Galdamez v. Keane, Docket No. 03-2595.

Citation394 F.3d 68
Decision Date04 January 2005
Docket NumberDocket No. 03-2595.
PartiesSalvador GALDAMEZ, Petitioner-Appellant, v. John P. KEANE, Warden, Superintendent of State Correctional Facility, Respondent-Appellee,
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)

Daniel A. Hochheiser, Hochheiser & Hochheiser, New York, NY, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Andrea M. Digregorio, District Attorney's Office for Nassau County, Mineola, NY, for Respondent-Appellee.

Before: SACK, SOTOMAYOR, Circuit Judges and KAPLAN, District Court Judge.*

SOTOMAYOR, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner-appellant Salvador Galdamez ("Galdamez") appeals from a denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, filed on August 4, 2003, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. See Galdamez v. Keanne, Nos.2000-CV-4066, 03-MISC-0066, 2003 WL 21847382 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 4, 2003) (Weinstein, J.). Respondent-appellee John Keane ("respondent" or "the state") contends that Galdamez failed properly to exhaust his state remedies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A) when he submitted his Appellate Division briefs to the New York Court of Appeals without specifically identifying issues for review in his letter application for leave to appeal. The state argues that, absent a showing of cause for the default and actual prejudice, the petition is procedurally barred. We hold that where a habeas petitioner (1) submits to the New York Court of Appeals his or her Appellate Division briefs and a letter application seeking leave to appeal that did not identify particular issues for that court's review, and (2) leave to appeal was denied by the New York Court of Appeals without stating that the denial was due to petitioner's failure to identify particular issues for review, then a habeas petitioner has properly exhausted his or her federal claims pursuant to § 2254. On the substantive Confrontation Clause and due process claims, we affirm the district court's denial of Galdamez's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

BACKGROUND

On September 18, 1997, a jury in the County Court of Nassau County found Salvador Galdamez guilty of the charges of rape in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree. The victim was Galdamez's co-worker. She and another co-worker testified as eyewitnesses to the rape and both identified Galdamez as the rapist. Galdamez testified in his own defense. Over defense counsel's objection, the prosecutor attempted several times to cross-examine Galdamez on statements allegedly made by him to persons who were not to be called as witnesses at the trial.1 The judge later instructed the jury to "totally disregard" these questions and responses.

In his briefs to the Appellate Division following conviction, Galdamez raised three claims, namely that he was (1) "Denied His Sixth Amendment Right to Be Confronted With the Witnesses Against Him" (2) "Deprived of the Right To Be Tried Solely On The Basis of the Evidence Presented" and that (3) "The Conviction for Unlawful Imprisonment Should Be Dismissed." In an order dated May 24, 1999, the Appellate Division affirmed the judgment of conviction. See People v. Galdamez, 261 A.D.2d 635, 690 N.Y.S.2d 459 (2d Dept.1999). The Appellate Division specifically held that the evidence was legally sufficient to sustain the unlawful imprisonment conviction and that "the verdict of guilt was not against the weight of the evidence" with respect to the unlawful imprisonment claim. Id. at 636, 690 N.Y.S.2d 459. The court held also that "[t]he defendant's remaining contentions are either unpreserved for appellate review or without merit." Id.

On June 18, 1999, Galdamez applied to the Court of Appeals for leave to appeal. The body of counsel's letter on his behalf stated: "Enclosed please find copy [sic] of the decision of the Appellate Division affirming this conviction. The appellant hereby requests leave to appeal to this Court." On July 13, 1999, defense counsel sent to the Court of Appeals copies of the briefs submitted to the Appellate Division and the Appellate Division's decision affirming the conviction. The body of that letter stated: "Enclosed please find briefs submitted to the Appellate Division together with the decision affirming the conviction." Three days later, on July 16, 1999, the Court of Appeals Clerk's Office sent a letter to defense counsel identifying the Hon. George Bundy Smith as the judge assigned to review Galdamez's application and stating, inter alia:

Applicant's communications to the assigned Judge must be mailed within three weeks after the date of this letter, and a copy must be served on each adverse party.

Particular written attention should be given to identifying reviewability and preservation issues (Rules of Practice, § 500.10[a]). Any responsive communications must be mailed within two weeks after the date of the applicant's communication, with a copy also served on each adverse party.

Galdamez did not correspond further with the Court of Appeals. In its letter of opposition to his application for leave to appeal, the state argued that because Galdamez had "set[ ] forth no reason why leave should be granted," the court should deny his application. On August 12, 1999, leave to appeal was denied. See People v. Galdamez, 93 N.Y.2d 1018, 697 N.Y.S.2d 577, 719 N.E.2d 938 (1999) (Smith, J.). The certificate denying leave stated:

I, [Associate Judge] George Bundy Smith ... do hereby certify that upon application timely made by [Galdamez] for a certificate pursuant to CPL 460.20 and upon the record and proceedings herein, there is no question of law presented which ought to be reviewed by the Court of Appeals and permission to appeal is hereby denied.

On July 12, 2000, Galdamez filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, raising the same claims he had pressed on direct appeal. In a decision filed August 4, 2003, the district judge denied the petition. With respect to the issue of exhaustion, Judge Weinstein noted that prior to the enactment of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, 1218 (1996), amending the relevant federal habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal habeas petition containing any unexhausted claims required dismissal. The court observed that AEDPA now permits a district court to deny a petition on the merits as a matter of discretion, even if the petitioner pressed some unexhausted claims in his or her habeas petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2). Without expressly holding that Galdamez had in fact failed properly to exhaust his state remedies, Judge Weinstein denied the petition on the merits. The district court nevertheless granted a certificate of appealability regarding the prosecutor's indirect use of hearsay during his cross examination of Galdamez, an issue that implicated Galdamez's Confrontation Clause and Due Process claims.

This appeal timely followed.

DISCUSSION

On appeal, the state argues as it did below that Galdamez procedurally defaulted his petition because by submitting his Appellate Division briefs to the Court of Appeals without identifying the issues for which he sought review pursuant to New York Court Rules § 500.10(a) (McKinney 2004), he failed to exhaust properly his state remedies. Absent a showing of cause or prejudice, the state maintains, Galdamez's petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be denied. We disagree. Today we resolve a disagreement among the district courts2 and hold that Galdamez properly exhausted his state court remedies as required by § 2254(b)(1) and (c) when he submitted his Appellate Division briefs with his letter application for leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals, notwithstanding that the letter did not identify particular issues for that court's review.

I. Exhaustion Generally

Before a federal court may grant habeas relief to a prisoner in state custody, the prisoner must exhaust his or her state court remedies. O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842, 119 S.Ct. 1728, 144 L.Ed.2d 1 (1999). The exhaustion requirement has long been a staple of habeas jurisprudence. See, e.g., Ex parte Royall, 117 U.S. 241, 252, 6 S.Ct. 734, 29 L.Ed. 868 (1886). 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)3 and (c) now codifies this requirement. Section 2254(c) states that:

An applicant shall not be deemed to have exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State, within the meaning of this section, if he has the right under the law of the State to raise, by any available procedure, the question presented.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(c). The Supreme Court has warned against interpreting this provision too narrowly, holding that it requires "only that state prisoners give state courts a fair opportunity to act on their claims." O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 844, 119 S.Ct. 1728 (emphasis in original).

Comity concerns lie at the core of the exhaustion requirement. As the Supreme Court explained:

State courts, like federal courts, are obliged to enforce federal law. Comity thus dictates that when a prisoner alleges that his continued confinement for a state court conviction violates federal law, the state courts should have the first opportunity to review this claim and provide any necessary relief. This rule of comity reduces friction between the state and federal court systems by avoiding the unseemliness of a federal district court's overturning a state court conviction without the state courts having had an opportunity to correct the constitutional violation in the first instance.

Id. at 844-45, 119 S.Ct. 1728 (internal citations and quotations omitted); see Ex parte Royall, 117 U.S. at 251, 6 S.Ct. 734 (noting that state "courts [are] equally bound to guard and protect rights secured by the Constitution"); Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 518, 102 S.Ct. 1198, 71 L.Ed.2d 379 (1982) (characterizing...

To continue reading

Request your trial
438 cases
  • Cotto v. Fischer, 09 CV. 9813 (SAS)(MHD)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • August 23, 2012
    ...review of the denial of that claim." Gruyair v. Lee, 2011 WL 4549627, *6 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 3, 2011) (citing, inter alia, Galdamez v. Keane, 394 F.3d 68, 72 (2d Cir. 2005); Torres v. McGrath, 407 F. Supp.2d 551, 557 (S.D.N.Y. 2006); Mayen v. Artist, 2008 WL 2201464, *4 (S.D.N.Y. May 23, 2008)) ......
  • Edwards v. Fischer, 01 Civ. 9397(RJH)(THK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • February 7, 2006
    ...never given the opportunity to review this claim, petitioner has failed to exhaust the claim in the state courts. See Galdamez v. Keane, 394 F.3d 68, 72 (2d Cir.2005) (stating that "[c]ornity thus dictates that ... state courts should have the first opportunity to review [the] claim and pro......
  • McCray v. Graham, 14 Civ. 5983 (PKC) (AJP)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 3, 2014
    ...F.2d 201, 206 (2d Cir. 1986); Petrucelli v. Coombe, 735 F.2d at 688. 20. Accord, e.g., Rosa v. McCray, 396 F.3d at 217; Galdamez v. Keane, 394 F.3d 68, 73 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 1025, 125 S. Ct. 1996 (2005); Calderon v. Keane, 115 F. App'x 455, 457 (2d Cir. 2004); Cotto v. Herber......
  • Contant v. Sabol, Case No. 10–CV–3434 (KMK)(PED).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 6, 2013
    ...state court of both the factual and legal premises of the federal claims ultimately asserted in the habeas petition.” Galdamez v. Keane, 394 F.3d 68, 73 (2d Cir.2005). A claim may be “fairly presented” to the state courts, therefore, even if the petitioner has not cited “chapter and verse o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT