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Lucius v. Filion

May 23, 2006

SHON R. LUCIUS, PETITIONER,
v.
GARY H. FILION, SUPERINTENDENT, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR E. Bianchini United States Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Shon R. Lucius ("Lucius") has filed a petition for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 seeking review of his conviction in Monroe County Court on March 4, 1998, on one count of second degree (intentional) murder. The parties have consented to disposition of this matter by the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Johnnie Mae Murray ("Murray") was last seen alive at approximately 12:30 a.m. on June 13, 1997, by some friends who said that she stopped by their house for a few beers, stayed for about forty-five minutes, and then drove away in her red Dodge Caravan. When Murray had not returned home by the next evening, her common law husband called the police and reported her missing.

Two days later, the police found the Dodge Caravan abandoned on Wadsworth Street with several of its windows broken. A pink blouse and a pair of panties covered in human excrement were found in the van. Murray's body was found floating face-down in the Genesee River on June 19, 1997. A bed sheet was wrapped around her neck and she had no clothing below her waist. The cause of her death was strangulation.

On June 26, 1997, the police received a tip from a person named Anthony Martin ("Martin"), who said that a friend of his named "Shon" (Lucius) confessed to having killed Murray. One day, while driving with Lucius in a red Dodge Caravan that Martin recognized as belonging to Murray, Lucius told Martin, "I strangled that bitch and she shitted [sic] on herself." Martin related that he and Lucius sold drugs together, and Murray was one of Lucius's customers.

Martin agreed to wear a transmitter and record conversations with Lucius. On June 30, 1997, while laughing and listening to music, Lucius talked freely with Martin about how and why he killed Murray. Lucius was arrested on August 8, 1997, when he was observed driving a stolen car that had been used in a robbery the night before.*fn1

At Lucius's trial on the charges relating to the murder of Murray and the theft of her minivan, the key witness was Martin. Another witness, who described himself as a friend of the defendant, testified that Lucius gave him a ride to Churchville in a red Dodge Caravan on June 15, 1997, two days after Murray had been reported missing. The prosecution also admitted the audiotapes of the conversations between Martin and Lucius, in which Lucius made numerous admissions regarding the homicide. Lucius did not testify at trial.

The jury returned a verdict convicting Lucius of murder and criminal possession of stolen property and acquitting him of grand larceny. The trial court set aside the criminal possession conviction as being unsupported by the evidence. Lucius was sentenced to twenty-five years to life on the murder conviction.

The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, of New York State Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Lucius's conviction on direct appeal. The New York Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal.

In his federal habeas petition, Lucius asserts several claims relating to the denial of his right to testify before the grand jury and that appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to argue that petitioner was deprived of his right to testify before the grand jury. See generally Petitioner's Traverse (Docket #7-2). For the reasons set forth below, habeas relief is denied and the petition is dismissed.

ANALYSIS

1. Claims Relating to Defects in the Grand ...


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