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Blie v. Artus

December 22, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joanna Seybert, U.S.D.J.



Petitioner Richard Blie ("Petitioner") seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner alleges that his constitutional right to a fair trial was violated because "the trial court erroneously instructed the jury that Petitioner's [confession] may not be received into evidence unless such statement was voluntarily made." (Petition p. 6.) Petitioner argues that this instruction created an inference that the question of voluntariness had already been decided. For the reasons below, Petitioner's writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.


Petitioner seeks to vacate his Suffolk County, New York conviction of two counts of Murder in the Second Degree, and one count of Attempted Murder in the First Degree. A judgment of conviction was entered on March 17, 1999. Petitioner was sentenced to three indeterminate sentences of twenty-five years to life; the first two counts to run consecutively with the third for an aggregate total of fifty years.

On February 18, 2003, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the trial court's judgment of conviction. See People v. Blie, 755 N.Y.S.2d 265 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep't 2003). On July 16, 2003 the New York Court of Appeals denied petitioners application for leave to appeal. See People v. Blie, 100 N.Y.2d 579 (2003). This petition timely followed on September 15, 2004.

Thereafter, on December 13, 2005, Petitioner asked the Court to stay his petition while Petitioner returned to state court to exhaust his claims. The Court granted Petitioner's request on that same day. On October 31, 2007, the Court received a letter from Petitioner requesting that the Court reinstate his Petition; accordingly, the case was re-opened, and the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is again pending before the Court.


On September 27, 1997, Petitioner and two accomplices robbed an armored van and shot two guards, killing one. On January 16, 1998, Petitioner was arrested, advised of his constitutional rights, and taken to the homicide squad for questioning.

At the time of the crime, Petitioner was a former employee of Patriot Armored Car Service ("Patriot"). Patriot was responsible for various money pick-ups, transfers, and drop-offs, which were done in armor-plated vans. On Friday nights, employees made numerous pick-ups and drop-offs on Route 26, in Suffolk County, Long Island ("Route 26"). The second to last stop on Route 26 was Tanger Outlet, and the last stop was the Suffolk County National Bank ("SCNB") in Riverhead, Long Island.

During his tenure with Patriot, Petitioner worked the Route 26 drive on at least one occasion with Joseph Micieli, Jr. ("Micieli Jr."), the son of one of the Patriot employees wounded during the robbery.*fn1 On the night of the robbery, Micieli Jr. was working as a dispatcher, while Joseph Micieli, Sr. ("Micieli Sr."), was working as an armed courier on Route 26 with Andre Herring ("Herring"). At approximately 11:40 p.m., Herring telephoned Micieli Jr. and informed him that he was having difficulty rearming the alarm at Tanger Outlet. Approximately ten minutes later, Micieli Jr. heard his father say on the radio that he had been shot. Micieli Jr. called 911 from the dispatch office, and drove to Central Suffolk Hospital, where his father was being treated in the emergency room.

In the emergency room, Micieli Sr. told his son that three men wearing masks emerged from the bushes at the SCNB.*fn2 Micieli Sr. testified during the trial that three men came at him in a row, the shortest being on the left and the tallest man being on the right. He further testified that all three men were of African-American descent, and that the tallest perpetrator tried to kill him.*fn3 Micieli, Sr. was shot a total of six times, with two shots fired at point-blank range. Herring was shot and killed. After the shooting subsided, Micieli Sr. heard the men moving the milk crates inside the armored truck that the Patriot employees used to carry money. When he thought the men had left, Micieli Sr. called the dispatcher to report the incident.

On October 17, 1997, "Crime Stoppers" received an anonymous tip from a female who indicated that she knew someone involved in the robbery. The caller stated that she knew a woman named Barbara Brown ("Brown") and her daughter Shavetta, and that Shavetta was married to a man named Richard, who was a former security guard. According to the caller, Shavetta and her husband, a man named Richard, had recently spent a large amount of money on cars, which led the caller to believe that Richard was involved in the robbery. On October 20, 1997, the same anonymous person called again, and this time disclosed Petitioner's full name, address, and the license plate to Petitioner's wife's new car.

The police department traced the anonymous caller to a woman named Rene Talley ("Talley"). A subsequent interview with Talley revealed that Brown, Petitioner's mother-in-law, told some of her neighbors that Petitioner was involved in a robbery and that Brown was angry because Petitioner spent approximately $40,000.00 on new cars for himself and his wife, and only spent $3,000.00 on Brown. An investigation of the robbery and murder resulted in evidence that Petitioner had made several large cash purchases following the crime.*fn4

Petitioner was arrested on January 16, 1998, taken to Suffolk County police headquarters, placed in an interview room, and questioned by Detectives Douglas Mercer and Anthony Laghezza. During this interview, Petitioner confessed to being present at the scene of the robbery, ...

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