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Harrison v. Conway

May 10, 2010

CALEAF HARRISON, PETITIONER,
v.
JAMES T. CONWAY, SUPERINTENDENT, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Pro se Petitioner Caleaf Harrison ("Petitioner") has filed a timely petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the constitutionality of his custody pursuant to a judgment entered December 10, 2002, in New York State, Supreme Court, Monroe County, convicting him, after a jury trial, of two counts of Burglary in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal Law ("Penal Law") § 140.25 [2]) and three counts of Petit Larceny (Penal Law § 155.25).

For the reasons stated below, habeas relief is denied and the petition is dismissed.

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

The charges arise from two separate burglaries that occurred, respectively, on February 14, 2002 and April 17, 2002, in the City of Rochester, New York.

A. The Reeves Road Property

On February 14, 2002, Petitioner unlawfully entered the home of Marie and Christopher Hildreth located at 487 Reeves Road in Rochester, New York.

Donald Neufeglise ("Neufeglise"), the Hildreths' neighbor, returned home from work at approximately 10:40 a.m. and noticed a red Buick with a little girl in the back seat parked in his driveway. Trial Transcript [T.T.] 232-233. Neufeglise recorded the vehicle's license plate number. He then observed Petitioner walking from the front of the Hildreths' home carrying a radio. T.T. 235-236. Petitioner told Neufeglise that he was returning the radio to the Hildreths, but that they were not home. T.T. 236. Neufeglise later gave police a verbal description of Petitioner and his vehicle, as well as his license plate number. T.T. 266. Neufeglise also picked Petitioner out of a line-up held after police apprehended Petitioner. T.T. 243-244, 423.

When the Hildreths returned home several hours after the incident, they noticed that their sliding glass door was wide open and items inside the home were out of place and unplugged. T.T. 210-211. They also saw fresh footprints in the snow that circled around the outside of the property, and did not match any person authorized to be on their property that day. T.T. 146, 228.

When investigators spoke to Petitioner about the burglary, he initially denied involvement, but later stated that he "couldn't go through this anymore," that he had a girlfriend with three children who was always asking for money, and then started to cry. T.T. 452-454.

B. The Pinnacle Road Property

On April 17, 2002, Petitioner unlawfully entered the home of Elizabeth Flood ("Flood") at 473 Pinnacle Road in the City of Rochester, New York.

On the date of the incident, Flood left her home at approximately 11:20 a.m. and returned at approximately 3:00 p.m. When she returned, Flood noticed that items were unplugged in her home and her 32-inch Sony flat screen television with remote control was missing. T.T. 310-311. The master bathroom window was open and the screen was torn. T.T. 311. Investigators lifted two latent fingerprints from the exterior side of the window frame on the master bathroom window. One print could not be identified due to a lack of characteristics and the other was identified as Petitioner's right thumb. T.T. 402.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. that same day, Petitioner entered a pawnshop in Rochester and tried to sell a 32-inch Sony flat screen television with remote control. T.T. 338, 341. Petitioner brought the television to the pawnshop in the trunk of a red Buick. T.T. 339. The attendant at the pawnshop, Lance Kunzer ("Kunzer"), verified Petitioner's identification by his New York State Learner's Permit. T.T. 325. Kunzer could not locate the serial number of the television so he opened the back of it to see if the serial number was written on the inside. After Kunzer had done so, Petitioner indicated that he did not want to sell the television because it might be stolen. T.T. 339.

C. Indictment, Trial and Sentencing

Petitioner was indicted and charged with four counts of Burglary in the Second Degree and ...


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