Candelaria v. Graham

Decision Date28 September 2018
Docket Number14-cv-2876 (AMD)
PartiesROLANDO CANDELARIA, Petitioner, v. HOWARD D. GRAHAM, Superintendent, Auburn Correctional Facility, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York

ANN M. DONNELLY, District Judge.

The pro se petitioner, currently incarcerated at Auburn Correctional Facility, petitions for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On October 13, 2009, following a jury trial in Kings County, New York, the petitioner was convicted of one count of Murder in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25[1]). The petitioner claims that the prosecutors withheld exculpatory material in violation of Brady v. Maryland, (ECF No. 1 at 5), and committed other misconduct. (Id. at 6.) He also says that the detectives who questioned him violated his right to counsel. (Id. at 8.) Finally, he attacks his counsel's performance as deficient. (Id. at 9-10.) In addition, the petitioner seeks an order compelling the prosecutor to produce certain materials, and requests a stay to exhaust additional state remedies. (ECF No. 17.) The petition for a writ of habeas corpus, the motion to compel, and the request for a stay are denied.

1. Overview

On November 2, 2007, the petitioner, whose nickname was "Holy," was with friends, including someone called "Zeen." (ECF No. 9-2 at 297:6-17, 297:25-298:14, 308:19-23.) Zeen insulted Nicole London, Troy London's younger sister. (Id. at 117:20-118:5; see also id. at 34:21-35:19.) Shortly thereafter, London and his friend Brian Young confronted the petitioner and his friends; London pulled out a gun, waved it in the air, and pointed it at the petitioner. (Id. at 120:20-121:16, 121:25-122:8, 299:3-22.) The two groups exchanged insults, and London shot the gun in the air as he walked away. (Id. at 119:7-121:7, 301:7-302:19.)

Three days later, on November 5, 2007, London and Milton Lewis were sitting in a truck parked in front of London's building. (Id. at 42:7-17.) At one point, Lewis went into London's building, and the petitioner approached London, who was at this point standing by the truck. (See id. at 44:5-14, 48:25-49:8, 112:23-113:18.) The petitioner shot at London five times, hitting him three times. (Id. at 221:19-25, 274:20-23.) London stumbled into the lobby of his building, and told Lewis that "Holy" had shot him. (See id. at 48:25-50:1, 53:23-54:2.) Delia London, London's mother, rushed down to the lobby, and London repeated that "Holy" shot him. (Id. at 24:24-25:6, 25:17-22.) London died shortly after paramedics took him to the hospital. (Id. at 200:2-7, 274:6-9.)

Delia London told investigating detectives that her son had identified "Holy" as his killer. (Id. at 27:12-28:15.) The detectives subsequently learned that the petitioner was known as "Holy." (ECF No. 9-1 at 78:18-20.) They obtained the petitioner's photograph and showed it to his girlfriend, Vanessa. (See id. at 78:21-23.)

On December 21, 2007, detectives received a report that the petitioner was at a house on Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn. (Id. at 68:6-22.) They went to the house, and found the petitioner hiding under a bed with a large knife and bags of crack cocaine. (Id. at 65:10-66:8.) The police arrested the petitioner, and took him to the 72nd precinct. (ECF No. 9-2 at 316:17-21.) Detectives advised him of his constitutional rights, which he waived. (ECF No. 9-1 at 9:1-11:13.) He made oral, written, and videotaped statements in which he confessed to shooting London. (Id. at 11:14-14:19, 15:18-17:21.)

The petitioner was charged with one count of Murder in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25[1]), and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 265.03[3]; 265.03[1][b]). (ECF No. 9-3 at 27.)2

2. Suppression Hearing

The defense moved to suppress his statements. (See generally ECF No. 9-1.) On September 29 and 30, 2009, the Honorable Alan Marrus held a combined Huntley/Dunaway hearing on the petitioner's motion. (Id.) The prosecution called two witnesses—Detective Albert Lamoglia of the 72nd precinct and Detective Carlo D'Ambrosi of the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad. (Id. at 3-75.) Lamoglia testified that he received a telephone tip on December 21, 2007, that the petitioner was located in a house at 5816 Sixth Avenue. (Id. at 62:15-63:10.) Detective Lamoglia and other detectives entered the house around 3:30 p.m. (See id. at 64:22-65:9, 73:20-22.) The petitioner was hiding under a bed; also under the bed was a "very large knife" and a number of Ziploc bags containing what appeared to be crack cocaine. (Id. at 65:18-66:8.) Lamoglia brought the petitioner to the 72nd precinct, and placed him in an interview room. (See id. at 73:2-4.)

Detectives D'Ambrosi and Elson Winchester questioned the petitioner at the 72nd precinct. (Id. at 8:17-22.) At 7:50 p.m., Detective Winchester advised the petitioner of his rights; the petitioner said that he understood his rights and agreed to answer questions.3 (Id. at 9:1-11:13.) The petitioner said that the deceased had menaced him with a gun on the Friday before the shooting. (Id. at 23:12-13.) Two days later, the petitioner saw the victim in front of 537 49th Street, and shot him because he thought London was retrieving a gun from a car.4 (Id. at 11:19-24.) At 9:15 p.m., Detective D'Ambrosi transcribed the petitioner's written statement, which the petitioner signed. (Id. at 12:1-14:19.) Later that night, the petitioner gave a videotaped statement to Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Fredella. (Id. at 15:18-17:21.)

The petitioner's trial counsel, James Koenig, argued that the police did not have probable cause to arrest the petitioner, and that the fruits of the arrest—the confession and the drugs and drug paraphernalia—should be suppressed. (Id. at 77:1-78:3.)

Judge Marrus denied the motion, ruling that the evidence known to the police—London's statement that "Holy" shot him, confirmation that the petitioner used the name Holy, the call informing police that London's murderer was in a house at 5816 Sixth Avenue, and the petitioner's presence at that address—established probable cause. (Id. at 80:17-82:4.) Even if the police had lacked probable cause, "any taint from lack of probable cause" was attenuated, because of the time between the arrest and the petitioner's statements, which were preceded by Miranda warnings.5 (Id. at 82:4-15.)

3. Trial

The petitioner went to trial before Judge Marrus and a jury on October 5, 2009. (See ECF No. 9-2 at 1.) The prosecution's witnesses included Troy London's mother Delia London, Milton Lewis, who was with London on the day of the murder, the petitioner's friends Ismael Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez, Police Officer Xiang Li, ballistics Detective John Kraljic, Crime Scene Unit Detectives Anthony Seguinot and Carlos Pantoja, EMT Vincent Maneri, Detective D'Ambrosi, ADA Fredella, and Dr. Frede Frederic of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. (See ECF No. 9-2 at 20-285.)

a. Delia London

Delia London testified that on November 3, 2007—two days before the shooting—she saw the petitioner, whom she knew as "Holy," on a stoop about four doors from her home; her son Troy was outside on her stoop. (Id. at 21:19-22:24, 23:11-16.) Two days later, on November 5th, she was on the third floor of her building in her bedroom. (Id. at 24:4-11.) She heard gunshots, and ran to her window; her son looked up at her and said, "Ma, I just got shot, call 911." (Id. at 24:4-18.) Ms. London immediately called 911, ran down to the lobby, and found her son collapsed on the floor.6 (Id. at 24:24-25:6, 29:3-5.) She asked her son, "Who did this?" (Id. at 25:17.) He replied that Holy "shot me and ran down the street with a red hoodie on." (Id. at 25:18-22.) She later told the investigating officers what her son had said. (Id. at 28:13-15.)

b. Milton Lewis

Milton Lewis, Troy London's friend, testified that on the day of the shooting, he saw the petitioner on the same block as London's building wearing a red hoodie. (Id. at 41:13-42:6,54:12-15.) Lewis and London were sitting in a truck in front of London's building. (Id. at 42:7-17.) At one point, after Lewis went into London's building, he heard gunshots. (Id. at 48:25-49:8.) London stumbled into the building, and said, "Holy shot me." (Id. at 49:12-50:1, 53:23-54:2.) He then collapsed. (See id. at 49:25-50:3.) Ms. London asked her son who shot him; London told her Holy shot him, and that Holy was wearing a red hoodie. (Id. at 50:6-21, 54:6-11.)

On cross-examination, the petitioner's counsel confronted Lewis with his written statement to the police in which he said that London identified "Carlos" as the shooter. (Id. at 71:24-72:3, 78:16-24.) Lewis testified that detectives used the name "Carlos," so he assumed that Carlos was Holy's real name. (Id. at 75:5-13, 78:25-79:2, 79:22-25.)

c. Ismael Ortiz

Ismael Ortiz, the petitioner's "good friend," testified that on November 2, 2007, the petitioner and Ortiz were with a friend named Zeen. (Id. at 103:10-12, 116:16-118:1.) London's younger sister walked by, and Zeen said, "God bless you, chocolate." (Id. at 118:1-5.) London and Brian Young confronted Zeen, and Young and Zeen "started screaming at each other." (Id. at 118:8-119:18.) Young threw either coffee or liquor in Zeen's face, and Zeen pulled out a knife. (Id. at 119:18-22, 120:5-16.) London pulled out a gun, waved it around, and shot it in the air. (Id. at 120:17-121:7.) Before London walked away, he pointed the gun directly at the petitioner. (Id. at 121:8-16, 121:25-122:8.) At about 9:00 p.m. on November 5, 2007, the petitioner arrived at Ortiz's house on 5816 Sixth Avenue. (Id. at 102:20-103:24.) The petitioner was carrying a rolled-up shirt; Ortiz did not see what was in the shirt, but thought that it was a gun. (Id. at 104:10-18, 113:23-114:5.) The petitioner told Ortiz he was walking down the block,and that "when he was going to take Fifth Avenue, he seen the guy [London] reaching in his...

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