Earle v. Runnels, 042106 FED09, 05-15739

Docket Nº:05-15739
Party Name:RICHARD W. EARLE, Petitioner - Appellant, v. RUNNELS, Warden, Respondent - Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: B. FLETCHER, BEEZER and FISHER, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:April 21, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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RICHARD W. EARLE, Petitioner - Appellant,

v.

RUNNELS, Warden, Respondent - Appellee.

No. 05-15739

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 21, 2006

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Argued and Submitted April 5, 2006 San Francisco, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Garland E. Burrell, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. CV-02-00334-GEB/KJM

Before: B. FLETCHER, BEEZER and FISHER, Circuit Judges.

MEMORANDUM[*]

Richard Earle, a California state prisoner, appeals the district court’s denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition, challenging his Three Strikes sentence of 26-years-to-life imprisonment for receiving stolen property, a 16- year old motorcycle. Under the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death

Penalty Act of 1996, habeas relief is proper if the state court’s adjudication of the merits of the habeas claim 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). We affirm the district court’s denial of Earle’s petition.

Earle’s adult record consists of six first-degree burglary convictions. For those in 1988 and 1989, he was placed on probation. For those in 1990, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. After his release, Earle was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Despite his recidivism, Earle claims that the state’s imposition of a sentence of 26-years-to-life imprisonment for receiving stolen property violated the Eighth Amendment. Although Earle’s sentence is indisputably harsh when viewed against the underlying conduct leading to his conviction for violating Cal. Pen. Code § 496(a), the state court’s denial of his claim was neither contrary to, nor an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law in light of Earle’s criminal history and the California legislature’s “decision that when . . . a person commits yet another felony, he should be subjected to the admittedly serious penalty of [potential] incarceration for life, subject only to the State’s judgment as to whether to grant him parole.” Rummel v. Estelle, 445 U.S. 263, 278 (1980).

Earle argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in Solem v. Helm, 463 U.S. 277 (1982), provides clearly established authority...

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