United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MCBRYDE UNITED STATES DISTRIC JUDGE.
a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 filed by petitioner, Roberto Sanchez, a state
prisoner incarcerated in the Correctional Institutions
Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ),
against Lorie Davis, Director of TDCJ, respondent. After
having considered the pleadings, state court records, and
relief sought by petitioner, the Court has concluded that the
petition should be denied.
2009 petitioner was indicted in Tarrant County, Texas, Case
No. 1152436D, for the murder of Sergio Gonzalez. (Clerk's
R. 6, ECF No. 9-13.) Following a jury trial, the jury found
petitioner guilty and assessed his punishment at seventy
years' confinement and a $10, 000 fine. (Id. at
91.) Petitioner appealed his conviction, but the Second
District Court of Appeals of Texas affirmed the trial
court's judgment, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
refused his petition for discretionary review, (Mem. Op.
& Dkt Sheet, ECF Nos. 9-4 & 9-2, respectively.)
Petitioner also filed a state postconviction habeas
application challenging his conviction, which was denied
without written order by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
on the findings of the trial court. (State Habeas R., Action
Taken, ECF No. 10-7.) This federal petition followed.
state appellate court summarized the background facts of the
case as follows:
Sanchez and his friend drove to a Fort Worth nightclub where
Sanchez's two cousins, Ingrid and Dilcia, worked. Dilcia
spent most of the evening drinking and talking with Sergio
Gonzalez, a customer. Around closing time, Dilcia told Sergio
that she was leaving with Sanchez, Ingrid, and Sanchez's
Sergio, upset that Dilcia was leaving with Sanchez,
confronted the group in the parking lot as they prepared to
drive away, shouting expletives and banging on the car's
window. Sanchez and his friend got out of the car, and, after
exchanging heated words with Sergio, Sanchez pulled a knife
from his pocket. Sergio then fled to a parking lot next door
as Sanchez chased him with the knife. Sanchez caught up to
Sergio near an ice machine across the parking lot and, as
Sergio leaped backwards to avoid the knife, Sanchez stabbed
him once in the chest.
Before trial, the State informed the court and Sanchez's
counsel that Dilcia, Ingrid, and Sanchez were in the country
illegally, and during Dilcia's testimony, when the State
asked her if Sanchez was in the country illegally, Dilcia
said that he was. At the close of evidence, Sanchez requested
jury instructions on self-defense, defense of third persons,
and necessity. The trial court denied the request, finding
that the instructions had not been raised by the evidence.
(Mem. Op. 1-2, ECF No. 9-4.)
grounds for relief, petitioner complains of ineffective
assistance of trial counsel. (Pet. 6, ECF No. 6-7.)
Rule 5 Statement
believes that petitioner has sufficiently exhausted his state
court remedies as to the claims raised and that the petition
is neither time-barred nor subject to the successive-petition
bar. (Resp't's Answer 4, ECF No. at 11.) 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(b), (d) .
Standard for Granting Habeas Corpus Relief
§ 22 54 habeas petition is governed by the heightened
standard of review provided for by the Anti-Terrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Under the Act, a writ of habeas corpus should be granted only
if a state court arrives at a decision that is contrary to or
an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme
Court precedent or that is based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the record before the
state court. Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86,
100-01 (2011); 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2). This standard
is difficult to meet and "stops short of imposing a
complete bar on federal court relitigation of claims already
rejected in state proceedings." Harrington, 562
U.S. at 102.
the statute requires that federal courts give great deference
to a state court's factual findings. Hill v.
Johnson, 210 F.3d 481, 485 (5th Cir. 2000). Section
2254(e)(1) provides that a determination of a factual issue
made by a state court shall be presumed to be correct. The
petitioner has the burden of rebutting the presumption of
correctness by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(1); Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S.
322, 340 (2003); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362,
399 (2000). Further, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
denies a federal claim in a state habeas corpus application
without written opinion, a federal court may presume
"that the state court adjudicated the claim on the
merits in the absence of any indication or state-law
procedural principles to the contrary" and applied the
correct "clearly established federal law, as determined
by the Supreme Court of the United States" unless there
is evidence that an incorrect standard was applied, in making
its decision. Johnson v. Williams, ___ U.S.___, 133
S.Ct. 1088, 1094 (2013); Harrington, 562 U.S. at 99;
Schaetzle v. Cockrell, 343 F.3d 440, 444 (5th Cir.