The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR BIANCHINI, Magistrate Judge
Petitioner, Joseph M. Allen ("Allen"), filed this pro se
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
challenging his conviction in Allegany County Court following a
guilty plea to one count of first degree manslaughter. The
parties have consented to disposition of this matter by the
undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). For the reasons set
forth below, Allen's § 2254 petition is denied.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Allen was indicted by an Allegany County Grand Jury on one
count of second degree murder, four counts of first degree
robbery, one count of third degree arson, and one count of first
degree conspiracy. The People charged that on May 21, 1998, Allen
and an accomplice, Fred E. Perry, Jr. ("Perry"), went to the home
of James Doan ("Doan") in the rural town of Alma, New York. Doan,
who lived by himself, previously had dated Allen's mother.
Apparently, Allen and Perry intended to kill Doan prior to
Perry, armed with a shotgun, and Allen, with a rifle,
approached Doan's house from the woods so as not to be seen.
After secreting their weapons outside the door, Perry and Allen
entered Doan's house and had a conversation with him. Perry asked
Doan for a glass of water, which Doan provided. Perry then stepped outside the door,
retrieved and loaded his shotgun, and re-entered Doan's dining
room. Perry fired into the left rear part of Doan's skull,
killing him instantly.
Allen and Perry then left Doan's house carrying two of the
victim's horse saddles. After a failed attempt to saddle the
horses, the two perpetrators retreated to the woods to discuss
their plans. Ultimately, Allen and Perry returned to scene of the
crime whereupon they lashed Doan's body to a riding lawn mower
and dragged the body across the road and into a barn. There,
Allen and Perry relieved the victim of $614 in cash and some
Allen and Perry returned to Doan's house where they washed as
much blood and brain matter as possible from the walls and floor.
They dumped the cleaning materials in the barn along with the
victim's body, which they covered with hay. The perpetrators then
doused the barn with gasoline and set it afire. Since they were
in a rural area, no one responded to the blaze. Allen and Perry
returned to their respective homes. Allen gave his portion of the
stolen money to his roommate and asked him to purchase car parts
Later in the day, after the incinerated barn and Doan's remains
were discovered, Allen was questioned by police regarding his
whereabouts on the previous evening. Allen was questioned a
second time later in the evening of May 22, 1998, and gave a
different story. Due to the inconsistencies between his two
accounts, Allen was questioned a third time on May 23, 1998.
Apparently, in the interim, Allen also confided to an
unidentified friend that he had been involved in Doan's murder.
During this time, the police picked up Perry on a probation
violation warrant and sent him to Allegany County Jail. Once
there, Perry confessed his involvement in the Doan murder to a
fellow inmate, Michael Lopez ("Lopez"), who then contacted the
police. Lopez met with Investigator Fish of the state police on
May 24, 1998, and gave a statement concerning Perry's admissions.
(Lopez testified at a pre-trial hearing that he received no
promises of leniency from the police in exchange for this
information.) The same day, after receiving this information from Lopez,
Investigators Fish and Harris went to Allen's home and requested
that he come down to the police barracks. Allen, accompanied by
his mother, followed the troopers to the barracks. Once there,
Investigator Fish read Allen his Miranda rights. Allen asked
for a lawyer, whereupon Investigator Fish left the room.
Immediately thereafter, Allen informed Investigator Harris that
he had something to tell him and spontaneously began recounting
the events of May 21, 1998. Investigator Harris transcribed
Allen's oral statements, but Allen did not sign a written
statement or the officer's notes.
Allen then was placed under arrest and detained at the Allegany
County Jail where he, too, made admissions to an unidentified
person or persons about the Doan murder which were heard by
Lopez. Lopez gave a second written statement to Investigator Fish
on May 28, 1998, with respect to additional inculpatory
statements by Allen and Perry.
A hearing pursuant to People v. Huntley, 15 N.Y.2d 72, 78
(1965) ("Huntley"), was held before County Court Judge Euken on
October 30, 1998, to determine the voluntariness of Allen's oral
statements to the police. Lopez, the jailhouse informant, and
Investigator Harris were the only witnesses at the hearing.
Investigator Harris testified that when Allen arrived at the
barracks on May 24, 1998, he was present when Investigator Fish
read Allen his Miranda warnings, at which point Allen requested
the services of a lawyer. Investigator Fish then left the room
while Investigator Harris remained. According to Investigator
Harris, Allen suddenly said, "I have something I have got to tell
you," and spontaneously began recounting the events surrounding
the Doan murder. See Transcript of Huntley Hearing at 42-43,
Respondent's Appendix of Exhibits ("App.")*fn2 at 166-67.
Investigator Harris indicated that he just listened to Allen and
wrote down what he said. Investigator Harris testified that he
did not ask Allen any questions other than "can [you] repeat what
[you] said" or "could you say it louder" Id. According to
Investigator Harris, he did not ask for additional details, such as information
regarding dates or places or times. Id. at 45, App. at 169.
Allen was not asked to give a written statement, nor was he asked
to sign Investigator Harris's notes. Id. at 46, App. at 170.
Investigator Harris testified that Allen did not leave the
interrogation room to go use the telephone before he started
confessing to the murder. Nor did Investigator Harris offer to
have a lawyer contact Allen at that time. Id. at 60, App. at
183. Investigator Harris conceded that Allen was not free to go,
even before Allen began making inculpatory oral statements that
afternoon. Id. at 62-63, App. at 185-86. Once Allen completed
giving his oral statement, he was placed under arrest.
Judge Euken issued a written decision denying Allen's motion to
suppress on November 30, 1998. The court observed that under New
York law, "[o]nce an attorney has entered the proceeding, the
police may not question a suspect in the absence of counsel
unless there is an affirmative waiver in the presence of counsel
of the defendant's right to counsel." 11/30/98 County Court
Order, App. at 227 (citing People v. Arthur, 22 N.Y.2d 325, 329
(1968)). However, the court noted, the rule in People v. Arthur
"does not apply when the defendant makes spontaneous admissions
that are not the product of police interrogation." Id. (citing
People v. McKie, 25 N.Y.2d 19, ...