Montiel v. Chappell

Decision Date25 November 2014
Docket NumberCase No. 1:96-cv-05412-LJO-SAB
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of California
PartiesRICHARD GALVAN MONTIEL, Petitioner, v. KEVIN CHAPPELL, as Warden of San Quentin State Prison, Respondent.






Petitioner Richard Galvan Montiel ("Petitioner" or "Montiel") is a state prisoner proceeding with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He is represented by Gary M. Sirbu, Esq., of the Law Office of Gary M. Sirbu, Joseph Schlesinger, Esq., and George Allen Couture, Esq., of the Office of the Federal Defender, and Terence John Cassidy, Esq., of Porter Scott, APC. Respondent Kevin Chappell is the Warden of San QuentinState Prison ("Respondent" or "Warden"). He is represented by Julie Anne Hokaus, Esq., and Ward Allen Campbell, Esq., of the Office of the California Attorney General.

A. Procedural Background

In May 1979, Montiel was convicted of the robbery and burglary of Eva Mankin and the robbery and murder of Gregorio Ante. Both crimes occurred on January 13, 1979. Two special circumstances of "in the course of a robbery" and "for financial gain" were found true, and the special circumstance of "heinous, atrocious and cruel" was found untrue. The jury could not unanimously decide on the appropriate penalty.

In September 1979, a second jury was impaneled to consider the penalty, and Montiel was sentenced to death on November 20, 1979. On direct appeal the California Supreme Court affirmed the guilty verdict and the robbery special circumstance finding, but set aside the financial gain special circumstance and reversed the penalty. People v. Montiel, 39 Cal. 3d 910 (1985) ("Montiel I"). No petition for habeas corpus was filed with the state court at the time of the first direct appeal.

Montiel's penalty was reversed because a Briggs instruction about the governor's commutation power was given without qualification, and a sympathy instruction was given without curative instructions to allow the consideration of mitigating factors. Montiel I, 39 Cal. 3d at 928 (citing People v. Ramos, 37 Cal. 3d 136, 159 (1984) and People v. Easley, 34 Cal. 3d 858, 875 (1983)). Also, the testimony of Dr. Ronald Siegel predicting future violence was viewed as unreliable, but was not a basis for reversal since Montiel failed to object and reversal was required on other grounds. Montiel I, 39 Cal. 3d at 929 (citing People v. Murtishaw, 29 Cal. 3d 733, 767, 775 (1981)).

On November 10, 1986, after retrial, Montiel was again sentenced to death. The sentence was affirmed by the California Supreme Court. People v. Montiel, 5 Cal. 4th 877 (1993) ("Montiel II"). On June 30, 1994, Montiel's petition for certiorari was denied by the UnitedStates Supreme Court. On February 21, 1996, Montiel's state habeas petition, filed June 1, 1993, was found to be timely and was summarily denied on the merits.

On April 23, 1997, Montiel filed his initial federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. On October 2, 1997, Montiel filed an amended petition. On October 27, 2000, Montiel filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing seeking to present evidence on all but one of the claims in his federal petition. The Warden filed a motion for summary judgment concurrently with the opposing points and authorities. In his opposition to Montiel's request for evidentiary hearing filed on December 15, 2000, the Warden admits that the motion for summary judgment was not accompanied by a stipulated statement of facts as required, and requests the motion for summary judgment be dismissed without prejudice. Doc. 182, at n.1.

B. Factual Background
1. Robbery and Burglary of Eva Mankin

On January 13, 1979, Montiel was living at his parents' home in Bakersfield. 79A RT Vol. I:22.1 A neighbor, Eva Mankin, returned home that morning and saw Montiel (whom she did not know at the time) sitting on the steps of the house across the street. Id. at 5-6. She had transferred her grocery bags and purse to her porch when she saw Montiel approach, accompanied by two small children. Id. at 7. Montiel said they would help her carry in her groceries. Id. at 9. She declined, but he insisted, so she unlocked the door, allowing Montiel and each of the children to carry a bag into the house. Id. at 9-10. She was afraid, and thought something was wrong because his eyes were "staring" and "glassy." Id. at 10. The children emerged, but Montiel stayed inside. Id. at 11. Feigning calm, Mrs. Mankin thanked Montiel andquietly told him he had to leave. Id. She led him out of the house and locked the door behind him. Id. at 12.

Montiel began breaking the glass window in the door. 79A RT Vol. I:12. Mrs. Mankin called the operator and told her to summon the police. Id. at 13. By then, Montiel had reached in, unlocked the door and was entering the house. Id. Montiel demanded her purse, and Mrs. Mankin responded that she had called the police. Id. at 14. Montiel grabbed her purse and fled, leaving behind her wallet, which had fallen on the floor. Id. Mrs. Mankin recovered her purse from the seat of her car, but her checkbook, several bank books, her husband's pocketknife, and some cash were missing. Id. at 15. Mrs. Mankin identified Montiel from some photographs the police showed her, and in a later lineup. Id. at 17-19.

2. Robbery and Murder of Gregorio Ante

Victor Cordova, a PCP user and dealer, 86 RT Vol. VI:395, testified that Montiel arrived at his home the morning of January 13, 1979. 79A RT Vol. I:135. Also present at Victor's house when Montiel arrived were Victor's wife (Maruy), their children, Maruy's mother and sister (Kathy and Lisa Davis), Lisa's boyfriend (Tom Sinnett), and Tom's brothers (Dennis and Michael). Id. at 44, 97, 122, 212 and 217. Montiel's hands and arms were scratched and cut, and his shirt was bloody when he arrived at Victor's house. Id. at 47-49, 98-100, 135-36. Victor cut off a piece of dangling flesh from a deep wound on Montiel's left arm, but Montiel registered no pain. Id. at 49; 86 RT Vol. VI:403. Montiel said he was injured when he jumped through a window and "did a purse snatch." 79A RT Vol. I:91, 136. After his wound was dressed, Victor gave Montiel a clean shirt. Id. at 100, 140-41. Victor, Maruy, Lisa and Tom all testified about Montiel's unusual appearance, behavior and speech, with Victor, Maruy and Tom concluding he was "loaded" or high on PCP. Id. at 49-50, 67-69, 119-20, 134-35. Montiel continued his bizarre behavior and speech, making advances to Kathy Davis, trying to wipe a mole off Lisa Davis's face, challenging Victor by saying "deck me out," grabbing Lisa's purse, and arguing with some guys across the street. 86 RT Vol. VI:406-08; 79A RT Vol. I:220-21, 135, 102.

Unwilling to deal with Montiel's intoxicated state, Victor decided to take Montiel to his brother's house on Victor's motorcycle. 79A RT Vol. I:141 -42. Before they left, Victor shareda PCP cigarette with Montiel. 86 RT, Vol. VI:401-02. See also Montiel I, at 919 (Montiel testified on his own behalf at trial, stating he smoked a PCP joint around 9 am the morning of the murder, and shared another one with Victor before leaving Victor's house.) On the way the motorcycle's chain came off the sprocket. 79A RT Vol. I:55, 143-44; 86 RT Vol. VI:451. Victor pushed the motorcycle to a nearby gas station and called his wife, while Montiel walked toward a nearby house. 79A RT Vol. I:144-46. A few minutes later, Montiel returned and announced he had just killed a man "like you do a goat." Id. at 146, 159. The victim, 78-year-old Gregorio Ante, was killed in his home by a deep slash wound to the throat, which severed the carotid artery and blocked his breathing passage. 79A RT Vol. I:232-33, 272-74. Montiel told Victor he left two beer cans in the victim's house and wanted Victor to go get them. Id. at 148. When Victor refused, Montiel walked to the house and returned holding a can of beer and carrying a sack. Id. at 148-49.

Earlier on the day of the murder, Ante had received $200 in cash from his granddaughter and her husband for the sale of a piano. Id. at 248, 268. He placed this money in the pocket of his T-shirt, under another shirt. Id. at 248. He gave his son Henry $20 from that money for parts to repair his faucet, since he did not think $12, which he had in his pants pockets, was enough. Id. at 249. As Henry left to purchase the parts, he saw two men with a motorcycle in front of the house. Id. at 250.

Soon after, Ante's grandson David Ante, who was to help with repairing the faucet, telephoned Ante and received no response. 79A RT Vol. I:233. David drove the 5-10 minutes to the house and found Ante's body. Id. at 233-34. He ran down the street to summon help from the fire station. Id. at 234. The firemen who responded to David's call found Ante lying on the floor in a large pool of blood, with his left pants pocket pulled out. 79A RT Vol. II:260-61. They attempted CPR on Ante and secured the crime scene. Id. at 261, 263. Sara Galacia, Ante's daughter, testified that when she was allowed in the house after the murder, she noticed the master bedroom had been disturbed as the mattress was down and coins, which Ante was in the habit of saving, were missing. Id. at 256-59.

3. Post-Crime Events

Tom Sinnett drove Maruy and a friend, Marlene Gallegos, in Tom's brother's pickup to get Victor and Montiel. 79A RT Vol. I:54, 57, 104-05. When they arrived, Montiel said he "cut some man's head off." Id. at 56, 105. On the ride back to Victor's house, Montiel repeated the statement, and said he was the devil. Id. at 57, 106. After they arrived, Victor asked Montiel what had happened, and in response, Montiel removed a sack from his pants, which...

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