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CAMPBELL v. BURGESS

July 6, 2004.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL, Petitioner,
v.
BURGESS, Superintendent, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR BIANCHINI, Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Petitioner, Michael Campbell ("Campbell"), 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 three counts of second degree murder, one count of attempted second degree murder, one count of first degree assault, and one count of fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon. The parties have consented to disposition of this matter by the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).

  FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  Campbell's convictions arise from four shooting incidents (three murders and one attempted murder) in the City of Rochester between August 22, 1994, and April 15, 1995. All of the shootings stemmed from an argument in which Campbell became involved, which in turn led to a feud between Campbell and his associates on the one side, and Levi Wright, a/k/a "Poochie", and his gang on the other.

  In mid-August 1994, Campbell was in the vicinity of Parsells and Denver Streets when he received a message on his pager which he wanted to answer. There was a pay telephone on the corner, but a woman was using it. By Campbell's estimate, the woman had been talking for about 45 minutes. Campbell asked the woman if he could use the phone, but she refused. He informed her that she had better get off the phone or he would hang it up. The woman swore at him, which led to an altercation between Campbell and the woman's boyfriend, who happened to be one of Poochie's cousins. The fight escalated with more individuals becoming involved, but no one was shot. Eventually, everyone dispersed.

  Later that evening or early the next morning, while Campbell and some friends were in the vicinity of Webster Avenue and Ferndale Crescent, a group of armed individuals led by Poochie emerged from the bushes at the end of a cul-de-sac and started firing at Campbell. Campbell and his friends returned fire. Over the next several days, Campbell had shots fired at him three more times by Poochie or members of his gang.

  On August 22, 1994, Campbell was shot at again, and this apparently was "the straw that broke the camel's back." Campbell took his gun and went out looking for Poochie. Upon seeing the tan Honda Accord that Poochie normally drove, Campbell and another man fired about ten rounds into the car, killing the two teenaged occupants, Peniel Bedell ("Bedell") and Byron Whyte ("Whyte"), both of whom sold drugs for Poochie. Poochie, however, was not in the car at the time. After the shooting, Campbell left Rochester to lie low in Florida for a few months.

  Shortly after returning to Rochester, on December 3, 1994, Campbell went into a grocery store at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Clifton Streets to buy some beer. Upon entering the store, Campbell, who happened to be drunk and stoned, spotted Jeremiah Thomas ("Thomas") standing over a cooler. Thomas was a member of Poochie's gang and one of the people whom Campbell believed had been involved in the Webster Avenue gun fight and subsequent attempts to kill him. Seeing Thomas refreshed the memory of those incidents in Campbell's mind and, when Thomas reached down into the cooler, Campbell fatally shot him.

  The final shooting occurred at about 2:00 a.m. on April 15, 1995, when Campbell approached Michael Lewis ("Lewis"), a/k/a "Tank", outside of the High Chaparral Club on Portland Avenue and asked whether Lewis's cousins had made statements to the police about Campbell. Lewis denied knowing anything about this although, in fact, he was aware that his cousin had given a statement to police implicating Campbell in the Bedell-Whyte killing. During this conversation, a car operated by unknown individuals drove by Campbell twice, nearly striking him. Campbell reached under his shirt to draw his gun, whereupon Lewis fled on foot. As Lewis was climbing a metal fence about a block away, Campbell caught up to him and shot him five times, causing life-threatening injuries and temporary partial paralysis. Lewis survived, however, and filed a felony complaint with the Rochester Police Department against Campbell.

  Based upon the complaint and other information received concerning Campbell, Investigator Sheridan of the Rochester Police Department obtained a warrant for Campbell's arrest on charges of second degree attempted murder and first degree assault with respect to the Lewis shooting. The police executed the warrant on June 2, 1995, bringing Campbell into custody at about 10:00 p.m. that evening. Rather than immediately arraign Campbell, Investigators Sheridan and his partner, Investigator Schultz, interrogated Campbell for several hours. During this time, Campbell gave a statement admitting to the murders of Whyte, Bedell, Thomas, and the attempted murder of Lewis. However, he advised the officers that he was "not going to sign shit." Investigator Sheridan typed up this statement and had Campbell read it over. True to his word, Campbell refused to sign the statement.

  The investigators then questioned Campbell about the August 14, 1994 murder of Akinwumi Vincent ("Vincent"). Campbell initially denied responsibility, but he later admitted that he had a problem with Vincent and shot him in the stomach. A second statement was transcribed regarding the Vincent killing, but Campbell refused to sign this one as well. Investigator Sheridan then pressed Campbell about the killing of Eddie West, telling him that the handgun used in that crime was the same one used to shoot Lewis. Campbell consistently denied being involved in the West killing, claiming that after he shot Lewis, he exchanged the gun he had used for a 9-mm rifle.

  Campbell subsequently was indicted by a Monroe County Grand Jury and charged with three counts of second degree murder, one count of attempted second degree murder, one count of first degree assault, and one count of fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon.*fn1 A hearing pursuant to People v. Huntley, 15 N.Y.2d 72, 78 (1965) ("Huntley"), was held before Judge Donald Mark in Monroe County Court to determine the voluntariness and admissibility of Campbell's statements to the police. Defense counsel argued that Campbell's statements should be suppressed because Campbell's right to counsel was violated by virtue of the fact that (1) a felony complaint already had been filed against Campbell charging him with the Lewis shooting; (2) Campbell was questioned following his arrest instead of being arraigned immediately upon the Lewis charge; and (3) the Whyte-Bedell-Thomas homicides were related to, or inextricably intertwined with the Lewis shooting for which Campbell's right to counsel had attached, making any questioning regarding the uncharged incidents unconstitutional.

  At the hearing, Investigator Sheridan testified that after Campbell waived his Miranda*fn2 rights, they began discussing, in general terms, the feud between Campbell's associates and the gang led by Poochie and Lewis, as well as the recent spate of gang-related shootings in Rochester. 1/8/96 Transcript of Huntley Hearing at 30. About thirty minutes into the interrogation, Campbell spontaneously confessed to the murder of Lewis. 12/15/95 Transcript of Huntley Hearing at 59. This was the first murder to which Campbell confessed. Id. Investigator Sheridan testified that neither he nor his partner had asked Campbell any questions relative to the Lewis murder. 1/8/96 Transcript of Huntley Hearing at 60. Investigator Sheridan talked ...


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