Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

WILLIAMS v. PHILLIPS

August 2, 2005.

KARSEM WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM PHILLIPS, Superintendent, Green Haven Correctional Facility, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ANDREW PECK, Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

To the Honorable Deborah A. Batts, United States District Judge:

Pro se petitioner Karsem Williams seeks a writ of habeas corpus from his September 7, 1995 conviction in Supreme Court, New York County, of two counts of second degree murder and one count each of first degree robbery and second degree criminal possession of a weapon, and sentence (as modified) to twenty-five years to life imprisonment. (Dkt. No. 4: Am. Pet. ¶¶ 1-5.) Williams' habeas petition claims that: (1) he was deprived of due process by the prosecutor's failure to disclose compensation paid to a key prosecution witness for his testimony (Am. Pet. Att. 1 ¶ 1); (2) he was deprived of due process when the prosecutor failed to disclose a key witness' psychiatric history (id. ¶ 2); (3) he was denied a fair trial by the prosecutor's failure to disclose a key prosecution witness' criminal history (id. ¶ 3); (4) the prosecutor violated his "constitutional duty to alert the defense and court when one of his witnesses give false testimony" (id. ¶ 4); and (5) he was "subjected to an ineffective assistance of counsel" by counsel's failure to request certain hearings (id. ¶ 5).

  For the reasons set forth below, Williams' petition should be DENIED as time-barred.

  FACTS

  Pre-trial Motions

  Prior to trial, the prosecutor told defense counsel that Abdullah Craft, Williams' uncle and a main prosecution witness, had a violation conviction. (Dkt. Nos. 14-15: Trial Transcript ["Tr."] 218-19.) However, the prosecutor did not disclose the arrest record containing the underlying details of the conviction. (Id.) During trial, defense counsel asked the court to require the prosecutor to turn over this information, arguing:
[The prosecutor] informs me orally that Abdullah [C]raft was found guilty of a violation, he refuses to turn over the print sheet which would reflect the date, the time and the crime for which he was originally arrested as well as possibly a docket number which could be used — which could have been used in advance of trial for me to get the papers, so that I could have questioned him about the underlying facts of his arrest which I would be entitled to do. I don't know what he was arrested for. I've only been given information that he was only convicted of a violation and not a crime.
(Tr. 219-20.)

  The prosecutor responded: "It's my knowledge that I have an obligation to turn over to [defense counsel] convictions of crimes. I went beyond my obligation when I told [defense counsel] that one of the witnesses had been arrested." (Tr. 221.) The judge denied the motion, telling Williams' counsel that "on the basis of the knowledge you now have, in good faith, you can cross-examine since it goes to the issue of credibility. You can cross-examine any of these witnesses on the area of their arrest and convictions." (Tr. 222.)

  The Prosecution's Case at Trial: Overview

  On December 5, 1993, the body of New York City Department of Corrections Officer Anthony Villages was found wrapped in a rug and bound with cable on Lenox Avenue in upper Manhattan. (Leslie: Tr. 230-31, 235.) During the subsequent investigation, police detectives learned that shortly before his death, Villages had told a friend, Rachel Orange, that he was going to meet with a man he met on a train earlier that day named "Dayquan." (Orange: Tr. 186-87.) Before leaving to meet "Dayquan," Villages gave Orange a piece of paper with the address of an apartment near the park where Villages' body was found as well as a telephone number associated with the apartment. (Orange: Tr. 189.)

  Detectives determined that the apartment belonged to the mother of Williams' daughter. (Leslie: Tr. 249-50.) While executing a search warrant at the apartment, police found carpet fibers matching the rug wrapped around Villages' body and wire similar to that used to bind the rug. (Leslie: Tr. 243-44, 246, 248.) They also found three photographs of Williams with the word "Dayquan" written on the back, and Williams' birth certificate. (Leslie: Tr. 244-46, 248-49, 275-76.) Six months later, on May 14, 1994, Williams' uncle Abdullah Craft told police that Williams had evaded police by staying in Craft's apartment, and that during his stay, Williams confessed to killing Villages. (Craft: Tr. 404-06.) Later that day, police arrested Williams and charged him with robbing and murdering Villages. (Court: Tr. 584-87.)

  At trial, the prosecution presented three witnesses who heard Williams confess to killing Villages. Both Craft and his common-law wife Anita Pearson testified that while Williams stayed in their apartment, he repeatedly discussed the killing in graphic detail. (Craft: Tr. 385-88; Pearson: Tr. 494, 502-05.) Kim Beverly, a neighbor with whom Williams had sexual relations, presented similar testimony. (Beverly: Tr. 540-43, 548, 571.)

  Direct Examination of Abdullah Craft

  During his direct examination, the prosecutor questioned Craft about his disciplinary record during his service in the Vietnam War:
Q: And can you tell the jury about the circumstances around which you were court marshalled; what were you charged with and what happened?
A: Well, you know, after I was serving in the bush after several months, there come periods of time when you get paranoid or whatever like that and we had loss a lot of men on one occasion. And you tend to have someone you look up to, what they call a mother or platoon. They kind of support you. And we loss them. I was kind of depressed about that and other little things. And one day I decided I wasn't ready to go back out and I refused to go back out. I was charged with disobeying a direct order.
(Craft: Tr. 367.) Craft testified that after his court-marshal, he served a sentence of four months hard labor in Vietnam and at a naval base in New Hampshire. (Craft: Tr. 368-69.) Craft also testified that on another occasion he was charged with being AWOL for not returning to his unit on time. (Craft: Tr. 369.)
  The prosecutor next asked Craft the first of many questions about his history of mental illness and drug abuse: Craft stated he was first institutionalized after a suicide attempt in 1986 when he was a cocaine addict and was diagnosed with major depression. (Craft: Tr. 373-74.) Craft testified that his drug and alcohol use continued through 1993, when he moved to the Brooklyn apartment where Williams stayed after the murder:
Q: And would it be fair to say that while you were [at the Brooklyn address] you had a heavy crack addiction?
A: Yes.
Q. You smoke[d] a lot of crack, smoked it frequently?
A: I smoked the pipe frequently, not everyday, but enough.
Q: And did you also drink at that time?
A: Sure I drank beer. Every time I had money to buy beer, I would drink beer.
(Craft: Tr. 381-82.)
  Craft testified that in December 1993, his brother Hassan told him that Williams "had a body" and needed to hide in his apartment. (Id. at 382-83.) During his stay, Williams described to Craft his role in the Villages murder:
Q: And in the course of his stay with you and his visit with you at Morgan Avenue did he tell you why he needed to stay at your house? A: Yeah, he told me. I got all the details over a period of time, not necessarily in the sequence that things happen.
Q: What did he tell you?
A: Well, he had told me he had shot a corrections officer.
Q: And did he give you any details as to how that took place?
A: Well, from what he told me was that he had met the officer on the train. I don't know whether he was by himself or not because he never said so. And the officer was taken back to [Williams' girlfriend's] apartment.
. . .
And the officer got — and got in the apartment from what I understand and they, you know — he was sitting at the table and he was fidgeting like he was reaching for something, so he says, and made him a little edgy and he fired a shot in the back of his head.
Q: Who fired a shot?
A: Karsem [Williams].
(Craft: Tr. 386-87.)
  After Craft related detailed statements made by Williams and Williams' friend Eric White*fn1 describing the sequence of events leading to Villages death and the disposal of his body, the prosecutor again returned to the issue of Craft's drug use and mental health:
Q: During [March 1994], would you deceive people to get crack?
A: Yes I would. There was times, basically times I asked for money, I did what I was supposed to do with it. Still boils back to crack because I originally had the money, should have taken care of it so it was still just asking for money for crack.
Q: And would you say that crack was dominating your life at that point?
A: Definitely. Without a doubt.
Q: Now can you tell the jury about how you took your, attempted to take your own life? First of all one or two attempts?
A: There were two attempts.
. . .
Q: What did you do?
A: I cut myself but I didn't cut myself as bad as I knew I could. The second time I was in a very deep episode and you know, I was all for it. I was prepared to go. I opened my arms up really bad, lost a lot of blood. But its hard to explain but its like not facing the situation but that is what it came to.
(Craft: Tr. 399-400.) Craft testified that his second suicide attempt resulted in part from a rumor that Williams "went to bed with [Craft's] common law wife." (Craft: Tr. 400.)

  After Craft returned from the hospital following the second suicide attempt, Williams and Craft's brother Hassan confronted Craft ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.