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Moore v. Lengerich

United States District Court, D. Colorado

October 10, 2017

DAMEION MOORE, Applicant,
v.
JASON LENGERICH, WARDEN, BUENA VISTA MINIMUM CENTER, and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF COLORADO, Respondents.

          RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          KATHLEEN M TAFOYA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This case comes before the court on Applicant Dameion Moore's “Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254” (Doc. No. 1) challenging the validity of his conviction in case number 2012CR1010 in the Denver County District Court. Respondents filed an Answer (Docket No. 26), and Applicant filed a Reply with a request for oral argument (Docket No. 27).

         The court has determined that it can resolve the Application without a hearing. 28 U.S.C. § 2243; see also Jeter v. Keohane, 739 F.2d 257 n.1 (7th Cir. 1984) (“An evidentiary hearing is not necessary when the facts essential to consideration of the constitutional issue are already before the court.”). Upon careful review of the record, including the Application, the Answer, the Reply, and the state court record, the court recommends that the Application should be denied and the case dismissed.

         BACKGROUND

         Applicant was charged with possession of a controlled substance, distribution of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. (Doc. No. 1-4 at 5.) A jury found him guilty of the possession and distribution counts but acquitted him of the conspiracy count. (Id.; Doc. No. 1-1 at 2.) He was sentenced to ten years on the distribution counts and a concurrent term of eighteen months on the possession count. (Id.) The conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. (ECF No. 1-1 at 2.)

         Applicant initiated this action on July 7, 2016, by filing the § 2254 Application and asserting one claim that his convictions for both possession and distribution violate the Constitution's double jeopardy ban. (Doc. No. 1 at 7-8.)

         In the Pre-Answer Response, Respondents concede that the action is timely under the one-year limitation period in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) and that Applicant's claim is exhausted. (See Doc. No. 13.) On August 30, 2016, the court entered an Order for Respondents to Answer Applicant's claim. (Docket No. 14).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), § 2254(d) provides that a writ of habeas corpus may not be issued with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the state court adjudication:

(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; or
(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.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The applicant bears the burden of proof under § 2254(d). See Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 25 (2002) (per curiam).

         A claim may be adjudicated on the merits in state court even in the absence of a statement of reasons by the state court for rejecting the claim. Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 98-99 (2011). In particular, determining whether a state court's decision resulted from an unreasonable legal or factual conclusion does not require that there be an opinion from the state court explaining the state court's reasoning. Id. at 98. Thus, “[w]hen a federal claim has been presented to a state court and the state court has denied relief, it may be presumed that the state court adjudicated the claim on the merits in the absence of any indication or state-law procedural principles to the contrary.” Id. at 99.

         The court reviews claims of legal error and mixed questions of law and fact pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). See Cook v. McKune, 323 F.3d 825, 830 (10th Cir. 2003). The threshold question the court must answer under § 2254(d)(1) is whether the applicant seeks to apply a rule of law that was clearly established by the Supreme Court at the time of the relevant state court decision. See Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 390 (2000). Clearly established federal law “refers to the holdings, as ...


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