United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER (1) ADOPTING THE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO
DENY PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND (2) DENYING
CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
DERRICK K. WATSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on objections to the Magistrate
Judge's July 28, 2016 Findings and Recommendation
(“F&R”) to deny Christopher Slavick's
Section 2254 Petition. Slavick objects to the F&R's
determination that his conviction did not violate his
constitutional right to a speedy trial under the Sixth
Amendment or his right to be free from double jeopardy under
the Fifth Amendment.
on de novo review, this Court agrees that
Slavick's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were not
violated by the state trial court, the Court ADOPTS the
F&R, and DENIES the requested writ of habeas corpus. The
Court also DENIES a certificate of
F&R provides a thorough discussion of the factual basis
underlying Slavick's conviction and the subsequent
procedural history of his habeas petition and appeal. In
short, on October 28, 2003, after arriving at the Honolulu
International Airport from Thailand, law enforcement arrested
Slavick for Promoting a Harmful Drug in the First Degree
after they discovered two bottles of Danabol steroids in his
luggage. See Hawaii Judiciary Electronic Filing and
Service System (“JEFS”) CAAP-13-0000701
Transcript of Proceedings (“Tr.”) 02/13/13.
Slavick was subsequently released pending further
investigation. JEFS Tr. 10/9/12 at 27.
August 5, 2004, an Oahu Grand Jury indicted Slavick on a
charge of Promoting a Harmful Drug in the First Degree. Dkt.
No. 15-10. The Circuit Court of the First Circuit for the
State of Hawaii (“Circuit Court”) issued a bench
warrant later that day. JEFS CAAP-13-0000701 Record on Appeal
(“ROA”) Part 1 at 62. From August 9, 2004 to
December 16, 2010, law enforcement attempted to locate
Slavick by checking known addresses, searching criminal
history databases, and examining motor vehicle and
driver's license information. See Dkt. Nos.
15-4, 15-8, 15-11, 15-14. This more than six-year search
culminated on December 16, 2010 when the Honolulu Police
Department arrested Slavick in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Dkt. Nos.
15-11, 15-14. Shortly thereafter, on January 6, 2011, Slavick
was arraigned. See Dkt. No. 15-11.
to trial, Slavick moved to dismiss the charge, alleging that
the State's failure to bring his case to trial within 180
days of his arrest violated Hawaii Rule of Penal Procedure
48. Dkt. No. 15-12. The Circuit Court denied Slavick's
motion because “the reasons for delay occurred with
[Slavick's] consent or at his request or because of his
own conduct, ” and because he had alleged but had not
shown “prejudice because of the delay.” Dkt. No.
15-11 at 12-13.
first trial began on October 10, 2012, but ended in a
mistrial arising from juror misconduct. See JEFS
Trs. 10/10/12 at 117; Dkt. No. 15-9 at 38. During
deliberations, the Circuit Court received a jury note,
Communication No. 3, stating that “[a] juror had
conducted independent research w[ith] respect to Danabol DS
and has shared his research w[ith] his fellow jurors
inconsistent w[ith] [jury instruction] 27; however a poll of
the jury indicated that it did not impact their current
decision.” See Dkt. No. 15-9 at 11-12; JEFS
ROA Part 1 at 498. The Circuit Court, with the agreement of
both parties, initiated questioning of individual jurors
regarding the extent of any impact of the extraneous
information on jury deliberations. Dkt. No. 15-9 at 12-13.
The Circuit Court also permitted counsel to question the
jurors. Id. After the foreperson and three other
jurors had been individually questioned, the Circuit Court
declared a mistrial based on manifest necessity, concluding
that the extraneous information had “impacted their
ability to deliberate with one another and to change their
minds and to come to a decision if that's at all
possible.” Id. at 13-38.
second trial began on February 12, 2013, and concluded with
the jury finding Slavick guilty of Promoting a Harmful Drug
in the First Degree. See JEFS Trs. 02/12/2013,
02/15/2013 at 136. The Circuit Court sentenced Slavick to a
20-year term of imprisonment. JEFS ROA Part 1 at 850.
appealed on double jeopardy and speedy trial grounds. Dkt.
No. 15-1. The Intermediate Court of Appeals of the State of
Hawaii (“ICA”) rejected Slavick's arguments
and affirmed his conviction. Dkt. No. 15-4. The ICA held in
relevant part: (1) “the Circuit Court did not err when
it found a manifest necessity to declare a mistrial due to
the juror's serious misconduct, which irreversibly
impacted the jury's deliberations and prejudiced the
defendant”; and (2) the Circuit Court did not err when
it concluded that Slavick's right to a speedy trial was
not violated. Id. The Supreme Court of the State of
Hawaii denied Slavick's application for writ of
certiorari. Dkt. Nos. 15-5, 15-7.
filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, which is presently before this Court. The
Petition raises two grounds for relief: (1) that
Slavick's right to a speedy trial under the Sixth
Amendment was violated; and (2) that Slavick's right to
be free from double jeopardy under the Fifth Amendment was
violated. The Magistrate Judge analyzed each ground,
concluded that they both were without merit, and recommended
that the Petition be denied. Dkt. No. 51. Slavick objected to
the Magistrate Judge's recommendations on both
grounds.Dkt. No. 52.
party objects to a magistrate judge's findings or
recommendations, the district court must review de novo those
portions to which the objections are made. United States
v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673 (1980); Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b). The district court may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings and recommendations made by
the magistrate judge. Raddatz, 447 U.S. at 673-74.
De novo review means the court must consider the matter anew,
as if it had not been heard before and as if no decision
previously had been rendered. See Ness v.
Comm'r, 954 F.2d 1495, 1497 (9th Cir. 1992). The
district court need not hold a de novo hearing; however, it
is the court's obligation to arrive at its own
independent conclusion about those portions of the magistrate
judge's findings or recommendation to which a party
objects. United States v. Remsing, 874 F.2d 614, 617
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”) mandates that a federal court may not
grant a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
based on any claim that was adjudicated on the merits by a
state court unless the state court decision 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)(1)-(2).
state-court decision will certainly be contrary to [the
Supreme Court's] clearly established precedent if the
state court applies a rule that contradicts the governing law
set forth in [the Supreme Court's] cases.”
Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000).
“A state-court decision will also be contrary to th[e
Supreme] Court's clearly established precedent if the
state court confronts a set of facts that are materially
indistinguishable from a decision of th[e Supreme] Court and
nevertheless arrives at a result different from [Supreme
Court] precedent.” Id. at 406. “[A]
determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall
be presumed to be correct . . . . [and t]he applicant shall
have the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness
by clear and convincing evidence.” 28 U.S.C. §
conducting this review, the Court looks to the “last
reasoned decision” by a state court addressing the
issues at hand, Miles v. Ryan, 713 F.3d 477, 486
(9th Cir. 2012), which, in this case, is the ICA's July
24, 2014 decision affirming the Circuit Court's judgment
on direct appeal. Dkt. No. 15-4. The Court concludes that
Slavick has failed to show that the ICA's decision was
contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of
Supreme Court precedent. Nor has he shown the incorrectness
of any factual determination made by the ICA. Consequently,
the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to
deny Slavick's petition. Each of Slavick's grounds
for habeas relief is discussed below.