Williams v. Candelaria, 112206 FED09, 06-55164

Docket Nº:06-55164
Party Name:LARRY WILLIAMS, Petitioner - Appellant, v. RANDOLPH CANDELARIA, Warden, Respondent - Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: HALL, HAWKINS, and IKUTA, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:November 22, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

LARRY WILLIAMS, Petitioner - Appellant,


RANDOLPH CANDELARIA, Warden, Respondent - Appellee.

No. 06-55164

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

November 22, 2006


Submitted November 15, 2006[**] Pasadena, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California George H. King, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. CV-02-00473-GHK

Before: HALL, HAWKINS, and IKUTA, Circuit Judges.


California state prisoner Larry Williams (“Williams”) appeals the denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition. Williams challenges his Three Strikes sentence of 25-years-to-life imprisonment for receiving stolen property, arguing that his sentence violates the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. At sentencing, Williams admitted his prior prison terms and that his prior burglary convictions constituted “strikes” within the meaning of California’s Three Strikes law. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2253 and affirm.

Williams’s Eighth Amendment challenge to his sentence fails because the “only relevant clearly established law amenable to the ‘contrary to’ or ‘unreasonable application of’ framework is the gross disproportionality principle, the precise contours of which are unclear, applicable only in the ‘exceedingly rare’ and ‘extreme’ case.” Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 73 (2003) (quoting Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957, 1001 (1991) (Kennedy, J., concurring in part and concurring in the judgment)). Solem v. Helm, 463 U.S. 277 (1982), provides little support for Williams’s Eighth Amendment claim because Williams is eligible for parole in twenty-five years and his sentence is therefore “considerably less severe than the one invalidated in Solem Taylor v. Lewis, 460 F.3d 1093, 1098 (9th Cir. 2006).

Similarly, Williams’s reliance on Ramirez v. Castro, 365 F.3d 755 (9th Cir. 2004), is misplaced. First, unlike the state court in Ramirez, the state court of appeal did not make an important factual error or omit critical objective factors in its examination of Williams’s criminal history. See id. at 774-75. Second, Ramirez’ s entire criminal history consisted solely of two second-degree robbery convictions, obtained through a single guilty plea and resulting in a one-year jail sentence (with only six months served). Id . at 768...

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