United States District Court, D. Colorado
JORGE J. ROSALES, Applicant,
RICK RAEMISCH, Exec. Dir., CDOC, and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF COLORADO, Respondents.
ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
William J. Martinez United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the Application for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No.
(“Application”) filed pro se by
Applicant Jorge J. Rosales. Applicant challenges a conviction
imposed in the District Court for Boulder County, Colorado,
No. 2015CR52. Respondents filed an Answer (ECF No. 13).
Applicant filed a Reply (ECF No. 14). After reviewing the
record before the Court, including the Application, Answer,
Reply, and the state court record, the Court FINDS and
CONCLUDES that the Application should be denied and the case
dismissed with prejudice.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Colorado Court of Appeals described the relevant factual and
procedural background of No. 2015CR52 as follows:
Defendant, Jorge Jovani Rosales, was convicted of second
degree kidnapping, aggravated robbery, menacing, and third
degree assault for his role in the robbery of his supervisor.
Rosales and his accomplice told their supervisor that they
would drive him to see a truck he intended to purchase with
cash. Once inside the car, they locked the doors, and Rosales
held the victim at gunpoint as his accomplice drove to a
remote location. There, Rosales dragged the victim from the
car; the two men beat him; and, while Rosales held a gun to
the victim's head, the accomplice took the cash from the
(ECF No. 9-3 at 2). In the direct appeal, Applicant argued
“the evidence was insufficient to support his
convictions for kidnapping and robbery” as a principal,
and no complicity jury instruction was tendered, thus his
convictions should be reversed. (Id.). The Colorado
Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions based on
Applicant's role as a principal. (Id. at 9).
Respondents contend that the conviction became final on
September 16, 2018. (ECF No. 9 at 4).
commenced this § 2254 proceeding on September 10, 2018.
(ECF No. 1). He alleges his due process rights were violated
because no complicity jury instruction was given and the
prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
Applicant “knowingly seized and carried the victim (Mr.
Cheek) from one place to another and/or knowingly took
anything from victim.” (Id. at 5, 7). He
requests “relief from his unlawful convictions.”
(Id. at 7).
Answer, Respondents argue that § 2254(d) bars federal
habeas corpus relief. (ECF No. 13 at 13). They contend
“there was a significant amount of evidence presented
at trial showing Applicant was guilty of the charged crimes
as a principal, ” and the Colorado Court of
Appeals' factual determinations were supported by the
record and not unreasonable. (Id. at 13-14).
Reply, Applicant does not address the merits of his claim.
(ECF No. 14). Instead, he requests appointment of counsel
“if an evidentiary hearing is warranted.”
(Id. at 3). He attached a copy of his Reply Brief
from the direct appeal. (Id. at 7-19).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must construe Applicant's filings liberally because
he is not represented by an attorney. See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However,
the Court should not be an advocate for a pro se
litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.
28 U.S.C. § 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
(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). Applicant bears the burden of proof
under § 2254(d). See Woodford v.
Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 25 (2002) (per curiam).
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, 829-30 (10th Cir. 2003).
The threshold question the Court must answer under §
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). Clearly 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.” Id. at 412.
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.
2008). If there is no clearly established federal law, that
is the end of the Court's inquiry under §
2254(d)(1). See id. at 1018.
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 404-05.
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
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.
House, 527 F.3d at 1018.
Court's inquiry pursuant to the “unreasonable
application” clause is objective. 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. Furthermore,
[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). In
conducting this analysis, the Court “must determine
what arguments or theories supported or . . . could have
supported the state court's decision” and then
“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. In addition, “review
under § 2254(d)(1) is limited to the record that was
before the state court that adjudicated the claim on the
merits.” Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170,
this standard, “only the most serious misapplications
of Supreme Court precedent will be a basis for relief under
§ 2254.” Maynard, 468 F.3d at 671;
see alsoRichter, 562 U.S. at 102 (stating
“that even a strong case for relief does not ...