United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER ON APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
A. Brimmer, Chief United States 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 Angel Quintana. Docket No. 1. Having
considered the Application, Respondents' Answer,
Applicant's Traverse (“Reply”), and the state
court record, the Court denies the Application for the
reasons discussed below.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
was convicted by a jury in Denver District Court No. 04CR2291
of criminal attempt to commit reckless manslaughter, first
degree assault, and two counts of second degree kidnapping
with a deadly weapon. (State Court Record (“R.), Court
File at 279-287). The Colorado Court of Appeals summarized
the evidence at Applicant's trial as follows:
After B.M. broke up with defendant at a local restaurant in
Denver, B.M. and her sister, S.P. (the victims), drove to a
different restaurant where they socialized with others in the
restaurant's parking lot. B.M. was talking with T.S., a
male friend of hers, in her car. T.S. was sitting in the
driver's seat, and B.M. was crouched alongside him,
“in the door jamb, ” showing him the televisions
that were in the car. S.P. was in the passenger's seat of
the car talking to another man. Shortly thereafter, B.M. saw
defendant rapidly approaching, “yelling, cursing,
” and shooting at the car. Defendant shot approximately
four bullets, one of which hit the window of the car door.
T.S. jumped out of the car and ran away. As he was running
away, defendant fired a shot in his direction, but T.S. was
Defendant grabbed B.M., threw her into the driver's seat,
got into the backseat of the car, and told her to drive.
Evidence was conflicting whether defendant ordered S.P. to
get into the car or whether S.P. was already in the car then.
In any event, S.P., who was in the passenger's seat,
screamed at defendant, asking him what he was doing, and in
response, defendant hit her in the mouth. B.M., having driven
a few feet, put the car in park, and told S.P. to get out of
the car. When B.M. attempted to exit the car, defendant shot
her in the hip. B.M. tried to run, but she fell down because
her leg was numb from the gunshot wound. As S.P. came around
the car to see if B.M. was okay, defendant picked up B.M. and
put her in the passenger's seat of the car. He then put
S.P. in the backseat of the car.
Defendant drove the victims to a deserted field, put on
gloves, and said that he had to kill B.M., because she had
“f ***** up” and tried “to play him,
” meaning that she had “made him feel
stupid.” However, defendant had no more bullets. B.M.
said she was sorry and asked him to take her to the hospital.
Defendant refused and instead took the victims to his
mother's house where B.M. began “shaking really
bad” and begged defendant to take her to the hospital.
Eventually, defendant agreed to take B.M. to the hospital
with the understanding that she would tell the police that
she was shot in a drive-by shooting.
Initially, both victims told the police that B.M. had been
shot in a drive-by shooting. However, in a second interview
with the police, B.M. admitted that defendant shot her, but
did not provide defendant's last name.
Defendant was charged with one count of criminal attempt to
commit first degree murder against B.M., one count of first
degree assault against B.M., and two counts of second degree
kidnapping with a deadly weapon (one count against B.M. and
one count against S.P.). After a trial, the jury found
defendant not guilty of attempt to commit first degree
murder, but guilty of the lesser included offense of criminal
attempt to commit manslaughter. The jury also found defendant
guilty of the remaining charges. Defendant was sentenced to a
total of forty-eight years in the custody of the Department
Docket No. 12-3, at 2-4. See also R., Court File at
Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed Applicant's
convictions and sentence in People v. Quintana
(Quintana I), No. 07CA1381 (Colo. Ct. App. Oct. 28,
2010) (unpublished)). Docket No. 12-3. On March 14, 2011, the
Colorado Supreme Court denied Applicant's petition for
certiorari review. Docket No. 12-5.
January 3, 2012, Applicant filed a motion for state
post-conviction relief pursuant to Colo. Crim. P. Rule 35(c),
which the state district court denied. The Colorado Court of
Appeals affirmed in People v. Quintana (Quintana
II), No. 12CA1926 (Colo. Ct. App. Sept. 4, 2014)
(unpublished)). Docket No. 12-8. The Colorado Supreme Court
denied Applicant's petition for certiorari review on
April 20, 2015. Docket No. 12-10.
23, 2015, Applicant filed a § 2254 Application
purporting to raise approximately 36 claims for relief.
Docket No. 1. After reviewing the Respondents' Pre-Answer
Response and Applicant's Reply, the Court issued an order
on November 4, 2015 dismissing several claims as procedurally
barred. Docket No. 19 at 12-19. The Court further concluded
that the following claims of trial court error, which are
asserted in the § 2254 Application, were properly
exhausted in Applicant's direct appeal proceeding and
were ripe for review on the merits:
(1) Applicant's federal and state statutory speedy trial
rights were violated;
(2) the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt
that Applicant committed second degree kidnapping against
(3) The trial court erred in entering inconsistent verdicts
on both reckless and intentional mental states for the same
act against the same victim.
Docket No. 19 at 12-13, 19; see also Quintana I,
Docket No. 12-3.
Applicant exhausted two additional claims in his direct
appeal proceeding, he did not raise them in the § 2254
Application. Respondents state in the Answer that they
have not addressed the merits of claims that were exhausted
in the Colorado appellate courts, but not asserted in the
§ 2254 Application. Docket No. 39 at 4 n.3. In the
Reply, Applicant does not dispute Respondents' statement
or contend that he meant to assert the omitted claims in his
Application. See Docket No. 43 at 3, summarizing the
claims raised by Applicant. Consequently, the Court's
review of claims of trial court error is limited to the three
claims identified above.
Court further concluded in the November 4 Order that the
following Sixth Amendment claims asserted by Applicant were
presented to the Colorado Court of Appeals in Applicant's
first state post-conviction proceeding, and were properly
exhausted in the state courts:
(4) Trial counsel was operating under a conflict of interest.
(5) Trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective in failing
(a) remove jurors who saw Applicant in restrictive custody;
(b) protect Applicant's right to a speedy trial;
(c) provide Applicant with discovery before trial;
(d) prepare for trial;
(e) make an opening statement;
(f) investigate the case;
(g) effectively cross-examine certain witnesses; (h) call
witnesses favorable to the defense;
(i) file a notice of appeal;
(j) pursue an “innocence” defense.
Docket No. 19 at 13-14; Quintana II, Docket No.
12-8, at 3, 6-13.
Court also determined that Applicant presented other
ineffective assistance claims that were not exhausted in the
state courts and, therefore, were anticipatorily procedurally
defaulted. Docket No. 19 at 4-5, 15-19. However, because
Applicant was not represented by counsel in his state
post-conviction proceeding, the Court deferred ruling on the
claims pending a determination of whether there was cause for
the procedural default under the standard articulated in
Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 19 (2012). Id.
at 17-18. In Martinez, the Supreme Court held:
Where, under state law, claims of ineffective assistance of
trial counsel must be raised in an initial-review collateral
proceeding, a procedural default will not bar a federal
habeas court from hearing a substantial claim of ineffective
assistance at trial if, in the initial-review collateral
proceeding, there was no counsel or counsel in that
proceeding was ineffective.
Id. at 17.
were directed to file an Answer addressing the merits of the
claims delineated above, and to address whether the
procedurally defaulted ineffective assistance claims are
substantial under Martinez. Id. at 19.
Applicant filed a motion to stay the § 2254 Application
so he could attempt to exhaust his unexhausted ineffective
assistance claims in a second post-conviction motion he had
filed in the state courts. Docket No. 21. On December 28,
2015, the Court issued an order staying the case pending the
Colorado courts' determination of Applicant's second
post-conviction motion. Docket No. 24. The Colorado Court of
Appeals issued a decision affirming the state district
court's denial of post-conviction relief on March 15,
2018. See People v. Angel Quintana (Quintana
III), No. 16CA0469 (Colo.App. March 15, 2018)
(unpublished) Docket No. 28-1. Applicant's petition for
certiorari review was denied on September 17, 2018. Docket
November 18, 2018, Respondents filed an Answer addressing the
merits of the properly exhausted claims and the applicability
of Martinez to the unexhausted claims. Docket No.
39. Applicant filed a Reply on January 11, 2019. Docket No.
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
28 U.S.C. § 2254
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). The applicant bears the burden of
proof under' 2254(d). See Woodford v.
Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 25 (2002) (per curiam).
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. Even
“[w]here a state court's decision is unaccompanied
by an explanation, the habeas petitioner's burden still
must be met by showing there was no reasonable basis for the
state court to deny relief” Id. at 98. In
other words, the Court “owe[s] deference to the state
court's result, even if its reasoning is not expressly
stated” Aycox v. Lytle, 196 F.3d 1174, 1177
(10th Cir. 1999). Therefore, the Court “must uphold the
state court's summary decision unless [the Court's]
independent review of the record and pertinent federal law
persuades [the Court] that its result contravenes or
unreasonably applies clearly established federal law, or is
based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light
of the evidence presented.” Id. at 1178.
“[T]his 'independent review' should be
distinguished from a full de novo review of the
petitioner's claims.” Id.
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 Greene v.
Fisher, 565 U.S. 34 (2011). 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 pursuant to
§ 2254(d)(1). See Id. at 2018.
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
, 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.
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
House, 527 F.3d at 1018.
court's inquiry pursuant to the “unreasonable
application" clause is an objective inquiry. 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,
evaluating 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, 562 U.S. at 101 (internal quotation
marks 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]
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 also Harrington, 562 U.S. at 88
(stating that “even a strong case for relief does not
mean the state court's contrary conclusion was
As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus from a federal
court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's
ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so
lacking in justification that there was an error well
understood and comprehended in ...