Taylor v. Maddox

Decision Date10 May 2004
Docket NumberNo. 02-55560.,02-55560.
PartiesLeif TAYLOR, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Thomas M. MADDOX, Interim Director; George Galaza; Cal Terhune, Respondents-Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit

Sung B. Park, Van Nuys, CA, for the petitioner-appellant.

Deborah J. Chuang, Deputy Attorney General, Los Angeles, CA, for the respondents-appellees. Chuang was joined on the briefs by Bill Lockyer, Attorney General of the State of California, Robert R. Anderson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Pamela C. Hamanaka, Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Kenneth C. Byrne, Supervising Deputy Attorney General.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; Robert J. Kelleher, Senior Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-97-07033-RJK.

Before: KOZINSKI and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and RESTANI, Judge.*

KOZINSKI, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a crime committed when he was sixteen years old. The conviction hinges on a full confession petitioner gave after he was arrested in his home late one night and interrogated by two police detectives past 3:00 a.m. Pursuant to the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), Pub.L. No. 104-132, § 104, 110 Stat. 1214, 1219 (1996), we consider whether the state courts were objectively unreasonable in finding that the confession was lawfully and voluntarily obtained.

Facts and Procedural History

On May 31, 1993, William Shadden was riding his bicycle through a beachside area in Long Beach, California, when two assailants attempted to take it from him. Shadden resisted and the assailants fled. Unwisely, Shadden gave chase and one of the assailants shot Shadden twice, killing him. Three months later, Detectives Craig Remine and William MacLyman, both of the Long Beach Police Department, came to suspect that Leif Taylor had been involved and obtained a search warrant for his apartment. Remine, MacLyman and at least two other law enforcement officers executed the search warrant and an arrest warrant for Taylor at roughly 11:30 p.m. on September 1, 1993.

They found Taylor sleeping on a couch in his living room; his mother, who was his only custodial parent, was apparently absent. Taylor was startled awake by four men with guns drawn and flashlights trained around the room. Taylor was permitted to dress; he was then handcuffed and driven to the police station. He arrived at the station ten minutes later, was escorted onto an elevator to the third floor and placed in a small interrogation room, where he sat alone for about thirty minutes.

By the time Remine and MacLyman entered and began to question Taylor, it was past midnight. For three hours, the detectives interrogated the boy, who "was considerably younger and physically smaller" than they. People v. Taylor, No. B091340, at 6 (Cal.Ct.App. Dec. 6, 1996) (mem.)[hereinafter Ct.App. Opin.]. Taylor "was given no food, offered no rest break, and may or may not have been given any water." Id. Neither Taylor's mother1 nor an attorney was present to advise him during questioning. Taylor denied involvement in the crime "[f]or in excess of two and a-half hours," id. at 5, before finally inculpating himself. At the detectives' behest, he then memorialized on audio tape his confession and a waiver of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694 (1966). Begun at 3:02 a.m. and completed at 3:13 a.m., the recording was just eleven minutes long; there is no record of the earlier two-and-a-half hours of questioning. This is so because Remine and MacLyman questioned Taylor without turning on the tape recorder eventually used to record his confession — or the hidden recording equipment installed in the interrogation room — until after he had inculpated himself. Remine took notes during the questioning but subsequently disposed of them.2 There is no videotape, so we cannot see whether Taylor was calm and cool or tearful and agitated; nor do we have the audio tape to listen to.3 Indeed, there is no contemporaneous record at all of what happened during most of the time that Taylor spent in the interrogation room with Remine and MacLyman.

The tape of Taylor's confession was played for the jury during the prosecution's case-in-chief. The jury subsequently convicted Taylor of first- degree felony murder and second-degree robbery; he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The California Court of Appeal (Second District) (Ortega, Acting P.J.) affirmed; the California Supreme Court denied his petition for review without comment or citation.


The district court below denied Taylor's pro se petition for habeas relief, adopting the magistrate judge's report and recommendation without modification. We review the district court's denial of Taylor's habeas petition de novo. Dows v. Wood, 211 F.3d 480, 484 (9th Cir.2000).

1. At all stages in the state-court proceedings, Taylor challenged the admissibility of his confession on the grounds that it was coerced and obtained in violation of Miranda and Edwards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 101 S.Ct. 1880, 68 L.Ed.2d 378 (1981), because the detectives who interviewed him did not cease their questioning after he asked to speak to an attorney. As part and parcel of these claims, Taylor consistently challenged the state trial court's findings that the detectives did not engage in misconduct and that he did not invoke his right to counsel. See Appellant's Opening Br. at 29 n. 8, People v. Taylor, No. B091340 (Cal.Ct.App. Dec. 6, 1996); Petition for Review at 14, People v. Taylor, No. B091340 (Cal. Jan. 14, 1997). Taylor therefore presented these issues to the state courts and properly exhausted his claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A); Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 124 S.Ct. 1347, 1351, 158 L.Ed.2d 64 (2004) ("A litigant wishing to raise a federal issue can easily indicate the federal law basis for his claim in a state court petition or brief ... by citing in conjunction with the claim the federal source of law on which he relies....").

Taylor also preserved these claims by raising them in his pro se federal habeas petition before the district court, and in his pro se petition for a certificate of appealability before us. See Request for the Issuance of a Certificate of Appealability at 3 ("I respectfully submit here that it was the very failure of the District Court ... to conduct a proper review of my Miranda claims that warrants relief here as I plainly argued that their resolution revolved around the purely factual question of what happened during the police interrogation...."). We granted a certificate of appealability as to "whether appellant's Miranda rights were violated, and whether his confession was involuntary." Certificate of Appealability at 1.

2. Taylor's state-court lawyer moved to suppress his inculpatory statements and, the day before trial commenced, Judge Charles Sheldon of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County held an evidentiary hearing pursuant to section 402 of the California Evidence Code.4 Taylor testified that he repeatedly asked for a lawyer, but the detectives denied his requests and engaged in threatening behavior. Detective Remine, who also testified, denied these allegations. Immediately after hearing all testimony and closing arguments, the court denied the suppression motion from the bench:

I am a fact finder first, and I have to decide and say who I believe. I conclude, in this case, that I clearly believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, Officer Ramine [sic] and not the testimony of the defendant in this case. Not only because it is the defendant in this case, but for other reasons, which were the nature of the facts that were developed by both sides. Leading me, in addition, to my feelings about who I should believe and who I really do believe, but also, why I should believe as a secondary or perhaps a primary, to look at with that crediting Officer Ramine's [sic] testimony. It now sheds light upon the decision.

[Defense counsel] makes the best case, of course, it is made primarily by the testimony of a witness I do not credit in this case. I find there was no violation of Miranda, the Miranda rights were given ahead of time, when they have been given before incriminating statements were given. I find it is voluntary under the case law, that has developed on this whole issue, hundreds and hundreds of cases, actually, on this issue just like search and seizure, so I find it is both not a violation of Miranda, voluntary, I decline to suppress the statements that were given by the defendant to the officers in this case.

R.T. at 70-71.

After summarizing Taylor's and Remine's testimony, the court of appeal affirmed in an unpublished opinion, saying only that "[t]he evidence found credible by the trial court supports the determination that the waiver and confession were voluntary." Ct.App. Opin. at 10.5 While the trial court's ruling was not a model of clarity, we construe it as finding that Taylor did not request counsel or his mother, that he confessed voluntarily and that the detectives behaved properly.

Principles of comity and federalism counsel against substituting our judgment for that of the state courts, a deference that is embodied in the requirements of the federal habeas statute, as amended by AEDPA. When it comes to state-court factual findings, AEDPA has two separate provisions. First, section 2254(d)(2) authorizes federal courts to grant habeas relief in cases where the state-court decision "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding." Or, to put it conversely, a federal court may not second-guess a state court's fact-finding process unless, after review of the state-court...

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