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WILSON v. GOORD

February 6, 2004.

CARLTON WILSON, Petitioner, -against- GLENN S. GOORD, Commissioner of New York State Department of Correction, Respondent


The opinion of the court was delivered by: LAURA TAYLOR SWAIN, District Judge Page 2

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pro se petitioner Carlton Wilson ("Petitioner") seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He was convicted on June 19, 1998, in New York State Supreme Court, New York County, following a jury trial, of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Bail Jumping in the First Degree. Petitioner was sentenced to two concurrent prison terms of three and one-half to seven years and four and one-half to nine years. The Court has jurisdiction of this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

  The Court has considered carefully all submissions relating to this matter. The petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied for the following reasons.

  SUMMARY OF CLAIMS

  Because Petitioner is acting pro se, the Court must "read his supporting papers liberally, and . . . interpret them to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest" Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994). In his Petition and Memorandum of Law, Petitioner sets forth six grounds of his claims for habeas corpus relic! (1) Petitioner's conviction of drug possession with intent to distribute was based on insufficient evidence in violation of his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, (2) Petitioner was denied his statutory right to a speedy trial under New York law when the authorities failed to apprehend him for six months, (3) Petitioner was coerced into a guilty plea by the New York State Supreme Court in violation of his right to due process, (4) Petitioner's indictment for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree was based on an unsigned felony complaint, an inaccurate laboratory report analyzing the seized drugs and testimony that was later recanted, (5) the New York Supreme Court abused its discretion in violation of due process when it refused to authorize funds for a chemical test of the seized drugs by a defense expert and (6) Petitioner was Page 3 denied his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment because the arresting officer approached Petitioner on the street without reasonable suspicion that a crime was afoot.

  BACKGROUND

  The facts material to the issues raised in the petition are as follows.

  Petitioner was arrested on May 17, 1994, after police officers observed crack vials fall from his clothing. Further crack vials were discovered in his clothing during a subsequent search. He was indicted on June 3, 1994, on a charge of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (i.e., possession with intent to distribute).

  On November 30, 1994, during a Mapp/Dunaway hearing,*fn1 the New York State Supreme Court granted Petitioner's request to have the seized crack cocaine chemically tested by a defense expert. See Mapp/Dunaway Hearing Transcript at 7. However, on January 26, 1995, the court refused to authorize funding for the chemical test because it would cost $7,500 and thus well over the $300 maximum permitted by New York statute.*fn2 See Petitioner's Memorandum of Page 4 Law in Support at 3.*fn3 Also on January 26, 1995, the court denied Petitioner's November 16, 1994, motion to dismiss the indictment on statutory speedy trial grounds, finding that only 100 days of chargeable time had elapsed. See Respondent's Memorandum of Law in Opposition at 13.

  On January 27, 1995, Petitioner was released from custody upon his own recognizance and ordered to appear in the New York Supreme Court on February 23, 1995. When Petitioner failed to appear in court on that day, the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. See Tr. at 269, 272. Petitioner was arrested and returned to court on August 31, 1995. See Mem. in Opp'n at 3. On October 4, 1995, Petitioner was indicted for Bail Jumping in the First Degree. See id. On January 18, 1996, the court consolidated the Criminal Possession and Bail Jumping indictments. See id.. On April 10, 1996, Petitioner pleaded guilty to the Bail Jumping charge in exchange for a promised plea sentence of three and one-half to seven years. See id. at 7. On May 16, 1996, the New York Supreme Court denied Petitioner's motion to withdraw his plea on the ground that it was coerced, and it convicted petitioner in accordance with the plea agreement. See id.. However, on December 18, 1997, the New York Appellate Division found that the trial court had coerced Petitioner into pleading guilty, reversed Petitioners conviction, and remanded the case for trial. See People v. Wilson, 246 A.D.2d 161 (1st Dep't 1997). The Appellate Division dismissed Petitioner's claim contesting the Supreme Court's refusal to authorize funds for a chemical drug test. See id. Page 5

  After the case was remanded, Petitioner moved to re-argue his statutory speedy trial claim, alleging that the prosecution had failed to exercise due diligence in locating him after the court issued an arrest warrant on February 23, 1995. The New York Supreme Court denied this motion. See Mem. in Opp'n at 14-15. On June 2, 1998, after a trial, a jury convicted Petitioner of both Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, and Bail Jumping in the First Degree. See Tr. at 800-03.

  The principal trial evidence was as follows. On May 17, 1994, at approximately 10:20 p.m. Police Officers Edwin Moncado and Walter Beatty were on patrol in a marked car when they saw Petitioner and two other individuals standing under a scaffold at the corner of East 106th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, see Trial Transcript ("Tr.") at 308-09, which at the time was an area of high drug activity, see id. at 315. The officers observed Petitioner, with his back turned to them, extending his arm towards one of the two other individuals, as if he were handing him something. See id. at 314, 431-32. When the officers exited their car and approached Petitioner from behind, the two other individuals walked away briskly. See id. at 316. The officers then saw Petitioner adjust something in his rear waistband. See id. at 316, 433. As Petitioner turned around, ten vials of crack cocaine fell down Petitioner's pant leg and landed on the ground. See id. at 317. The vials had black tops and were stuck together with clear masking tape. See id. at 316-17. Officer Moncado arrested Petitioner and brought him to the police station. See id. at 437. A strip search of Petitioner revealed thirty-five additional black-top vials of crack cocaine in Petitioner's underwear. See id. at 440-41.

  On June 19, 1998, the New York State Supreme Court sentenced Petitioner to concurrent prison terms of three and one-half to seven years and four and one-half to nine years. Page 6 See Tr. at 818. The Appellate Division affirmed Petitioner's conviction, rejecting, inter alia, his insufficiency of evidence and statutory speedy trial claims. See People v. Wilson, 269 A.D.2d 180 (1st Dep't 2000). The New York Court of Appeals denied Petitioner leave to ...


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