Youngblood v. Conway

Decision Date11 April 2006
Docket NumberNo. 03-CV-6527.,03-CV-6527.
Citation426 F.Supp.2d 107
PartiesAnthony YOUNGBLOOD, Petitioner, v. James T. CONWAY, Superintendent, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of New York

Anthony Youngblood, Attica, NY, pro se.

Loretta S. Courtney, Monroe County District Attorney, Rochester, NY, for Respondent.

DECISION AND ORDER

BIANCHINI, United States Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Petitioner, Anthony Youngblood ("Youngblood"), filed this pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his conviction in Monroe County Court on attempted murder and several lesser charges. The parties have consented to disposition of this matter by the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The conviction here at issue stems from the shooting and attempted robbery of Chester Dortch ("Dortch") by petitioner. At about 8:30 p.m. on March 16, 2000, Officer Brian Cannon responded to the scene of a shooting at 525 Remington Street where he found Dortch, bleeding from the abdomen and legs. Dortch described his assailant as a black male wearing a red coat who had taken off running, heading east through backyards. Other eyewitnesses to the shooting described the gunman as about 5'9"-tall and 160 pounds, wearing a red ski jacket and dark pants. These witnesses confirmed his direction of travel and stated that he was still carrying the gun.

After setting up a perimeter around the crime scene, Officer Cannon and Officers Anthony Bongiovanni and Patrick Carney, along with a trained tracking dog, began searching for the suspect. Across the street from 525 Remington, they found a set of footprints in the snow spaced widely apart. They followed the tracks south to Lang Street and then through a parking lot to Joseph and Weaver Streets, where the tracks crossed with others near a phone booth at the corner. Since it was the middle of the a snowstorm, there were not many people out and about. However, the officers spied a man who was standing in a doorway and questioned him. He stated that he had just seen someone in a red coat use the phone and then head west on Weaver Street. The officers headed in that direction and the tracking dog picked up the trail again; it led to 43 Weaver Street, specifically, the area underneath the porch. The officers observed a set of footprints leading into and out of the space behind a lattice that had been removed. There was no one under the porch, however.

The officers continued following the tracks through backyards to Farbridge Street, where one officer saw a man running eastbound; the man refused to halt when the officer called out to him. The officers split up to give chase and ultimately apprehended the man, a black male about 5'11"-tall, later identified as Youngblood. As Youngblood was being handcuffed, Officer Charles Bonafede arrived on the scene. Recognizing Youngblood from his beat on Parsells Avenue, Officer Bonafede stuck his head in the window of the patrol car where Youngblood had been placed and asked, "Hey Juke [Youngblood's nickname], how's it going? You need anything? You all set? It's been a long time since the Parsells [Avenue] days." Youngblood announced that he had been running from the police only because he had been on his way to "buy a bag of weed" and he was on parole. Without prompting, Youngblood then asked whether the police were looking for his jacket; he said that it was in the bushes of a green house near Remington and Farbridge Streets. Youngblood told them, "[T]here's nothing in it except my landlord's papers."

The police searched in the area where Youngblood indicated and discovered a jacket with a prominent red stripe in the hedges of 318 Remington Street, the only green house in the vicinity. After searching the area underneath the porch at 43 Weaver Street, the officers recovered a gun which ballistics testing revealed to be same gun that was used to shoot Dortch.

Meanwhile, Dortch was brought to Rochester General Hospital for treatment of his gunshot wounds. He described his assailant as a "dude named Juke" to Investigator Randall Benjamin. A show-up identification procedure was conducted at the hospital, and Dortch positively identified Youngblood as the gunman.

Youngblood subsequently was transported to the Public Safety Building. When Investigators Joseph Dominick and Gary Galetta arrived, they informed him of his rights under the Miranda decision. without an attorney present. He initially denied any involvement in the shooting on Remington Street. Youngblood then was informed that Dortch had identified him and that the police had developed independent evidence of a connection between the two men, namely, that Youngblood had called Dortch's home before the shooting and that Dortch had dated Youngblood's aunt.

After that, Youngblood agreed to tell the officers "what happened down there." He related having contacted Dortch in order to purchase some cocaine, which he did for $200. Upon opening the bag, Youngblood discovered that the contents smelled unfamiliar, so he demanded his money back. According to Youngblood, Dortch refused to make a refund. When Youngblood grabbed him, Dortch pulled out a gun and pointed it at Youngblood. Youngblood told the officers that he disarmed Dortch using a military maneuver, pointed the gun at him, and demanded a refund. Dortch threw some currency on the ground, but when Youngblood discovered that it was less than the full purchase price, he became so angry that he shot Dortch. Youngblood related that when Dortch started to run away, he chased Dortch up onto the porch of a house and shot him several more times, mostly in the legs. Youngblood also told the police that he threw the gun under the porch of a house on Weaver Street and abandoned his jacket somewhere.

During a second round of questioning the next day, Youngblood admitted that he had brought the gun to the encounter between Dortch and him. He stated that he had acquired it from a person whom he knew as "Nose." Youngblood explained that he had received a page from Dortch, who proposed to meet Youngblood at the corner of Norton Street and Clinton Avenue in order to sell him cocaine. Because he believed the quality of the cocaine sold to him was suspect, Youngblood demanded a refund but Dortch refused. Dortch began to run, and Youngblood chased after him, shooting the gun. Youngblood refused to implicate the person who drove him to the meeting with Dortch. Youngblood also declined to provide a written statement memorializing any of his oral statements to the police.

A suppression hearing was held, at which Youngblood testified that the police "made up everything" they related regarding the issuance of the Miranda warnings and the interrogations. However, Youngblood admitted telling Officer Bonafede why he had been running. The court found that Youngblood knowingly and intelligently waived his rights and that his statements to Officer Bonafede were "spontaneously made and not the product of express questioning or its functional equivalent."

A few days before the trial court issued its decision on the suppression motion, defense counsel moved to be relieved from representing Youngblood. Counsel stated that a "rift" had developed between them. As evidence, he pointed to Youngblood's filing of pro se papers, an alleged disagreement between them regarding the use of an investigator, and an implied threat by Youngblood of a malpractice suit. Youngblood did not agree that there was any such rift and he denied having threatened to bring a lawsuit. He stated that he did not want new counsel, but that if counsel were to be relieved, he wanted to represent himself. The court denied defense counsel's application, and the case proceeded to trial.

At trial, Dortch denied selling cocaine to Youngblood, but he otherwise confirmed what the police observed and what Youngblood admitted to them. At about 8:15 p.m. on March 16, 2000, Dortch received a telephone call from Youngblood, whom he knew was "Juke." Youngblood asked to meet him at a convenience store at the corner of Norton Street and Clinton Avenue in order to arrange the purchase of marijuana. Dortch, who previously had dated Youngblood's aunt, agreed.

Upon nearing the location for the scheduled meeting, Dortch saw that Youngblood had someone with him in the car. Because Youngblood promised that he would meet him alone, Dortch continued on his way. Youngblood exited the car and asked where "the guy" with the marijuana was. Dortch replied that he had been unable to contact him and began to walk away. Youngblood followed him, and the two ended up on the porch of a house on Remington Street.

Youngblood then came out from under the porch with a gun, ordered Dortch to "give it up," and shot him in the leg. This prompted Dortch to toss about $400 onto the ground, but Youngblood shot him again, hitting him in the right arm. Dortch managed to run around the house and onto the porch of the house next door. While attempting to kick in the door, he turned to face Youngblood, who was on the sidewalk. Youngblood then shot him in the stomach. Dortch dove through a window and Youngblood ran off.

Dr. Jeff Landers, who operated on Dortch, explained that each of the four main gunshot wounds (one in each thigh, one in the knee and one in the stomach) could have caused death due to blood loss. The bullet in Dortch's stomach passed within one centimeter of the vena cava, the largest vein in the abdomen. According to Dr. Landers, most people who are shot there do not survive.

The defense called Gary Bradford ("Bradford") who testified that at about 8:45 p.m. on the night of March 16, 2000, he was in a convenience store on the corner of Cohlman and Remington Streets, chatting with Youngblood, whom he knew as "Juke Box." Youngblood told Bradford that he had just gotten out of prison and was looking for some "weed" for his sister. Bradford...

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5 cases
  • Gillis v. Edwards
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of New York
    • August 10, 2006
    ...(federal courts may not grant "habeas relief on the basis of little more than speculation with slight support"); Youngblood v. Conway, 426 F.Supp.2d 107, 125 (W.D.N.Y.2006) (because petitioner's claim was "based on nothing more than mere speculation, it cannot provide a basis for habeas rel......
  • Mills v. Lempke
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • February 4, 2013
    ...rank speculation with no record support. Accordingly, it cannot provide a basis for habeas relief. See, e.g., Youngblood v. Conway, 426 F. Supp.2d 107, 125 (W.D.N.Y. 2006) (because petitioner's claim was "based on nothing more than mere speculation, it cannot provide a basis for habeas reli......
  • McQueen v. Superintendent
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of New York
    • October 23, 2015
    ...(federal courts may not grant "habeas relief on the basis of little more than speculation with slight support"); Youngblood v. Conway, 426 F. Supp. 2d 107, 127 (W.D.N.Y.2006) (because petitioner's claim was "based on nothing more than mere speculation, it cannot provide a basis for habeas r......
  • Ramos v. Colvin
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • December 14, 2020
    ...so-called Rodriguez hearing is to establish whether, under New York state law, an identification is confirmatory. Youngblood v. Conway, 426 F. Supp.2d 107, 122 (W.D.N.Y. 2006) (citation omitted). During Mark Tardi's testimony at trial, the prosecution asked Tardi to verify whether he had li......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Chapter 5. Interview and Interrogation
    • United States
    • ABA General Library Street Legal. A Guide to Pre-trial Criminal Procedure for Police, Prosecutors, and Defenders
    • January 1, 2007
    ...the clothing description given for the shooting suspect. The court ruled that there was no interrogation. Youngblood v. Conway, 426 F. Supp. 2d 107 (W.D.N.Y. 2006). A voluntary statement is not necessarily limited to a statement made completely spontaneously by the suspect. For example, whe......
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • ABA General Library Street Legal. A Guide to Pre-trial Criminal Procedure for Police, Prosecutors, and Defenders
    • January 1, 2007
    ...United States v., 105 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 1997) 66 Young, United States v., 877 F.2d 1099 (1st Cir. 1989) 211 Youngblood v. Conway, 426 F. Supp. 2d 107 (W.D.N.Y. 2006) 116 Yusuf, United States v., 461 F.3d 374 (3d Cir. 2006) 199 Yusuff, United States v., 96 F.3d 982 (7th Cir. 1996) 111 Z.C.B.,......

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