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Myrick v. Demarco

February 19, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Seybert, District Judge


Petitioner Dwayne Myrick commenced this action seeking a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the foregoing reasons, Mr. Myrick's petition is DENIED.


On September 5, 2002, uniformed Suffolk County Police Officers Brian Kopke and Carmine Coppola responded to a domestic violence complaint at 351 State Avenue, Wyandanch, New York. Resp. Answer ¶ 4. Arriving around noon, the officers met with Petitioner's sister-in-law, Myka Adul. Id. Ms. Adul told the officers that Petitioner had gotten into a domestic disturbance with his wife that culminated in Petitioner slapping or hitting her. Id. As the officers spoke with Ms. Adul, a brown car drove towards them on the street. Id. at ¶ 5. Ms. Adul identified the car as Petitioner's, and the officers began to run towards it. Id. Upon seeing the police coming, the car made a u-turn and drove in the opposite direction. Id. The officers then got in their car, put on the overhead lights and pursued Petitioner's vehicle. Id.

Eventually, Petitioner stopped driving. Id. at ¶ 6. Exiting his car, Petitioner screamed at the officers "Mother fucker, it will take all of you to take me on." Id. Petitioner then pushed Officer Kopke. Id. In response, Officer Kopke attempted to arrest Petitioner. Id. But, rather than comply with Officer Kopke's instructions, Petitioner clasped his hands together and started screaming. Id. Eventually, the officers wrestled Petitioner to the ground and successfully arrested him.

On January 31, 2003, Petitioner was convicted of: (1) one count of Disorderly Conduct; (2) two counts of Resisting Arrest; and (3) one count of Harassment in the second degree. Id. at ¶ 3. Petitioner's Disorderly Conduct and Harassment convictions are violations. See N.Y. Penal Law §§ 240.20, 240.26. His Resisting Arrest conviction is a class A misdemeanor. See N.Y. Penal Law § 205.30. On December 29, 2005, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed Petitioner's conviction. See 814 N.Y.S.2d 564 (Table), 2005 WL 3620673. On February 27, 2006, the New York Court of Appeals denied Petitioner leave to appeal. 6 N.Y.3d 816.

Petitioner then commenced this petition, contending that his convictions: (1) violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; (2) his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury; and (3) his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.*fn1


I. Federal Habeas Review of State Convictions

Petitioner filed this action after the April 24, 1996, effective date of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Accordingly, AEDPA's provisions apply to his case. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 402, 120 S.Ct. 1479, 1518, 146 L.Ed. 2d 389 (2000). Under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), a habeas corpus application must be denied unless the state court's adjudication on the merits "resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States," or "resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). This deferential review is applied as long as the "federal claim has been 'adjudicated on the merits' by the state court." Cotto v. Herbert, 331 F.3d 217, 231 (2d Cir. 2003). "A state court adjudicates a petitioner's federal constitutional claims on the merits when it

(1) disposes of the claim on the merits, and (2) reduces its disposition to judgment." Norde v. Keane, 294 F.3d 401, 410 (2d Cir. 2002) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

"Clearly established federal law refers to the holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of the Supreme Court's decisions as of the time of the relevant state-court decision." Howard v. Walker, 406 F.3d 114, 122 (2d Cir. 2005) (internal citations and quotations omitted). A decision is "contrary to" established federal law if it either "applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in" a Supreme Court case, or it "confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme Court] and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [their] precedent." Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792, 121 S.Ct. 1910, 150 L.Ed. 2d 9 (2001). A decision is an "unreasonable application of" clearly established Supreme Court precedent if it "correctly identifies the governing legal rule but applies it unreasonably to the facts of a particular prisoner's case." Penry, 532 U.S. at 792. Accordingly, "a federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly. Rather that application must also be unreasonable." Williams, 529 U.S. at 411.

"[A] determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct." 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254(e)(1). As a result, Petitioner bears the burden of "rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence." Id. This is "particularly important when reviewing the trial court's assessment of ...

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