United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Rosenthal Chief United States District Judge.
state inmate Lisa Michelle McNeil filed a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the
failure of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to release
her to mandatory supervision. The respondent, Lorie Davis,
moves for summary judgment. In response, McNeil reasserted
that she is entitled to release and filed an excerpt from a
handbook published by the Parole Board. (Docket Entry Nos.
on careful consideration of the pleadings, the motion, the
record, and the applicable law, this court concludes that
McNeil has not stated a meritorious ground for federal habeas
relief, denies her § 2254 petition, and, by separate
order, enters final judgment. The reasons are explained
was indicted for the felony offense of capital murder. A jury
found her guilty of murder with a deadly weapon and, in March
1990, sentenced her to life imprisonment. In this federal
habeas petition, McNeil challenges the Parole Board's
failure to release her to mandatory supervision, not her
underlying conviction or sentence.
2018, McNeil filed a state habeas application under Article
11.07 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, asserting
claims in connection with her eligibility for mandatory
supervision release. See Ex parte McNeil,
Application No. WR-88, 847-01. In August 2018, the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals denied the application, without a
written order or a hearing, on the findings of the trial
court. Id. McNeil filed this federal habeas petition
in August 2018, asserting that the Parole Board's failure
to release her to mandatory supervision violated the state
law in effect when she committed her holding offense. (Docket
Entry No. 1, at 6).
The Legal Standards
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA), federal habeas relief cannot be granted on legal
issues adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the
state adjudication was contrary to clearly established
federal law as determined by the Supreme Court, or involved
an unreasonable application of clearly established federal
law as determined by the Supreme Court. Harrington v.
Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 98-99 (2011); Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404-05 (2000); 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2254(d)(1), (2). A state-court decision is
contrary to federal precedent if it applies a rule that
contradicts the governing law set forth by the Supreme Court,
or if it involves materially indistinguishable facts and
arrives at a different result. Early v. Packer, 537
U.S. 3, 7-8 (2002).
court unreasonably applies Supreme Court precedent if it
unreasonably applies the correct legal rule to the facts of a
particular case, or unreasonably extends a legal principle
from Supreme Court precedent to a different and inappropriate
context, or unreasonably refuses to extend that principle to
a context to which it should apply. Williams, 529
U.S. at 409. The issue is whether the state court's
application was objectively unreasonable. Id.
“It bears repeating that even a strong case for relief
does not mean the state court's contrary conclusion was
unreasonable.” Richter, 562 U.S. at 102. As
the Supreme Court stated in Richter,
If this standard is difficult to meet, that is because it was
meant to be. As amended by AEDPA, § 2254(d) stops short
of imposing a complete bar on federal court relitigation of
claims already rejected in state proceedings. It preserves
authority to issue the writ in cases where there is no
possibility fairminded jurists could disagree that the state
court's decision conflicts with this Court's
precedents. It goes no farther. 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
Id., at 102-03 (emphasis added; internal citations
requires federal habeas courts to defer to a state
court's resolution of factual issues. Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(d)(2), a state-court decision on the merits based
on a factual determination will not be overturned unless it
is objectively unreasonable in light of the evidence
presented in the state-court proceeding. Miller-El v.
Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 343 (2003). A federal habeas
court presumes the state court's factual determination to
be correct, unless the petitioner rebuts the presumption of
correctness by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(1); see also Miller-El, 537 U.S. at
330-31. This presumption extends not only to express fact
findings, but also to implicit findings. Garcia v.
Quarterman, 454 F.3d 441, 444 (5th Cir. 2006) (citations
judgment is proper when the record shows “no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). In ordinary civil cases, a district court considering
a motion for summary judgment must construe disputed facts in
a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986) (“The evidence of the nonmovant is to be
believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
his favor.”). Although Rule 56 applies in the context
of habeas corpus cases, Clark v. Johnson, 202 F.3d
760, 764 (5th Cir. 2000), a court on summary judgment must
view the evidence through “the prism of the substantive
evidentiary burden.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
254. AEDPA limited both the nature and availability of habeas
review. General summary judgment standards apply to the
extent they do not conflict with AEDPA. See Smith v.
Cockrell, 311 F.3d 661, 668 (5th Cir. 2002)
(“[Rule 56] applies only to the extent that it does not
conflict with the habeas rules.”), abrogated on
other grounds by Tennard v. Dretke, 542 U.S. 274 (2004).
is representing herself. Self-represented habeas petitions
are construed liberally and are not held to the same
stringent and rigorous standards as pleadings lawyers file.
See Martin v. Maxey, 98 F.3d 844, 847 n.4 (5th Cir.
1996); Guidroz v. Lynaugh, 852 F.2d 832, 834 (5th
Cir. 1988); Woodall v. Foti, 648 F.2d 268, 271 (5th
Cir. Unit A June 1981). This court broadly ...