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Blake v. Kirkpatrick

March 4, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gerard E. Lynch, District Judge


Deanie Blake, a New York State prisoner, petitions for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging his conviction, after a jury trial, of sodomy in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree, and resulting sentences totaling twenty-five years to life in prison. Blake argues that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; that a jury instruction noting that a defendant has an interest in the outcome of the case denied him a fair trial; that various counts against him should have been severed; and that his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures was violated by the collection of his DNA while he was a state prisoner, leading to the admission of evidence used against him at trial. As all of Blake's claims are without merit, the petition will be denied.


Blake was tried on charges resulting from two separate incidents. The evidence at trial would support the following findings.

On December 29, 2002, Luz D., a bank teller, returned to her Bronx home in the evening after making a call from a pay telephone. Upon entering her building, she held the door open for Blake, whom she did not know, because she assumed he lived in the building. Both rode up in the elevator, with Blake pressing the button for a higher floor than Luz. When the elevator reached Luz's floor, Blake blocked her exit, displayed a knife, and demanded money on threat of death. When it turned out she had no money, Blake forced Lux at knifepoint to pull down her pants and underpants, manually penetrated her vagina, forced her to touch his penis, and required her to fellate him until he ejaculated in her mouth. He then took her scarf and necklace and left.

Luz returned to her apartment, shaken and crying, and unable to articulate to her roommate what had occurred. Her roommate saw fluid on her sock, and when Luz recovered sufficiently to report that a man with a knife had made her perform oral sex, called the police. Within an hour of the attack, a police officer arrived and collected articles of Luz's clothing, including the sock on which the officer saw "a glob of what was apparently bodily fluid." The clothing was sent for laboratory analysis.

On April 25, 2003, Gwendolyn F., another Bronx resident employed by the State Insurance Fund, arrived at her home after midnight following an after-work party. Blake followed her into the building. As in the earlier incident, he pressed the button for a higher floor than Gwendolyn, and forcibly prevented her from getting off at her floor. Blake pressed a cold object that Gwendolyn believed to be a gun against the back of her neck, and threatened to shoot her. He took a gold earring and $60 from her, and eventually escorted her to a nearby apartment building. There, he pulled down her pants and forcibly inserted his penis into her vagina from behind. After a minute or two, he asked, "what is this stuff all over my shirt?", withdrew, and left the building. Gwendolyn immediately called her sister, who in turn called the police, from a nearby laundromat. The police took her to a hospital, where a rape kit was prepared and sent for laboratory analysis.

The DNA profiles of semen recovered from Luz's sock and Gwendolyn's rape kit matched each other and defendant's DNA profile, obtained from the state's databank of convicted offenders. Police officers arrested Blake, and took an oral DNA sample, which also matched the semen from the two incidents. Both Luz and Gwendolyn separately viewed lineups and identified Blake as their attacker.

Blake testified in his own defense, claiming that he had met Luz (whom he knew as "Lunday" or "Lourdes") in a laundromat, where she told him that she was a prostitute who charged $50 to have sex with men. They met on three subsequent occasions, according to Blake, getting high on liquor and/or marijuana and had oral and vaginal sex, using condoms. The last of these occasions was on the evening of December 29, 2002, when they had vaginal and oral sex in the elevator of Luz's building, again using a condom. Blake reported that he ejaculated into the condom, and threw it to the ground. He claimed that Luz became angry when he only gave her $25.

Blake similarly claimed that he picked up Gwendolyn (who he came to know as "Gin") on the street, and agreed to pay her $50 for sex, but that during their sexual encounter the condom broke and semen dripped onto his pants and Gwendolyn's body. When Gwendolyn saw that Blake had a large amount of cash, she demanded $100, complaining that the burst condom could lead to her becoming pregnant or getting AIDS. When Blake refused to pay more than he had agreed, he said, Gwendolyn became angry and cursed him. On cross-examination, Blake admitted that at the time of his arrest he had not told the officers that he had consensual sex with either woman, but instead told them that he didn't remember "having sex with any girl inside a hallway of a building."

Blake was found guilty of one count of first-degree sodomy for forcing oral sex on Luz D. and one count of first-degree sexual abuse for forcing her to touch his penis. He was acquitted of a sexual abuse count for touching Luz's vagina, and of robbing her, and of all counts involving Gwendolyn F.


Each of Blake's claims -- which incorporate the arguments he made on his direct state appeal -- ...

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