state court resulted in a decision that was (1) "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly-established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States" or (2) was "based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The state court's findings of fact are presumed correct, and a petitioner bears the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).

Section 2254(d) is a "guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, not a substitute for ordinary error correction through appeal.'" Hibbler v. Benedetti, 693 F.3d 1140, 1148 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 131 S.Ct. 770 (2011)) (other internal quotation omitted), cert. denied, 133 S.Ct. 1262 (2013). "[T]he question... is not whether a federal court believes the state court's determination was incorrect but whether that determination was unreasonable-a substantially higher threshold.'" Id. at 1146 (quoting Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473 (2007)).

A state court acts contrary to clearly-established federal law if it arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if it reaches a result contrary to the outcome arrived at by the Supreme Court on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000).

A state court decision is an "unreasonable application" of clearly-established federal law if the court: (1) identifies the correct governing legal principle from Supreme Court decisions, but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case; or (2) either unreasonably refuses to extend the governing legal principle or unreasonably extends it to a new context where it should not apply. Id. at 407, 413. Under this standard of review, a federal court may not issue a writ of habeas corpus because it concludes the state court applied ...


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