United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. READE, JUDGE
matter is before the court pursuant to the petitioner's
application for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 (docket no. 2). The petitioner submitted such
application on February 16, 2017. The petitioner paid the
$5.00 filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a).
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases requires the court
to conduct an initial review of the application for a writ of
habeas corpus and summarily dismiss it, order a response or
“take such action as the judge deems
appropriate.” See Rule 4, Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases. The court may summarily dismiss an
application for a writ of habeas corpus without ordering a
response if it plainly appears from the face of such
application and its exhibits that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief. See id.; 28 U.S.C. § 2243;
Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 414 (7th Cir.
1993). For the reasons set forth below, summary dismissal is
appropriate in this case.
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”) strictly limits a federal court's
power to review habeas corpus petitions brought by
state-court prisoners. See White v. Kelley, 824 F.3d
753, 756 (8th Cir. 2016) (“‘In the interests of
finality and federalism, federal habeas courts are
constrained . . . to exercise only a limited and deferential
review of underlying state court decisions.'”
(quoting Sera v. Norris, 400 F.3d 538, 542 (8th Cir.
2005))); Abernathy v. Hobbs, 748 F.3d 813, 816 (8th
Cir. 2014) (“AEDPA modified a federal habeas
court's role in reviewing state prisoner applications in
order to prevent federal habeas retrials and to ensure
state-court convictions are given effect to the extent
possible under law.”); Taylor v. Roper, 561
F.3d 859, 862 (8th Cir. 2009) (explaining that only a limited
and deferential review of underlying state court decisions is
permitted when habeas corpus relief is sought); Lomholt
v. Iowa, 327 F.3d 748, 751 (8th Cir. 2003) (noting
review is limited and deferential). The AEDPA prohibits the
grant of habeas corpus relief unless the state adjudication:
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that 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). When considering § 2254(d)
matters, the court is guided by well-established principles:
(1) “an unreasonable application of federal
law is different from an incorrect application of federal
law, ” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101
(2011) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362,
410 (2000)) (emphasis in original), see also
Williams, 529 U.S. at 411 (emphasizing that a court
“may not grant relief simply because it concludes in
its independent judgment that the relevant state-court
decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously
or incorrectly, ” rather the application “must
also be unreasonable”), Schriro v. Landrigan,
550 U.S. 465, 473 (2007) (“The question under AEDPA is
not whether a federal court believes the state court's
determination was incorrect but whether that determination
was unreasonable-a substantially higher threshold.”),
Cole v. Roper, 623 F.3d 1183, 1187 (8th Cir. 2010)
(making clear that relief is available only if the state
court decision is both incorrect and unreasonable); (2)
“even a strong case for relief does not mean the state
court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable, ”
Harrington, 562 U.S. at 102; (3) the purpose of
§ 2254(d) is to “‘guard against extreme
malfunction in the state criminal justice systems,
'” id. at 102-03 (quoting Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 332, n.5 (1979) (Stevens, J.,
concurring in judgment)); and (4) the burden is on the
petitioner to “show that the state court's ruling
on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking
in justification that there was an error well understood and
comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for
fairminded disagreement, ” id. at 103.
Accord Moeller v. Weber, 649 F.3d 839, 843-44 (8th
Cir. 2011). In addition, a “court is bound by the facts
as found by the state courts, absent clear and convincing
evidence those findings were incorrect.”
White, 824 F.3d at 757 (citing Buchheit v.
Norris, 459 F.3d 849, 852 (8th Cir. 2006)); accord
Forrest v. Steele, 764 F.3d 848, 854 (8th Cir. 2014).
application for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, the petitioner asserts one ground for relief.
Namely, he contends that his “conviction or sentence
[is] in violation of the Constitution of the United States
[because] the State repeatedly violated [the] plea agreement
by not being true-in spirit-to [its promise to make a]
respect to the history of the petitioner's case, the Iowa
Court of Appeals stated:
In the first appeal, this court rejected Chest's claim
the district court considered an impermissible sentencing
factor when imposing sentence. See State v. Chest,
808 N.W.2d 449, 2011 Iowa App. LEXIS 1162, *1 (Iowa Ct. App.
2011). In the second appeal, arising from
postconviction-relief proceedings, Chest contended the State
breached its agreement to recommend concurrent sentences.
See Chest v. State, 847 N.W.2d 612, 2014 Iowa App.
LEXIS 452, *13 (Iowa Ct. App. 2014). We agreed, vacated the
sentences, and remanded the matter for resentencing before a
new judge. Following remand, the district court again imposed
consecutive sentences. See State v. Chest, 872
N.W.2d 199, 2015 Iowa App. LEXIS 929, *2 (Iowa Ct. App.
2015). Chest appealed again, contending the same prosecutor
painted with the same brush and again failed to truly
recommend concurrent sentences. See Id. We agreed,
vacated the sentences, and remanded for resentencing before ...