Roman v. Mitchell, 051319 FED1, 18-1979

Docket Nº:18-1979
Opinion Judge:KAYATTA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Party Name:MIGUEL ROMAN, Petitioner, Appellant, v. LISA A. MITCHELL, Superintendent, Old Colony Correctional Center, Respondent, Appellee.
Attorney:Donald A. Harwood and Donald A. Harwood, Esq. PC on brief for appellant. Susanne Reardon, Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, on brief for appellee.
Judge Panel:Before Torruella, Thompson, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 13, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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MIGUEL ROMAN, Petitioner, Appellant,

v.

LISA A. MITCHELL, Superintendent, Old Colony Correctional Center, Respondent, Appellee.

No. 18-1979

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

May 13, 2019

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Allison D. Burroughs, U.S. District Judge]

Donald A. Harwood and Donald A. Harwood, Esq. PC on brief for appellant.

Susanne Reardon, Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, on brief for appellee.

Before Torruella, Thompson, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

KAYATTA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

Miguel Roman appeals from the district court's dismissal of his habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 contesting his state-court conviction and ongoing detention for first-degree murder. The district court determined that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) acted reasonably in concluding that the evidence sufficiently supported the conviction. We affirm for the same reason.

I.

A.

Because this appeal challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, we recite the facts "in the light most compatible with the jury's verdict, consistent with record support." Leftwich v. Maloney, 532 F.3d 20, 21 (1st Cir. 2008) (citing Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979)). We summarize here only those central facts sufficient to explain our conclusion. A fuller recitation of these facts are set forth in the SJC's opinion. See Commonwealth v. Roman, 18 N.E.3d 1069, 1071 (Mass. 2014).

The events underlying Roman's conviction took place in the early hours of January 29, 2010 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. At around 2:00 a.m., five men left a nightclub in a Nissan Altima. Luis Soto, whose girlfriend owned the car, drove, Angel Fernandez was in the front passenger seat, his brother Felipe sat behind him in the right rear seat, Roman was behind the driver's seat, and Shawn Tiago sat in the middle of the backseat between Roman and Felipe. Soto drove down High Street until Roman told him to turn right onto Essex Street. Soto testified that, after he turned the car onto Essex Street, he "heard a detonation." He could not tell whether there had been more than one shot because his ears were ringing.

Soto immediately stopped the car and shifted it into park. Felipe and then Angel got out of the vehicle and started running toward High Street. Soto testified that he turned around and saw Roman holding a gun in his right hand, close to Tiago's head. Tiago slouched forward toward the front of the car. After initially hesitating, Soto was the third person to exit the Altima.

Roman then got out of the vehicle, walked around the back of the car, opened the rear passenger's side door, and leaned inside. As Soto ran toward High Street, he heard another shot. The car proceeded to Newton Street, where Tiago's body was later found in the road with two bullet holes in the left rear side of his head and one in his right temple.

Another government witness, Barbara St. Amand, who lived on Newton Street, testified that she looked out her window after hearing one or two gunshots and tires screeching outside. She saw a man wearing a black hooded jacket, the same type Felipe was wearing that night, pull something out of the rear passenger side of the car and re-enter the backseat on the driver's side.

Meanwhile, Felipe, Angel, and Soto arrived at Sam's Food, a nearby store on High Street. Soto and Angel went inside the store, and Felipe...

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