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CASTILLO v. HODGES

March 29, 2004.

VICTOR CASTILLO, Petitioner -against- GARY F. HODGES, SUPT., GOWANDA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Respondent


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Victor Castillo, proceeding pro se, seeks a federal writ of habeas corpus pursuant to section 2254 of Title 28 of the United States Code ("section 2254"). In his petition, Castillo ("petitioner") claims that: (1) his guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary; (2) he received ineffective assistance of counsel; and (3) the thirty-four month delay from petitioner's arrest to his guilty plea was excessive and deprived him of his constitutional and statutory rights to a speedy trial. See 1/13/01 Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 For Writ Of Habeas Corpus By A Person In State Custody ("Petition") ¶ 12(A), (B) & (C).

 I. BACKGROUND

  A. Pre-Trial Proceedings

  An indictment was filed on February 7, 1994, in connection with a shooting that occurred in the Bronx. Petitioner was charged with second-degree Page 2 murder and first-degree manslaughter for the death of Erskine Lavender. Petitioner was charged with attempted murder and assault for the injury to Anthony Buress. Petitioner was also charged with various weapons offenses.*fn1

  On February 22, 1994, petitioner was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. On October 8, 1996, petitioner filed a pro se motion to dismiss the indictment on the ground that he was denied his statutory and constitutional rights to a speedy trial.*fn2 See Notice of Motion, Ex. 7 to the Affidavit in Opposition of Danielle L. Attias, Assistant District Attorney ("Attias Aff.") (citing N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law ("CPL") § 30.20 (McKinney 2003); N.Y. Civil Rights Law § 12 (McKinney 1992); and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution). On October 28, 1996, petitioner pled guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree in full satisfaction of Indictment No. 495-94. On December 5, 1996, the court denied Page 3 petitioner's motion to dismiss without opinion. That same day, petitioner was sentenced, as a second felony offender, to an indeterminate term of seven to fourteen years imprisonment. See Attias Aff. ¶ 5.

  B. Post-Conviction Proceedings

  Castillo only raised his speedy trial claim (the third ground raised in his habeas petition) in his direct appeal to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. See Brief for Defendant-Appellant, Ex. 1 to the Attias Aff., at 11. The First Department found petitioner's constitutional speedy trial claim to be unreviewable because petitioner failed to provide the minutes for the relevant adjournment dates in support of his claim.*fn3 See People v. Castillo, 697 N.Y.S.2d 249 (1st Dep't 1999), Ex. 3 to the Attias Aff. In the alternative, the court found that "an analysis of the Taranovich factors indicates that defendant was not denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial." Id. (citing Page 4 People v. Taranovich, 37 N.Y.2d 442 (1975)).*fn4 Petitioner's conviction was unanimously affirmed. See id. Petitioner sought leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals on October 29, 1999. See Attias Aff. ¶ 8. On January 26, 2000, leave to appeal was denied. See id.

  Petitioner subsequently raised his invalid guilty plea and ineffective assistance of counsel claims in a motion pursuant to CPL § 440.10 ("440.10"). Petitioner's 440.10 motion was denied without opinion by Justice Byrne of the New York State Supreme Court, Bronx County, on April 16, 2003. Petitioner did not appeal the denial of his 440.10 motion to the First Department.*fn5

 II. LEGAL STANDARD

  This petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). AEDPA permits a federal court to grant a writ Page 5 of habeas corpus to a state prisoner only if the state court's denial of relief "was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1).

  As explained by the Supreme Court, a state court decision is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if: (1) the state court reaches a different result than that mandated by the Supreme Court when presented with facts that are "materially indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court precedent"; or (2) the state court "applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in Supreme Court cases." Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404-05 (2000). The "unreasonable application" prong of § 2254(d)(1) permits a federal habeas court to grant the writ,
if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from this Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of petitioner's case. In other words, a federal court may grant relief when a state court has misapplied a governing legal principle to a set of facts different from those of the case in which the principle was announced. In order for a federal court to find a state court's application of our precedent "unreasonable," the state court's decision must have been more than incorrect or erroneous. The state court's application must have been objectively unreasonable.
Wiggins v. Smith, 123 S.Ct. 2527, 2534-35 (2003) (internal quotation marks and Page 6 citations omitted).

 III. DISCUSSION

  A. Adequate and Independent ...


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