United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS
Christine M. Arguello District Judge.
matter before the Court is an Application for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed pro
se by Applicant. See ECF No. 1. The Court has
determined it can resolve the Application without a hearing.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2); Fed. R. Governing
Section 2254 Cases 8(a).
was convicted of one count of possession with intent to
distribute more than one kilogram of cocaine in State of
Colorado Criminal No. 02-CR-1419 in the Adams County District
Court in Brighton, Colorado. See People of the State of
Colo. v. Loya-Quezada, 14CA1229, 2 (Colo.App. Aug. 17,
2017); Pre-Answer Resp., Ex. C, ECF No. 8-3 at 7. In the
Colorado Court of Appeals' (CCA's) order affirming
Applicant's conviction, the CCA summarized the underlying
facts of the criminal case as follows:
In 2002, R.M., a confidential informant (CI) for the North
Metro Task Force, met Loya-Quezada at a Kmart parking lot.
According to R.M., Loya-Quezada offered to sell him one
kilogram, or a “kilo, ” of cocaine. R.M. later
met Loya-Quezada at his house, where Loya-Quezada showed him
the drugs and offered to sell the kilo, less a small amount
he had already sold, for $17, 500. R.M. told Loya-Quezada he
needed to get money for the buy, then left the house and
called his police handler, Detective Jorge Villegas, to
report the exchange. Detective Villegas personally drove to
Loya-Quezada's residence to make observations for his
affidavit to obtain a search warrant. Based on the affidavit,
the magistrate granted the request to issue the search
Police officers executed the search warrant on
Loya-Quezada's home and found 944 grams of cocaine in a
black Ford F-150 pickup truck parked in the driveway.
Loya-Quezada's fingerprints were on the packaging of the
cocaine. Police officers then arrested Loya-Quezada, who
later told police officers that a friend had left the drugs
in his truck to pick up later.
Loya-Quezada, No. 14CA1229 at 1-2; ECF No. 8-3 at
filed the 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Application on July 30, 2018.
On July 31, 2018, the magistrate judge directed Respondents
to file a Pre-Answer Response and to address the affirmative
defenses of timeliness under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), and
exhaustion of state court remedies under 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A), if Respondents intended to raise either or
both in this action. Respondents filed a Pre-Answer Response,
ECF No. 8, on August 23, 2018. Applicant filed a statement,
ECF No. 13, on October 1, 2018, that was construed as a Reply
to the Pre-Answer Response.
Judge Lewis T. Babcock reviewed the Pre-Answer Response and
the Reply and filed an Order for Answer on December 20, 2018.
See ECF No. 14. In the December 20 Order, the Court
determined that Applicant's two claims should be drawn to
a presiding judge and when applicable to a magistrate judge
for a review on the merits. Id. at 10. Respondents
were directed to file an answer in compliance with Rule 5 of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases that fully addresses
the merits of Claims One and Two, which they did January 22,
2019. See ECF No. 15. Applicant failed to reply to
the Answer within the time allowed. On March 21, 2019,
Applicant filed a Letter, ECF No. 17, in which he asks about
the status of the Court's decision and generally
challenges the errors in his state criminal case.
reviewing the Application, ECF No. 1, the Answer, ECF No. 15,
the Letter, ECF No. 17, and the state court record, ECF No.
16, the Court concludes, for the following reasons, that the
Application should be denied and the case dismissed with
claims for review on the merits are as follows:
1) There was no nexus between the alleged criminal activity
and the search that was conducted, which violated
Applicant's Fourth Amendment rights; and
2) A fingerprint card was admitted without proper foundation,
which violated Applicant's rights to confrontation under
the state and federal constitutions.
ECF No. 1 at 4-5.
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;
(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).
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 pursuant to' 2254(d)(1) is whether
Applicant seeks to apply a rule of law that was clearly
established by the Supreme Court at the time his conviction
became final. See Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362,
390 (2000). The “review under' 2254(d)(1) is
limited to the record that was before the state court that
adjudicated the prisoner's claim on the merits.”
Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S.170, 181 (2011).
“Finality occurs when direct state appeals have been
exhausted and a petition for writ of certiorari from this
Court has become time barred or has been disposed of.”
Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 39 (2011) (citing
Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 321, n.6 (1987).
established federal law “refers to the holdings, as
opposed to the dicta, of [the Supreme] Court's decisions
as of the time of the relevant state-court decision.”
Williams, 529 U.S. at 412. Furthermore,
clearly established law consists of Supreme Court holdings in
cases where the facts are at least closely-related or similar
to the case sub judice. Although the legal rule at
issue need not have had its genesis in the closely-related or
similar factual context, the Supreme Court must have
expressly extended the legal rule to that context.
House v. Hatch, 527 F.3d 1010, 1016 (10th Cir.
there is no clearly established federal law, that is the end
of the Court's inquiry pursuant to' 2254(d)(1).
See Id. at 1018. If a clearly established rule of
federal law is implicated, the Court must determine whether
the state court's decision was contrary to or an
unreasonable application of that clearly established rule of
federal law. See Williams, 529 U.S. at
A state-court decision is contrary to clearly established
federal law if: (a) “the state court applies a rule
that contradicts the governing law set forth in Supreme Court
cases”; or (b) “the state court confronts a set
of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a
decision of the Supreme Court and nevertheless arrives at a
result different from [that] precedent.”
Maynard [v. Boone], 468 F.3d [665, ] 669
[(10th Cir. 2006)] (internal quotation marks and brackets
omitted) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 405).
“The word ‘contrary' is commonly understood
to mean ‘diametrically different,' ‘opposite
in character or nature,' or ‘mutually opposed.'
” Williams, 529 U.S. at 405 (citation
A state court decision involves an unreasonable application
of clearly established federal law when it identifies the
correct governing legal rule from Supreme Court cases, but
unreasonably applies it to the facts. Id. at 407-08.
Additionally, we have recognized that an unreasonable
application may occur if the state court either unreasonably
extends, or unreasonably refuses to extend, a legal principle
from Supreme Court precedent to a new context where it should
apply. Carter [v. Ward], 347 F.3d. [860, ]
864 [10th Cir. 2003] (quoting Valdez [v.
Ward, 219 F.3d  1229-30 [10th Cir. 2000]).
House, 527 F.3d at 1018.
Court's inquiry pursuant to the “unreasonable
application” clause is an objective one. See
Williams, 529 U.S. at 409-10. “[A] federal habeas
court may not issue the writ simply because that court
concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant
state-court decision applied clearly established federal law
erroneously or incorrectly. Rather that application must also
be unreasonable.” Id. at 411. “[A]
decision is ‘objectively unreasonable' when most
reasonable jurists exercising their independent judgment
would conclude the state court misapplied Supreme Court
law.” Maynard, 468 F.3d at 671. In addition,
[E]valuating whether a rule application was unreasonable
requires considering the rule's specificity. The more
general the rule, the more leeway courts have in reaching
outcomes in case-by-case determinations. [I]t is not an
unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law
for a state court to decline to apply a specific legal rule
that has not been squarely established by [the Supreme]
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The Court
“must determine what arguments or theories supported
or, . . . could have supported, the state court's
decision” and then “it must ask whether it is
possible fairminded jurists could disagree that those
arguments or theories are inconsistent with the holding in a
prior decision of [the Supreme] Court.” Id. At
102. “[E]ven a strong case for relief does not mean the
state court's contrary conclusion was
unreasonable.” Id. (citation omitted).
“Section 2254(d) reflects the view that habeas corpus
is a guard against extreme malfunctions in the ...