Dominguez v. State

Decision Date16 April 2015
Docket Number34,295.
Citation348 P.3d 183,2015 NMSC 014
PartiesRodrigo DOMINGUEZ, Petitioner, v. STATE of New Mexico, Respondent.
CourtNew Mexico Supreme Court

Jorge A. Alvarado, Chief Public Defender, Kimberly M. Chavez Cook, Assistant Appellate Defender, Santa Fe, NM, for Petitioner.

Hector Balderas, Attorney General, Joel Jacobsen, Assistant Attorney General, Santa Fe, NM, for Respondent.

OPINION

CHÁVEZ, Justice.

{1} In State v. Montoya, 2013–NMSC–020, ¶¶ 2, 22–27, 54, 306 P.3d 426,1 this Court held that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution, U.S. Const. amend. V, precludes a defendant from being cumulatively punished for both voluntary manslaughter and shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm in a situation where both convictions are based on the same shooting of the same victim. The double jeopardy analysis in Montoya has been applied in other cases by the Court of Appeals to preclude a defendant from being punished cumulatively for both aggravated battery and shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm. See State v. Munoz, 2014 WL 4292963, No. 30,837, mem. op. ¶¶ 2–3, 5 (N.M.Ct.App. June 23, 2014) (non-precedential), cert. denied, 2014–NMCERT–008, 334 P.3d 424 ; State v. Rudy B., 2014 WL 3039618, No. 27,589, mem. op. ¶¶ 2, 4 (N.M.Ct.App. May 8, 2014) (non-precedential), cert. denied, 2014–NMCERT–007, 331 P.3d 923.

{2} These are the exact arguments that Petitioner Rodrigo Dominguez made in 2005 on certiorari review to this Court of his convictions for voluntary manslaughter and shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in the death of one person, and aggravated battery and shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily injury to a second person. See State v. Dominguez (Dominguez I ), 2005–NMSC–001, ¶¶ 5, 17, 22, 137 N.M. 1, 106 P.3d 563, overruled by Montoya, 2013–NMSC–020, ¶¶ 2, 54, 306 P.3d 426. A majority of this Court ultimately rejected Dominguez's double jeopardy arguments, concluding that State v. Gonzales, 1992–NMSC–003, ¶¶ 4–12, 113 N.M. 221, 824 P.2d 1023, overruled by Montoya, 2013–NMSC–020, ¶¶ 2, 54, 306 P.3d 426, controlled. Dominguez I, 2005–NMSC–001, ¶ 8, 137 N.M. 1, 106 P.3d 563. Dominguez has now filed a habeas petition pursuant to Rule 5–802 NMRA seeking to retroactively apply Montoya to support the same double jeopardy claims he earlier raised on certiorari review. We again decline to accept Dominguez's double jeopardy claims because Montoya announced a new procedural rule that cannot be applied retroactively under Kersey v. Hatch, 2010–NMSC–020, ¶ 25, 148 N.M. 381, 237 P.3d 683.

BACKGROUND

{3} The following facts from this Court's opinion in Dominguez I are not in dispute and are relevant only to understand the double jeopardy issues raised by Dominguez. Dominguez and several of his friends went to a convenience store to fight another group of individuals. Dominguez I, 2005–NMSC–001, ¶ 4, 137 N.M. 1, 106 P.3d 563. Dominguez supplied each member of his group with guns. Id. Both groups arrived in cars, and Dominguez was the driver for his group. Id. Dominguez's group opened fire after one of their adversaries exited the other group's vehicle carrying a baseball bat. Id. One member of Dominguez's group fired multiple times into the opposing group's car and killed Ricky Solisz, the driver. Id. Another one of Dominguez's associates shot at and wounded

Vince Martinez, an individual who had exited the other group's car. Id.

{4} In 2002, Dominguez was convicted of one count of voluntary manslaughter, contrary to NMSA 1978, Section 30–2–3(A) (1994) ; one count of aggravated battery, contrary to NMSA 1978, Section 30–3–5 (1969) ; two counts of shooting at or from a motor vehicle, contrary to NMSA 1978, Section 30–3–8(B) (1993) ; and one count of conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence, contrary to NMSA 1978, Section 30–22–5 (1963, amended 2003) and NMSA 1978, Section 30–28–2 (1979).

{5} The Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed Dominguez's convictions. See State v. Dominguez, No. 23,286, mem. op. ¶¶ 5, 14 (N.M.Ct.App. May 20, 2003) (non-precedential). Dominguez petitioned for certiorari review, State v. Dominguez, cert. granted, 134 N.M. 320, 76 P.3d 638 (2003), and raised two multiple-punishment double jeopardy issues under the United States Constitution that are relevant to this appeal. First, he claimed that his convictions of voluntary manslaughter and shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in Solisz's death violated the protection against double jeopardy. Dominguez I, 2005–NMSC–001, ¶ 5, 137 N.M. 1, 106 P.3d 563. Second, he claimed that his convictions of aggravated battery and shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in Martinez's injuries violated the protection against double jeopardy. Id. ¶ 17. On appeal, the parties did not dispute that these convictions were “based on the unitary conduct of [Dominguez] aiding and abetting” the shooting of Solisz and Martinez by another member of Dominguez's group. Id. ¶ 6. Because shooting at or from a vehicle and voluntary manslaughter or aggravated battery involve unitary acts underlying separate charged offenses, id. ¶¶ 6, 7, the Court focused on ascertaining whether the Legislature intended multiple punishments, id. ¶¶ 6, 18.

{6} A divided Supreme Court rejected Dominguez's claims and affirmed the Court of Appeals. Id. ¶ 26. Applying the Blockburger test and concluding that Gonzales was controlling precedent, Dominguez I refused to find a double jeopardy violation if a defendant was convicted of separately punishable offenses. 2005–NMSC–001, ¶¶ 8, 16, 21, 137 N.M. 1, 106 P.3d 563. Because the crimes of shooting at or from a motor vehicle and voluntary manslaughter each involved elements that were absent in the other crime, Dominguez I held that the offenses were separate, and therefore there was no double jeopardy violation if a defendant was convicted of both crimes. Id. ¶ 16. Similarly, Dominguez I held that the crimes of shooting at or from a motor vehicle and aggravated battery each involved elements that were absent in the other crime; consequently, convicting Dominguez of both crimes also did not violate double jeopardy.Id. ¶ 18.

{7} This Court overruled Dominguez I in Montoya, 2013–NMSC–020, ¶¶ 2, 54, 306 P.3d 426. Montoya acknowledged that Gonzales, 1992–NMSC–003, 113 N.M. 221, 824 P.2d 1023, and the cases that followed it, including Dominguez I, 2005–NMSC–001, 137 N.M. 1, 106 P.3d 563, had enabled cumulative punishment for the “theoretically separate offenses of causing great bodily harm to a person by shooting at [or from] a motor vehicle and the homicide resulting from the penetration of the same bullet into the same person.” Montoya, 2013–NMSC–020, ¶ 2, 306 P.3d 426. Montoya held that “current New Mexico jurisprudence precludes cumulative punishment for both crimes.” Id. Montoya did not answer the question of whether the analysis for finding a double jeopardy violation for manslaughter and shooting at or from a motor vehicle also applied to convictions for aggravated battery and shooting at or from a motor vehicle, see id. ¶ 54, although the Court of Appeals has affirmatively answered the question in two unpublished memorandum opinions, see generally Munoz, 2014 WL 4292963, No. 30,837 ; Rudy B., 2014 WL 3039618, No. 27,589.

{8} Dominguez filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Rule 5–802, seeking to retroactively apply Montoya to support the same double jeopardy claims he had raised in Dominguez I. The petition was summarily dismissed by the trial court for raising previously litigated issues. We then granted Dominguez's petition for writ of certiorari, which was filed pursuant to Rule 12–501 NMRA. Dominguez v. State, 2013–NMCERT–010, 313 P.3d 251.

DISCUSSION

{9} When reviewing the “propriety of a lower court's grant or denial of a writ of habeas corpus,” the trial court's findings of fact “concerning the habeas petition are reviewed to determine if substantial evidence supports the [trial] court's findings.” Duncan v. Kerby, 1993–NMSC–011, ¶ 7, 115 N.M. 344, 851 P.2d 466. “Questions of law or questions of mixed fact and law ... are reviewed de novo.” Id. This “approach provides logical deference to the trial court fact-finder as first-hand observer, while assuring that higher courts perform their sanctioned role as arbiter[s] of the law.” Id.

{10} In this case, Dominguez presented facts only for purposes of analyzing the double jeopardy issues presented on appeal.” The State does not dispute these facts. Thus, there are only questions of law to be reviewed de novo. Dominguez argues that (1) this case does not concern Montoya's retroactive application because “habeas petitioners relitigating claims already disposed of on direct appeal should benefit from a new rule adopting their prior arguments”; (2) our retroactivity jurisprudence “must be revisited” if it precludes retroactive application of Montoya ; and (3) “because [Dominguez I ] expressly advocated the position adopted in Montoya, this Court may retroactively apply [Montoya ] to [Dominguez I ] only.

I. Dominguez Can Relitigate Previously Raised Claims

{11} The trial court dismissed Dominguez's petition as a matter of law because the petition presented issues that had been previously litigated. We review de novo the propriety of this determination. Duncan, 1993–NMSC–011, ¶ 7, 115 N.M. 344, 851 P.2d 466. In Clark v. Tansy, 1994–NMSC–098, ¶ 14, 118 N.M. 486, 882 P.2d 527, this Court held that “when a habeas petitioner can show that there has been an intervening change of law or fact, or that the ends of justice would otherwise be served, principles of finality do not bar relitigation of an issue adversely decided on [certiorari review].” Montoya acted as an intervening change in the law because it announced a new rule. 2013–NMSC–020, ¶¶ 52–54, 306 P.3d 426. [A] court establishes a new rule when its decision is flatly inconsistent with the prior governing precedent and is an explicit...

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    ...new rules "that are necessary to the fundamental fairness or accuracy of a criminal proceeding." Dominguez v. State , 2015-NMSC-014, ¶ 20, 348 P.3d 183 ; see also State v. Frawley , 2007-NMSC-057, ¶ 42, 143 N.M. 7, 172 P.3d 144 ("The watershed exception is extremely narrow; since Teague, th......
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