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Mezo-Reyes v. Humphreys

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

February 11, 2019

ARMANDO MEZO-REYES, Petitioner,
v.
ROBERT HUMPHREYS, Respondent.

          DECISION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          NANCY JOSEPH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Armando Mezo-Reyes, a prisoner in Wisconsin custody, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket # 1.) Mezo-Reyes was convicted of second-degree sexual assault, battery, and one count of having sex with a child over the age of sixteen. He was sentenced to fifteen years of initial confinement to be followed by ten years of extended supervision. Mezo-Reyes alleges that his conviction and sentence were unconstitutional. For the reasons stated below, the petition for writ of habeas corpus will be denied and the case dismissed.

         BACKGROUND

         Mezo-Reyes' conviction stems from allegations that he “forced his way into the home of his ex-girlfriend, pushed her to the floor, and forcibly had sexual intercourse with her.” (State v. Mezo-Reyes, 2015AP1746, 2015AP1747 (Wis. Ct. App. June 22, 2016), Docket # 9-5 at 2.) After his arrest, Mezo-Reyes was interviewed by Walworth police and gave an incriminating statement. Before trial, Mezo-Reyes moved to suppress his statement. He argued that police gave him the Miranda warning in English, although his first language was Spanish, and he did not speak or comprehend English proficiently enough to freely, voluntarily, and intelligently waive his rights. (Id. at 2-3.) The trial court denied the motion finding that Mezo-Reyes had knowingly and intelligently waived his rights.

         Mezo-Reyes appealed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, which rejected his argument and affirmed the conviction. (Docket # 9-6.) Mezo-Reyes then petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which denied review. (Docket # 9-7.) Subsequently, Mezo-Reyes timely filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this court.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Mezo-Reyes' petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”). Under AEDPA, a writ of habeas corpus may be granted if the state court decision on the merits of the petitioner's claim (1) was “contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, ” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1); or (2) “was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding, ” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2).

         A state court's decision is “contrary to . . . clearly established Federal law as established by the United States Supreme Court” if it is “substantially different from relevant [Supreme Court] precedent.” Washington v. Smith, 219 F.3d 620, 628 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000)). The court of appeals for this circuit recognized the narrow application of the “contrary to” clause:

[U]nder the “contrary to” clause of § 2254(d)(1), [a court] could grant a writ of habeas corpus . . . where the state court applied a rule that contradicts the governing law as expounded in Supreme Court cases or where the state court confronts facts materially indistinguishable from a Supreme Court case and nevertheless arrives at a different result.

Washington, 219 F.3d at 628. The court further explained that the “unreasonable application of” clause was broader and “allows a federal habeas court to grant habeas relief whenever the state court ‘unreasonably applied [a clearly established] principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.'” Id. (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413).

         To be unreasonable, a state court ruling must be more than simply “erroneous” and perhaps more than “clearly erroneous.” Hennon v. Cooper, 109 F.3d 330, 334 (7th Cir. 1997). Under the “unreasonableness” standard, a state court's decision will stand “if it is one of several equally plausible outcomes.” Hall v. Washington, 106 F.3d 742, 748-49 (7th Cir. 1997). In Morgan v. Krenke, the court explained that:

Unreasonableness is judged by an objective standard, and under the “unreasonable application” clause, “a federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly. Rather, that application must also be unreasonable.”

232 F.3d 562, 565-66 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 411), cert. denied, 532 U.S. 951 (2001). Accordingly, before a court may issue a writ of habeas corpus, it must determine that the state court decision was both incorrect ...


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