United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Robert
Raethke's objections (Dkt. No. 13) to the report and
recommendation (âR&Râ) of the Honorable Brian A.
Tsuchida, United State Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 12). Having
considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record,
the Court finds oral argument unnecessary, OVERRULES
Petitioner's objections, and ADOPTS Judge Tsuchida's
R&R for the reasons explained herein.
Raethke is currently incarcerated at Clallam Bay Corrections
Center. (Dkt. No. 4 at 1.) A jury found Mr. Raethke guilty of
assault in the second degree with intent to commit indecent
liberties. (Dkt. No. 12 at 2.) Mr. Raethke had prior
convictions of first degree rape and attempted first degree
rape. (Id.) Because of his past convictions, Mr.
Raethke qualified as a persistent offender under
Washington's “two strike” sentencing law,
Wash. Rev. Code § 9.94A.030(38)(b). (Dkt. No. 12 at 8.)
Due to this qualification, Mr. Raethke was sentenced to life
imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Raethke appealed his conviction to the Washington State Court
of Appeals. (Dkt. No. 4 at 2). The Court of Appeals affirmed
the conviction. (Id.) His petition for review to the
Washington State Supreme Court was denied. (Id.) Mr.
Raethke filed this petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. (Id. at 1.)
Raethke makes four claims: (1) the trial court improperly
instructed the jury regarding the reasonable doubt standard;
(2) the “two strike” sentencing law violates his
double jeopardy rights; (3) the trial court violated his due
process and Sixth Amendment rights by classifying him as a
persistent offender and sentencing him without a jury finding
of his persistent offender status; and (4) there was
insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of
second-degree assault with intent to commit indecent
liberties. (See Dkt. No. 4-1.) Judge Tsuchida
recommends the Court deny Mr. Raethke's habeas petition,
deny an evidentiary hearing, decline to issue a certificate
of appealability, and dismiss Mr. Raethke's claims with
prejudice. (Dkt. No. 12.)
Raethke filed objections to Judge Tsuchida's R&R.
(Dkt. No. 13.) He requests the Court reconsider trial
testimony. (Id.) Mr. Raethke also asserts he has not
had time to access the prison law library and he would like
an attorney. (Id.)
federal court may not grant a state prisoner's habeas
petition on the basis of any claim that was adjudicated on
the merits by the state courts, unless the adjudication of
the claim “resulted in a decision that was contrary to,
or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly
established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court
of the United States” or “resulted in a decision
that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts
in light of the evidence presented in the State court
proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Under the
“contrary to” clause, a federal court may grant a
writ of habeas corpus only if the state court arrives at a
conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a
question of law, or if the state court decides a case
differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially
indistinguishable facts. See Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). Under the “unreasonable
application” clause, a federal court may grant a writ
of habeas corpus only if the state court identifies the
correct governing legal principle from the Supreme
Court's decisions, but unreasonably applies that
principle to the facts of the prisoner's case. See
Id. at 407-09.
considering a habeas petition, a district court's review
“is limited to the record that was before the state
court that adjudicated the claim on the merits.”
Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181-82 (2011).
If a habeas petitioner challenges the determination of a
factual issue by a state court, such determination shall be
presumed correct, and the applicant has the burden of
rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and
convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
district court reviews de novo those portions of an
R&R to which a party objects. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Objections are
required to enable the district judge to “focus
attention on those issues-factual and legal-that are at the
heart of the parties' dispute.” Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 147 (1985). General objections, or
summaries of arguments previously presented, have the same
effect as no objection at all, since the Court's
attention is not focused on any specific issues for review.
See United States v. Midgette, 478 F.3d 616, 622
(4th Cir. 2007).
Raethke requests the Court to reconsider the trial testimony.
Judge Tsuchida's R&R discusses in detail the trial
testimony relating to Mr. Raethke's conviction of second
degree assault with intent to commit indecent liberties.
(Dkt. No. 12 at 16-18.). Mr. Raethke does not explain why the
R&R is mistaken; he merely states only that he hoped the
trial testimony would prove his innocence. (Dkt. No. 13 at
2.) Without more, the Court finds the R&R persuasive that