Juan H. v. Allen, No. 04-15562.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtGould
Citation408 F.3d 1262
PartiesJUAN H., Petitioner-Appellant, v. Walter ALLEN III, Respondent-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 04-15562.
Decision Date08 July 2005
408 F.3d 1262
JUAN H., Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Walter ALLEN III, Respondent-Appellee.
No. 04-15562.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted December 8, 2004.
Filed June 2, 2005.
As Amended July 8, 2005.

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Jonathan Grossman, Santa Clara, CA, for the petitioner-appellant.

Bill Lockyer, Attorney General for the State of California, Robert R. Anderson, Chief Assistant Attorney General for the State of California, Gerald A. Engler, Senior Assistant Attorney General for the State of California, Gregory A. Ott, Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, Moona Nandi, Supervising Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, for the respondent-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California; Claudia Wilken, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-02-02018-CW.

Before: D.W. NELSON, KLEINFELD, and GOULD, Circuit Judges.

GOULD, Circuit Judge:


Petitioner Juan H. appeals the United States District Court decision denying a writ of habeas corpus. He argues that his California juvenile delinquency petition for first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder was sustained in violation of: 1) Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966); 2) the Fifth Amendment prohibition on the use of involuntary or coerced statements; and 3) the Fourteenth Amendment due process right to be convicted by evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The district court denied the writ. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2253. We reverse the judgment of the district court and remand with instructions to grant the writ of habeas corpus.

I

This case arises from a gang-related shooting death that occurred in Salinas, California on March 24, 1999.1

Some background facts before that fateful day assist our understanding. Fifteen-year-old Juan H., his brother Felix Merendon, and other members of their family lived in the same Salinas trailer park as Luis Ramirez and Sylvester Magdelano. Juan H. and his family associated with the Sure# DB# o gang, and Ramirez, Magdelano and other park residents associated with the Norte# DB# o gang. Magdelano testified that during the months before the shooting, Juan H. made gang gestures and tried to "stare [him] down." In response, on March 10, 1999, Magdelano told Juan H. that gang signs were unwelcome, punched him in the face and knocked him to the ground. Later, Magdelano, Ramirez, and two others spoke to Merendon and Juan H.'s father about avoiding problems.

On March 24, 1999, Juan H. and his family were at home when, at approximately 9:00 pm, an unknown person or persons fired at least two shots at their trailer. The Salinas police responded to the incident, but made no arrest. About one-and-a-half hours later, Magdelano and Ramirez were walking through the trailer park and saw Juan H., Merendon and their family standing outside.2 Juan H. and Merendon ran out of Magdelano's sight into the trailer park. Merendon reappeared from between two trailers and approached Magdelano and Ramirez. Juan

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H. followed his brother and stood behind him. Merendon asked Magdelano and Ramirez if they "were the ones that shot up his pad." Ramirez said that he did not know what Merendon was talking about. Merendon then pulled a shotgun from his side or the front of his pants, and shot Ramirez.3 Ramirez died from his wounds. Magdelano fell to the ground and heard a second shot but was not hit. During the shooting, Juan H. did not say anything, make any gestures, or otherwise encourage Merendon.4 Merendon ran to his car and drove away in flight. Juan H. ran home to his family's trailer. The shooting incident lasted only about two seconds, but took the life of Ramirez, led to the Right of Merendon, and ultimately resulted in the conviction and incarceration of Juan H.

Ricardo Rubio testified that Merendon came to his house alone on the night of the shooting with a 36-inch long shotgun, and that Merendon said that he had shot one person and fired at another. Merendon described the incident using the first-person singular and did not mention that Juan H. was with him. In addition, Billy M., a thirteen-year-old neighbor of Juan H. and Merendon, testified that he ran outside of his trailer shortly after Ramirez was shot and saw Ramirez lying on the ground. According to Billy M.'s testimony, Juan H. was outside with his family, pointed his fingers in the fashion of a gun and said to Billy M., "You better watch it." Although Billy M. testified that he told this to his vice-principal, John Gutierrez, Gutierrez testified that Billy M. never mentioned this incident while discussing the shooting.

Police arrived shortly after the shooting of Ramirez, and saw a hostile crowd surrounding Juan H. and his family as they attempted to back out of their driveway in their minivan. The police intervened, detaining Juan H. and his family at their trailer. Detective Gunter interviewed Juan H. that evening, and the minor told Gunter that he was in his trailer with his family when the shooting occurred.

The next day, Gunter and Salinas Police Department Officer Jerry Jones conducted a custodial interrogation of Juan H. At the outset of this interrogation, Gunter told Juan H.:

Okay. But, you know, since you're here and we're not at your house, there's something I have to do before we go back over what you told me last night, okay? You know, and that's the law, so I don't want to violate the law. Remember I told you I worry about things like that. Now, I want to remind you you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to a lawyer and have him

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present with you while you're being questioned. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer we'll appoint one to represent you. Do you understand those, Juan?

Juan H. indicated that he understood his rights. Gunter asked Juan H. questions about his previous involvement with the criminal justice system, and then Gunter said, "Now you don't mind talking to me about what you told me last night, am I right, about what happened?" Juan H. indicated that he did not mind and proceeded to answer questions about the shootings. Several minutes later, Juan H. asked, "I could get a, like, lawyer right now if I want?" Gunter replied, "Yes, if that's what you decided you wanted." Juan H. then responded that he did not want an attorney.

The interrogation continued. Gunter said:

And then let's say I do arrest you. And if the judge looks at what I have to say. What do you think he's going to say if I say, "Juan came in to me and he said—told me this story that wasn't the whole truth." Or if I can go to the judge and say, "Juan came in here and he told me everything that was true. He didn't pull any punches. Something bad happened to his family, and they had to take care of business." Or is the Judge going to look at this and say, "He lied. Don't like people who lie. But I like people who tell the truth, because true people we can help and work with." Don't you agree with that?

....

That's not what happened, Juan. You and your brother were out there when those guys came across the street.... And then your brother shot the shotgun. Probably shocked you a lot because you probably didn't expect him to shoot anybody. Because you guys were out there making sure nobody came back and shot your family, and I understand that. Because I would have been out there. If it would have been my house I would have been out there waiting for them.... Nobody has a problem with people taking care of their family.

Jones added:

Juan, I think what Joe's trying to say is we're not looking to make more out of this than there actually is, okay? And we don't think that, you know, that you guys were out there looking for trouble. We think that you guys were out there trying to take care of your family. And if that's the way—I mean, you know, taking care of your family and looking for trouble, I mean nobody can blame you for that, okay?

....

So we're not looking to make this out like it's a huge deal, because we know—we know that you guys were out there and you were looking out for your family, which is no different probably than any one of us would have done.

Gunter then told Juan H., "Everybody would do that. Most good people will do that, okay?"

Despite the officers' attempts to sway him, Juan H. continued to maintain that he was inside his trailer with his family when Merendon shot Ramirez and attempted to shoot Magdelano.5 Juan H. then invoked his right to counsel by stating:

I want a ... I want a ... somebody right here .... Like you guys said if I need a lawyer or something or I can't afford one you guys will provide one for me or something like that .... Well, I want a lawyer. [I am telling you] that I

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need a lawyer or something ... I need a lawyer. I need a lawyer or something.

Even after Juan H. repeatedly invoked his right to counsel, Gunter and Jones continued to interrogate him regarding the crimes and the whereabouts of Merendon. After several further minutes of interrogation, Gunter left the room, and Juan H. inquired, "Did [Gunter] go to get my lawyer for me?" Jones replied, "Well, your lawyer is not going to come here," and continued with the questioning. In accordance with Miranda v. Arizona, the state trial court suppressed those portions of the interrogation that followed Juan H.'s demand for counsel, and we do not consider this suppressed evidence, which, in any event, would have added little or nothing to the case against Juan H. See 384 U.S. at 473-74, 86 S.Ct. 1602.

The police failed to apprehend Merendon, and instead charged Juan H. with first-degree murder and attempted firstdegree murder under a theory of aiding and abetting. More specifically, the...

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  • Rienhardt v. Shinn, CV-03-0290-TUC-DCB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • November 8, 2021
    ...an objection to the argument would have been futile. Trial counsel therefore did not perform ineffectively. See Juan H. v. Allen, 408 F.3d 1262, 1273-74 (9th Cir. 2005) (finding that “performance of counsel did not fall below an ‘objective standard of reasonableness' on account of not raisi......
  • Doody v. Ryan, No. 06–17161.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • May 4, 2011
    ...did not testify at the voluntariness hearing does not mean that he is not entitled to relief now.”). Relying on Juan H. v. Allen, 408 F.3d 1262 (9th Cir.2005), and United States v. Doe, 155 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir.1998) (en banc), the dissent also maintains that “[w]e have repeatedly held a susp......
  • Demirdjian v. Gipson, No. 09–56453
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 10, 2016
    ...circumstances, the state court could have concluded Mathews reasonably thought any objection would be “meritless,” Juan H. v. Allen , 408 F.3d 1262, 1273 (9th Cir. 2005), or decided not to object “to avoid highlighting [the statements],” Cunningham , 704 F.3d at 1159. Because Mathews direct......
  • Lais v. Ford, Case No. SACV 11-0420-JPR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • November 28, 2012
    ...resolution of a sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim is evaluated under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) rather than § 2254(d)(2). Juan H. v. Allen, 408 F.3d 1262, 1274-75 (9th Cir. 2005). A federal habeas court reviews a sufficiency claim with an additional layer of deference, in that relief is not war......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1119 cases
  • Rienhardt v. Shinn, CV-03-0290-TUC-DCB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • November 8, 2021
    ...an objection to the argument would have been futile. Trial counsel therefore did not perform ineffectively. See Juan H. v. Allen, 408 F.3d 1262, 1273-74 (9th Cir. 2005) (finding that “performance of counsel did not fall below an ‘objective standard of reasonableness' on account of not raisi......
  • Doody v. Ryan, No. 06–17161.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • May 4, 2011
    ...did not testify at the voluntariness hearing does not mean that he is not entitled to relief now.”). Relying on Juan H. v. Allen, 408 F.3d 1262 (9th Cir.2005), and United States v. Doe, 155 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir.1998) (en banc), the dissent also maintains that “[w]e have repeatedly held a susp......
  • Demirdjian v. Gipson, No. 09–56453
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • August 10, 2016
    ...circumstances, the state court could have concluded Mathews reasonably thought any objection would be “meritless,” Juan H. v. Allen , 408 F.3d 1262, 1273 (9th Cir. 2005), or decided not to object “to avoid highlighting [the statements],” Cunningham , 704 F.3d at 1159. Because Mathews direct......
  • Lais v. Ford, Case No. SACV 11-0420-JPR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • November 28, 2012
    ...resolution of a sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim is evaluated under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) rather than § 2254(d)(2). Juan H. v. Allen, 408 F.3d 1262, 1274-75 (9th Cir. 2005). A federal habeas court reviews a sufficiency claim with an additional layer of deference, in that relief is not war......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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