affirming conclusion that similar definition of "residence" in P.C. § 290(b) was not unconstitutionally vagueSummary of this case from Verba v. Wofford
The panel unanimously concludes this case is suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed.R.App.P. 34(a)(2).
Filed November 17, 2010.
Elijah White, pro se.
Justain Riley, Office of the California Attorney General, Sacramento, CA, for Respondent-Appellee.
Katherine L. Hart, Law Offices of Katherine L. Hart, Fresno, CA, for Petitioner-Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. l:07-cv-01257-IEG-PCL.
This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by 9th Cir. R. 36-3.
Elijah White, a California state prisoner, appeals the district court's denial of his habeas corpus petition. We affirm. Because the factual and procedural background is familiar to the parties, we need not recount it here.
White challenges the jury instructions as ambiguous. On federal habeas review, the question is not whether the instruction was deficient. Rather, the question is "whether the ailing instruction by itself so infected the entire trial that the resulting conviction violates due process." Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 72, 112 S.Ct. 475, 116 L.Ed.2d 385 (1991) (quoting Cupp v. Naughten, 414 U.S. 141, 147, 94 S.Ct. 396, 38 L.Ed.2d 368 (1973)). Here, the California Court of Appeal determined that White's proposed definitions of residence and knowledge do not accurately reflect California law. We are bound by that determination. Bradshaw v. Richey, 546 U.S. 74, 76, 126 S.Ct. 602, 163 L.Ed.2d 407 (2005). The state appellate court also determined that the "regularly resided" element was "squarely before the jury," even though not separately enumerated in the jury instructions. This conclusion was not objectively unreasonable. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Thus, the district court proper- r- ly concluded that the jury instructions given by the state trial court did not violate White's due process rights.
The California Court of Appeal's conclusion that the term residence in Cal.Penal Code § 290 was not unconstitutionally vague was not an objectively unreasonable r, application of federal law. 28 U.S.C. is § 2254(d). As the California Court of Appeal pointed out, the definition given to the jury was the same definition in the prevailising case law prior to White's arrest, and should have given him notice of what conduct was prohibited.
After thoroughly reviewing the record, and applying the appropriate standard of review, we conclude that there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict. See Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 326, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979) (explaining that a federal court may grant a petition for habeas corpus due to insufficient evidence if it finds that no rational trier of fact could have found proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.).