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Sanchez v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 5, 2017

Christian Alberto Sanchez, Petitioner,
v.
Charles L. Ryan; et al., Respondents.

          ORDER

          Leslie A. Bowman United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pending before the court is the petitioner's “Motion to Request Additional Documents and Relevant Evidence from Trial Record, ” filed on May 25, 2017. (Doc. 20)

         Also pending is the petitioner's “Motion to Request Full California Records of Alleged Crimes Used in State's Notice of Intent to Use Specific Instances of Conduct (Rule 404), ” also filed on May 25, 2017. (Doc. 21)

         Also pending is the petitioner's “Motion to Request Full California Records of Alleged Crimes Used in State's Notice of Intent to Use Specific Instances of Conduct (Rule 404) and Motion for Hearing, ” filed on June 23, 2017. (Doc. 30)

         The petitioner, Christian Alberto Sanchez, does not show “good cause” to conduct discovery; his motions will be denied.

         Background

         Sanchez was convicted after a jury trial of “one count of molestation of a child, three counts of sexual abuse of a minor under fifteen, and one count of sexual conduct with a minor under fifteen.” (Doc. 14, pp, 3-4) The trial court sentenced Sanchez to an aggregate term of imprisonment of thirty-seven years. (Doc. 14, p. 4)

         At trial, the state introduced evidence that Sanchez sexually abused R.H., the daughter of Sanchez's girlfriend, Shauna Fabian. (Doc. 1, p. 8); (Doc. 18-6, p. 3) The state also introduced “other-act” evidence pursuant to Ariz.R.Evid. 404(c) that Sanchez previously had sexually abused E.R., the daughter of Sanchez's ex-wife, Valerie Villa. (Doc. 1, p. 8); (Doc. 14, p. 5); (Doc. 16, p. 41)

         On November 28, 2016, Sanchez filed in this court the pending petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1) He claims (1) trial counsel was ineffective because (a) Valerie Villa should have been called as a witness at the other-acts hearing, (b) Garardo Belford, Sanchez's brother, should have been called to testify that E.R. made “ludicrous” allegations against him, (c) Danelle Barnett should have been called to testify about Villa's unsavory character and her animosity toward Sanchez, and (d) Paul Simpson, forensic psychologist, should have been called to rebut testimony offered by the state's expert, Wendy Dutton. (Doc. 1) He further claims (2) his rights to “due process of law” and “a fair trial” pursuant to “Amendments 5, 6, and 14 of the U.S. Constitution” were violated when the court admitted “other-act” evidence and testimony from the state's expert, Wendy Dutton. (Doc. 1, p. 46)

         The respondents filed an answer in which they argue that Sanchez's due process/fair trial claim is procedurally defaulted while his ineffective assistance claim should be denied on the merits. (Doc. 13) Sanchez filed a reply on May 25, 2017. (Doc. 22) On the same day, he filed two of the pending motions for discovery. (Doc. 20); (Doc. 21) He filed his third discovery motion on June 23, 2017. (Doc. 30)

         Discussion

         Unlike a party to a normal civil action, a habeas petitioner “is not entitled to discovery as a matter of ordinary course.” Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S. 899, 904, 117 S.Ct. 1793, 1796-97 (1997). Rule 6(a) of the Rules Governing § 2254 cases permits discovery “only in the discretion of the court and for good cause shown.” Rich v. Calderon, 187 F.3d 1064, 1068 (9thCir.1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1092. “A ‘good cause' analysis requires the reviewing court to identify the ‘essential elements' of the underlying substantive claim, and determine whether petitioner's allegations, if proven, would satisfy those elements and show the violation of a constitutional right.” Williams v. Hall, 648 F.Supp.2d 1222, 1225 (D. Or. 2009) (citing Bracy, 520 U.S. at 904, 117 S.Ct. at 1797).

         Since Bracy was decided, the Supreme Court has held in Pinholster that a federal court analyzing a properly exhausted habeas claim is limited to the record that was before the state court when the claim was originally denied. See Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 131 S.Ct. 1388 (2011). The holding in Pinholster is an additional hurdle the petitioner must overcome if he is to establish “good cause” for habeas discovery.

         In his first motion, Doc. 20, Sanchez asks for a CD player and a special program that will allow him to listen to “several CD discs which allegedly contain interviews of witnesses in this case.” (Doc. 20, pp. 1-2) Apparently, Sanchez has in his possession CDs (compact discs) that appear on the trial Exhibit List and are labeled Exhibit J-1 and Exhibit 1A. (Doc. 26-1, pp. 3, 4); (Doc. 29, p. 4) (citing respondents' attachment 1) Exhibit J-1 is identified only as “C.D. in plastic case.” (Doc. 26-1, p. 3) The accompanying notation states “admitted ...


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