Maraglino v. Espinoza

Decision Date11 December 2019
Docket NumberCase No.: 19cv0109 LAB (KSC)
PartiesDOROTHY G. MARAGLINO, Petitioner, v. J. ESPINOZA, Warden, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of California
ORDER: (1) DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS;
(2) DENYING REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL; and(3) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
I. INTRODUCTION

Dorothy Maraglino ("Maraglino" or "Petitioner"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed an Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("Petition" or "Pet."), challenging her San Diego Superior Court conviction in case number SCN304686 for first degree murder with special circumstance, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping. (See Pet. at 1-2, ECF No. 3.) The Court has reviewed the Petition, the Answer and Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of the Answer, the lodgments, the Traverse and all the supporting documents submitted by both parties. For the reasons discussed below, the Court the Petition is DENIED.

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II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The following statement of facts is taken from the California Court of Appeal opinion, People v. Maraglino, et al.,1 No. D69297, slip op. (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 29, 2017). This Court gives deference to state court findings of fact and presumes them to be correct; Petitioner may rebut the presumption of correctness, but only by clear and convincing evidence. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1) (West 2006); see also Parke v. Raley, 506 U.S. 20, 35-36 (1992) (holding findings of historical fact, including inferences properly drawn from those facts, are entitled to statutory presumption of correctness). The appellate court summarized the facts as follows:

On April 13, 2012, [Louis] Perez picked up [Brittany] Killgore from her apartment under the pretext of taking her on a dinner cruise. Ten minutes later, Killgore sent her friend a text message saying, "Help." Four days later, detectives recovered her nude body near Lake Skinner in Riverside County. Evidence presented at trial suggested Killgore died while defendants were acting out a BDSM kidnapping fantasy. [Footnote 2: The acronym "BDSM" was used throughout trial to refer to "bondage discipline sadomasochism." As described at trial, the BDSM lifestyle included defined roles of "master" and "slave," graphic fantasy writings, and the infliction (and receiving) of pain during "play" sessions.]
Perez, [Dorothy] Maraglino, and [Jessica] Lopez were active participants in the BDSM lifestyle, respectively occupying roles in their household of "master," "mistress," and "slave." Perez and Maraglino were in a dominant-submissive relationship wherein Perez was the dominant and Maraglino was his submissive. Perez lived in a separate residence but often visited Maraglino at her home in Fallbrook, California. Lopez was Maraglino's slave and lived in Maraglino's home.
As a masochist, Lopez enjoyed receiving pain; Maraglino would inflict pain on her through BDSM "play." Although a slave in the Maraglino household, Lopez had been a dominant in the past and in an ongoing online relationship with someone named Bella. Maraglino was a "switch," meaning she was submissive with Perez and dominant withLopez. Maraglino established written procedures, including a "House Manual," "Perfect Slave Checklist," and slave contract. She controlled everything Lopez did inside and outside the home; Lopez wore a dog collar stating she was Maraglino's property. As Maraglino's master, Perez had control over Maraglino's household, including control over Lopez.
Perez was a sadist and enjoyed inflicting pain on others. In his past relationship, he choked Jonie L. almost every time they had sex and proposed to have her abducted by strangers. He also restrained Jonie L. during sex and dragged a heavy chain and knife across her body. There were times Jonie L. did not want Perez to engage in certain acts but did not feel that using her safe word would be effective. In a different relationship, Perez choked Angela .M. about 25 to 30 percent of the time during sex, either with his hands or with a belt. He told Angelena M. about kidnapping scenarios he had tried with others. One involved a group of men driving around and taking turns having intercourse with a female in the van; Perez asked Angelena M. to act as that female. Although there was testimony Perez was considered a "safe" player in the BDSM community who acted only with consent, detectives found a video of Perez beating a woman with various implements as she begged him to stop and continuing to beat her past the point of consciousness.
All three defendants had BDSM abduction, torture, and murder fantasies. Lopez's diary contained a ciphered writing in which she abducted, tortured, and killed someone she disliked, disposing of the body and dousing evidence with bleach. Maraglino authored a writing about abducting three generations of women, each one "prescribed a method of death" and subjected to sexual torture, torture, and forced suicide. Maraglino authored a separate writing, found in Perez's garage, in which she slit the throat of a woman while that woman was having sex with Perez. Maraglino made a handwritten list of "hunting ground[s]" for vulnerable victims that included ways to dispose of a body and avoid detection. Perez and Maraglino discussed their abduction fantasies with Dora B., another of Maraglino's slaves, on two or three occasions. At one point, Maraglino asked Dora how she would react if a kidnapped woman were brought to the home. Dora worried these fantasies "didn't always take consent into account," but she "wanted to believe that it was nothing more than a fantasy."
Perez and Maraglino acted out an abduction fantasy on Nicole A. Without prior agreement, Perez and Maraglino picked up Nicole in aparking lot, blindfolded her, undressed her in the "dungeon" in the basement of Maraglino's home, restrained her, and engaged in BDSM play. Thereafter, Nicole voluntarily joined the household for a short period as Maraglino's slave.
Perez and Maraglino had an open relationship, but Maraglino was paranoid about losing him to another woman. Nicole's relationship with Maraglino soured because Nicole communicated with Perez directly, rather than go through her. As their relationship deteriorated, Maraglino made threatening statements toward Nicole's daughter. When Perez began seeing Marina V., Maraglino talked about killing Marina and wanting her to die a torturous death; in an online forum, she threatened to kill Marina and Marina's daughter. Perez and Maraglino briefly broke up over Marina; they soon rekindled their relationship and in 2011 conceived a child.
Although there was some evidence the relationship between Perez and Maraglino became more conventional after they reunited, there was also evidence they remained involved in BDSM. Lopez remained Maraglino's slave. Maraglino kept her BDSM toys and, on the day of Killgore's disappearance on April 13, 2012, sent Deborah E. a text message about a forced lactation-torture fantasy. [Footnote 3 omitted.] On the day before Killgore's disappearance, Perez texted Alda E. about upcoming plans to engage in BDSM play with someone he did not like, which to Alda E. was a "very big red flag." Alda E. told Perez not to go through with it, but he said it would give him "control to temper my feelings and not hurt [] someone I want to hurt badly."
Killgore's close friend, Elizabeth Hernandez, became friends with Maraglino in 2011. Hernandez would often visit Maraglino's home and bring Killgore with her. Killgore and Hernandez were not involved in BDSM, but both knew that defendants were. Although Maraglino was initially friendly with Killgore, she became hostile toward her after she perceived Killgore flirting with Perez. Maraglino called Killgore "the disease" and "the herpes" when she was not around; asked why Hernandez and Killgore were always together; and seemingly in jest, offered to get rid of Killgore for Hernandez. There was some evidence Maraglino wanted to recruit Hernandez into the BDSM lifestyle because Hernandez seemed impressionable and easy to control. On April 13, 2012, the day of Killgore's disappearance, Maraglino wrote a letter stating:

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"I Dee [Maraglino] do hereby give to Ivan [Perez] all my grudges and revenge from my birth till [sic] now. I release my anger and entrust justice into Ivan's hands. I accept Ivan will decide, design, and dispense the measure of retribution he deems appropriate to my enemies, tormenters, and violators."
Lopez appeared to have a better relationship with Killgore, but she, like Maraglino, called Killgore "the disease" and "herpes" and joked, on April 13, 2012, that she would make Killgore walk the plank at her pool party the next day.
On the afternoon of April 13, 2012, Hernandez visited Maraglino's home to return a camera charger. She stayed to socialize with Maraglino and Perez; Lopez was not home. Maraglino seemed excited to hear Killgore was going to move to the east coast, saying Hernandez would finally be "free." Hernandez told Perez and Maraglino about her recent excursion on the Hornblower dinner cruise in San Diego. She said Killgore seemed very interested in going, and she wanted to take Killgore on a cruise before she moved. Hernandez recalled nothing out of the ordinary about her conversation. Perez and Maraglino did not mention having tickets or plans to go on a dinner cruise that evening.
Killgore and Hernandez lived in the same apartment complex on Ammunition Road in Fallbrook, as did friends Channy Tal [footnote 4 omitted] and Jessica Perry. At 4:38 p.m. [footnote 5: All times are p.m., unless otherwise noted.] on April 13, 2012, Perez knocked on Killgore's door. Tal was in the apartment, helping Killgore pack for her upcoming move. Killgore asked Perez how he knew where she lived; Perez replied that he had "asked around." Perez pressed Killgore to come with him on the Hornblower dinner cruise that night, saying he had two tickets but nobody
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