919 F2d 145 Mays v. Bj Bunnell
919 F.2d 145
NOTICE: Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3 provides that dispositions other than opinions or orders designated for publication are not precedential and should not be cited except when relevant under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, or collateral estoppel.
Martin Darrell MAYS, Petitioner-Appellant,
B.J. BUNNELL, Respondent-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Oct. 15, 1990.*
Decided Nov. 27, 1990.
Before MERRILL, KILKENNY and DAVID R. THOMPSON, Circuit Judges.
Martin Darrell Mays appeals from the district court's dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254, arguing that the state court improperly enhanced his sentence following a conviction of burglary based on a prior burglary conviction. With respect to a district court's decision to grant or deny a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, we review for clear error any factual findings upon which that decision was based and review de novo any questions of law involved. Norris v. Risley, 878 F.2d 1178, 1180 (CA9 1989). We affirm.
A state prisoner may obtain a writ of habeas corpus only upon a showing that he is being held in violation of the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254(a); Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 119 (1982). Such relief is not available where errors in the interpretation or application of state law are alleged. Middleton v. Cupp, 768 F.2d 1083, 1085 (CA9 1985), cert. denied, 478 U.S. 1021 (1986). This applies as well to questions of state sentence enhancement. Miller v. Vasquez, 868 F.2d 1116, 1118-19 (CA9 1989).
Mays' arguments involve nothing more than allegations that the state trial court misapplied California sentence enhancement law. Such error is neither cognizable under federal habeas law, see Middleton, 768 F.2d at 1085, nor an appropriate ground for federal habeas relief. See Miller, 868 F.2d at 1118-19. Having failed to allege a deprivation of a federal right, Mays cannot be heard to argue that the district court erred by failing to determine whether he had satisfied the exhaustion requirement. See Gutierrez v. Griggs, 695 F.2d 1195, 1197 (CA9 1983).