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Bridgefourth v. Artus

December 10, 2007

PAUL BRIDGEFOURTH, PETITIONER,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT ARTUS, RESPONDENT



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

DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Petitioner Paul Bridgefourth ("Bridgefourth" or "petitioner") has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his conviction in New York State Supreme Court (Erie County) following a jury trial of three counts of robbery in the first degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 160.15(4)). The parties have consented to disposition of this matter by a magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1).

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

On July 6, 2000, Aileen Rodriguez ("Rodriguez") and Nicholas Martinelli ("Martinelli") were working together at a Wilson Farms store. T.31.*fn1 Rodriguez testified that she was helping Martinelli cash out a long line of customers. After all of the customers were gone, Bridgefourth approached the register and told Martinelli to hand over all of the money. T.32. Rodriguez recalled that Bridgefourth was holding a small chrome gun underneath a yellow plastic bag from either Rite Aid or Fay's. T.33-34. Rodriguez stated that she was standing about three feet away from Bridgefourth, who was not concealing his face. T.48-49. Rodriguez testified that after Martinelli turned over the money in his cash register, Rodriguez handed Bridgefourth over $100 from her register. T.34. Bridgefourth put the money in the yellow bag and left the store. T.35. Rodriguez testified that she subsequently identified petitioner from a photo array. T.44-46, 49-52.

Martinelli, the other store clerk, testified that on July 6, 2000, he was working with Rodriguez and manager Kevin Brown ("Brown"). T.56-57. According to Martinelli, Bridgefourth pointed a small pistol at him and told him to turn over all the money in his register.

T.57,

60. Martinelli stated that he was two feet away from Bridgefourth, whose face was not covered.

T.58-59. Martinelli recalled that Bridgefourth put the money in a Fay's bag and left the store.

T.60.

Brown then called the police. When they arrived, Martinelli viewed a security videotape and was able to identify petitioner. T.62. Martinelli also identified petitioner from a photographic array, T.77-78, and during a lineup procedure, T.63-65.

The prosecution presented testimony from Amanda Fursback ("Fursback") regarding the second robbery which occurred on July 11, 2000, at a Red Apple Kwik Fill store. That day, Fursback was working alone when Bridgefourth entered the store with a gun in his hand and told her to put all of the money in a plastic bag. T.116-17. After Fursback complied with petitioner's demand, he left the store. T.117.

Prior to trial, Fursback identified petitioner from a lineup. T.120-121. During trial, Fursback made an in-court identification of petitioner, T.118-19, and also identified him after watching a security videotape taken at the store at the time of the robbery, T.131-38. Fursback was shown some pictures by the police from which she was not able to make an identification, but there is no indication whether petitioner's whether petitioner's picture was included. T. 151-53.

The jury returned a verdict convicting Bridgefourth as charged . He was sentenced to a determinate term of ...


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