United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
HEATON CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
is a state prisoner seeking habeas relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. He was convicted by a jury of first degree
manslaughter in the District Court of Oklahoma County. He
appealed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals
(“OCCA”), which affirmed his conviction and
sentence in an unpublished opinion. He later filed this case.
matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Gary Purcell for
initial proceedings. Judge Purcell has issued a report and
recommendation (the “Report”) recommending that
the petition be denied. Petitioner has objected to the
Report, triggering de novo review of those matters
to which objection is made.
standard for the court's review was accurately stated in
the Report and petitioner does not appear to argue otherwise.
A state prisoner seeking habeas relief on the basis of a
claim adjudicated on the merits in state court must meet the
standards of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), which provides:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim-
(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.
standard is deferential to the state court's
determination of the disputed issues. Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 286 (2000). The question is not
how the federal court might have resolved a question if
presented with it in the first instance. Rather, the focus is
whether the state court's resolution of the issue was
unreasonable, a “substantially higher threshold.”
Schriro v. Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473 (2007).
§ 2254(d), a habeas court must determine what arguments
or theories 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.” Harrington v. Richter, 562
U.S. 86, 102 (2011). Relief is warranted only
“where there is no possibility fairminded
jurists could disagree that the state court's decision
conflicts with [the Supreme Court's] precedents.”
Id. (emphasis added). The deference embodied in
“Section 2254(d) reflects the view that habeas corpus
is a ‘guard against extreme malfunctions in the state
criminal justice systems, ' not a substitute for ordinary
error correction through appeal.” Id. at
102-03 (citation omitted).
factual background of plaintiff's case is set forth in
some detail in the Report and need not be repeated here.
Petitioner's objection does not challenge the
Report's description of the facts, but points to other
facts he asserts are relevant and also draws different
inferences from the facts described in the Report.
challenges his conviction on five grounds: (1) insufficient
evidence to support the verdict, (2) the trial court's
failure to properly instruct the jury, (3) the trial
court's exclusion of evidence, (4) prosecutorial
misconduct, and (5) cumulative error. All five of these
grounds were presented to the OCCA and rejected by it, and
are hence subject to the deferential standard of review
Ground One: ...