2 The district court held an evidentiary hearing, lasting three days, and found the following facts.
3 Petitioner was a member of a task force from various federal and state agencies which secured a federal search warrant authorizing a search of a ranch near Garberville, California, the alleged location of an illegal drug manufacturing operation. The task force also obtained a federal arrest warrant for Dirk Dickenson, one of the record owners of the property. A United States Army helicopter transported the task force to the raid site on April 4, 1972. It landed in front of the cabin raising a considerable amount of dust and debris and creating a lot of noise. During the commotion as the raiders debarked one agent (Agent Filben) outran his feet and fell to the ground. Clifton, thinking that Filben had been shot, rushed the cabin and kicked in the door. He did not knock, identify himself, nor announce his authority and purpose before making his forceful entry.
4 As Clifton entered the front door, Dickenson jumped over a bannister into the backyard and began running towards a nearby wooded area. Clifton leveled his pistol at the running figure, called "Halt," waited a few seconds, called "Halt" again, waited a second or two and then fired. The bullet entered Dickenson's back and he died en route to the hospital. Dickenson was unarmed and offered no physical resistance other than flight.
5 Clifton was indicted in the state court for second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He subsequently petitioned the federal district court for a writ of habeas corpus and release from state custody.