United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
Michael R. Barrett District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
MICHAEL R. MERZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an action on a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No.
1), filed March 9, 2017. On Order of Magistrate Judge Karen
Litkovitz (ECF No. 2), the Respondent has filed the State
Court Record (ECF No. 3) and a Return of Writ (ECF No. 4).
Petitioner filed a Reply (ECF No. 10) and then, without leave
of court, an Amended Reply (ECF No. 12). Magistrate Judge
Litkovitz then permitted Respondent to file a Surreply (ECF
No. 16) and allowed Petitioner to respond (ECF No. 19). The
reference of the case was transferred to the undersigned to
help balance the Magistrate Judge workload in the Western
Division (ECF No. 20).
was indicted by the Butler County grand jury on two counts of
felonious assault arising from the stabbing of Tim Hull and
Rene Cervantes on August 17, 2014. A jury convicted
Delafuente on both counts and he was sentenced to six years
imprisonment. On appeal the Ohio Twelfth District Court of
Appeals affirmed the conviction. State v.
Delaffuente,  2015-Ohio-4917, 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 4776,
2015 WL 7709866 (12th Dist. Nov. 30, 2015),
appellate jurisdiction declined, 145 Ohio St.3d 1425 (2016).
Petitioner then filed the instant Petition, pleading the
following four grounds for relief:
Ground One: Fourth Amendment right to due
process was violated when the trial court refused to present
the issue of self-defense.
Ground Two: The court must provide a
self-defense instruction if the evidence viewed most
favorably to appellant could support a claim of self-defense.
Ground Three: Petitioner's inability to
recall every detail of the fight does not preclude him from
Ground Four: Self-defense may be argued in
the alternative if the jury requests the instruction.
(Petition, ECF No. 1, Page ID 6, 8, 9, 11.)
habeas corpus is available only to correct federal
constitutional violations. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a);
Wilson v. Corcoran, 562 U.S. 1 (2010); Lewis v.
Jeffers, 497 U.S. 764, 780 (1990); Smith v.
Phillips, 455 U.S. 209 (1982); Barclay v.
Florida, 463 U.S. 939 (1983). "[I]t is not the
province of a federal habeas court to reexamine state court
determinations on state law questions. In conducting habeas
review, a federal court is limited to deciding whether a
conviction violated the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States." Estelle v. McGuire, 502
U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991).
relief may be available where a violation of state law
“amounts to a fundamental miscarriage of justice or a
violation of the right to due process in violation of the
United States Constitution.” Cristini v.
McKee, 526 F.3d 888, 897 (6th Cir. 2008),
cert denied, 129 S.Ct. 1991 (2009). “State law errors
may warrant habeas relief if the errors ‘rise for some
other reason to the level of a denial of rights protected by
the United States Constitution.'” Hoffner v.
Bradshaw, 622 F.3d 487, 495 (6th Cir. 2010),
quoting Barclay v. Florida, 463 U.S. 939, 957-58
(1983). “State law issues are not subject to habeas
review, see Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68,
112 S.Ct. 475, 116 L.Ed.2d 385 (1991).
appeal, Delafuente raised one assignment of error, to wit,
that “The trial court erred by refusing to present the
issue of self-defense to the jury.” Delafuente,
supra, ¶ 4. The Twelfth District overruled that
assignment of error, ruling as follows:
[*P5] In his single assignment of error,
Delaffuente argues the trial court erred by denying his
request to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of