The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seybert, District Judge
Petitioner, Gregory Washington ("Washington" or "Petitioner"), petitions the Court for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons below, the Petition is DENIED.
Washington attacks a conviction entered against him in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Suffolk County, on June 10, 1998.
The underlying crime occurred at 33 Beech Street in Central Islip, Suffolk County, New York sometime between March 25th and March 27th, 1989. Petitioner shot and murdered Joanne Johnson and her two sons, Octavin Toney and Lavar Toney. On March 27, 1989, Suffolk County police detectives investigating the homicide learned that Petitioner shared a residence with Joanne Johnson. The detectives also discovered that Petitioner had recently violated his parole, and that a parole warrant was issued for his arrest. The detectives contacted the District Attorney's Office, and spoke with Homicide Bureau Chief Edward Jablonski ("Chief Jablonski"). Chief Jablonski informed the detectives that harassment and assault charges had been filed against Petitioner because he had recently threatened Joanne Johnson, but the charges had been dismissed. Chief Jablonski further stated that an attorney from the Legal Aid Society ("Legal Aid") stated that he was representing Petitioner on the pending homicide case, for which Petitioner had not yet been charged.
On March 29, 1989, the detectives discovered that Petitioner was in custody pursuant to the parole warrant. The detectives visited Petitioner in custody and informed Petitioner of his Miranda rights; Petitioner stated that he understood his rights and was not currently represented by an attorney.
In light of the fact that the Legal Aid Society had stated a day earlier that they represented Petitioner, the Detectives called Legal Aid to determine whether Petitioner was represented by counsel. Ralph Costello, an attorney with Legal Aid, stated that Legal Aid was not currently representing Petitioner because the prior charges for which they had represented him were dismissed and new charges had not yet been filed. Petitioner spoke with Costello as well, and again informed the detectives that he was not represented by counsel, and stated that he would talk to the detectives on his own accord.
Petitioner was transported to the police department in Yaphank, New York. While in the police vehicle, Petitioner made a number of comments to the detectives, and engaged in a more thorough conversation while at the police station. After again being advised of his constitutional rights, Petitioner memorialized his statements in writing.
Washington was convicted of three counts of Murder in the Second Degree in violation of New York Penal Law § 125.25(1) and one count of Murder in the Second Degree in violation of New York Penal Law § 125.25(3) (Felony Murder). Petitioner was sentenced to consecutive terms of imprisonment of twenty-five years to life on the three intentional murder counts and an additional concurrent term of twenty-five years to life on the felony murder count.
Washington appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Department. On appeal, Washington argued three claims of error. First, Washington claimed that the jury's finding of felony murder was not supported by the evidence because the People had failed to prove that Washington had committed the underlying felony. Second, Washington argued that the People failed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Finally, Washington claimed that his sentence was excessive and should be modified.
On May 5, 2003, the Appellate Division for the Second Department affirmed Washington's conviction. See People v. Washington, 305 A.D. 2d 433, 758 N.Y.S.2d 751 (App. Div. 2d Dep't 2003). The court held that Washington's sentence was not excessive, and found that the evidence at trial was "legally sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt . . . [and] to support the defendant's conviction of felony murder predicated upon the rape of one of the three victims." Id. at 434. The New York State Court of Appeals denied Washington's application for leave to appeal. See People v. Washington, 100 N.Y.2d 588, 796 N.E.2d 491, 764 N.Y.S.2d 399 (2003).
On April 7, 2004, Petitioner filed a motion for a Writ of Error Coram Nobis in the Appellate Division, Second Department. The Appellate Division denied Petitioner's application on July 6, 2004. See People v. Washington, 9 A.D.3d 377, 778 N.Y.S.2d 922 (App. Div. 2d Dep't 2004). On October 27, 2004, Washington filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in this Court. Petitioner raises only one issue in his Petition; he argues that he was denied effective appellate counsel.
I. Federal Habeas Review of State ...