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Stanford v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 21, 2015

Robert B. Stanford, Petitioner,
v.
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Respondents.

ORDER

JAMES A. TEILBORG, Senior District Judge.

Pending before the Court is the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 18), recommending that Petitioner's Amended Petition Under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254 for a Writ of Habeas Corpus By a Person in State Custody (Non-Death Penalty) be denied, and that the Court decline to issue a certificate of appealability.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Petitioner is serving an eighteen year sentence in the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, Arizona for a second degree murder conviction. Petitioner's convictions arise out of an altercation that occurred outside the Redfish Grill and Bar in Chandler, Arizona. The Arizona Court of Appeals recounted the events as follows:

On August 6, 2007, [Petitioner] was asked to leave the Redfish Grill and Bar ("Redfish") because he was arguing with a bar patron. As the head bouncer escorted [Petitioner] to his car, they crossed paths with Victim in the parking lot. [Petitioner] and Victim made eye contact, and then [Petitioner] asked him "what the f*** he was looking at." Victim reacted to [Petitioner] by yelling that [Petitioner] did not know who he was. [Petitioner] and Victim continued yelling and tried to fight one another but were separated by other bouncers. The yelling continued across the parking lot as the head bouncer escorted [Petitioner] away from Victim and to his car. Once at the car, [Petitioner] told the head bouncer that he's got something for [Victim] in the car, that he'll take care of it.' [Petitioner] then got into the car, apologized to the bouncer for the situation, said he was leaving for the night, and drove off.
A few minutes after [Petitioner] drove off, the bouncer monitoring the patio saw [Petitioner's] car return to the parking lot. [Petitioner] was driving and began circling the parking lot in the same direction about five or six times. About ten to fifteen minutes after [Petitioner] left, the headbouncer saw Victim inside the restaurant. Although Victim was acting fine, was not arguing with anyone, and was not as upset as he had been in the parking lot, the head bouncer escorted him out of the restaurant because it was standard procedure for anyone involved in a confrontation to be escorted out of the restaurant. Victim was initially upset that he was asked to leave but was calm as another bouncer escorted him to his car. That bouncer then returned to the front of the restaurant with the head bouncer. Less than a minute later, they heard gunshots, and then Victim came around the corner of the restaurant and collapsed in front of them. Victim had been shot.... Victim died from internal bleeding because the bullet hit his lungs.
Officers from the Chandler Police Department quickly arrived at the crime scene. Officers could not find anyone who witnessed the shooting but found two.45 caliber shell casings, a bullet hole in a nearby restaurant, and a bullet hole in Victim's car. Police determined the shooter used a.45 caliber gun.
The investigation led police to [Petitioner]. Police searched [Petitioner's] apartment and found a receipt for a.45 caliber gun and.45 caliber ammunition. During a police interview with the case agent, [Petitioner] initially lied and said he was not involved with the shooting at the Redfish. Later in the interview, however, [Petitioner] confessed to shooting Victim with a.45 caliber gun but claimed it was self-defense. According to [Petitioner], the following occurred. First, Victim hit him while the head bouncer was escorting him to his car. When [Petitioner] was in his car, Victim then jumped on the hood, hit him in the head through the window, leaned into the car, and tried to grab [Petitioner's] gun, which was on his lap. [Petitioner] was scared that the Victim was going to kill him, so he pulled the trigger three times and drove away, not knowing whether or not he shot Victim. [Petitioner] then disposed of the gun and went home.

(Doc. 18 at 2-3) (quoting Doc. 16-1 at 56-59).

B. Procedural History

The Magistrate Judge correctly recited the procedural history of this case as follows:

On August 17, 2007, the Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted Petitioner for one count of second degree murder. (Ex. A at 1-2; Doc. 16-1 at 2-3). Petitioner's six-day trial began on December 1, 2008. (Ex. B; Doc. 16-1 at 6). On December 9, 2008, the jury found Petitioner guilty as charged. (Ex. B; Doc. 16-1 at 30). The trial court thereafter sentenced Petitioner to 18 years in prison. (Ex. J; Doc. 16-1 at 36).
Following his 2009 conviction, Petitioner appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. (Ex. K; Doc. 16-1 at 40). In its May 25, 2010 decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction and sentence. (Ex M; Doc. 16-1 at 55). Petitioner ...

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