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McLee v. Bradt

June 11, 2010

ROBERT D. MCLEE, PETITIONER,
v.
MARK BRADT, SUPERINTENDENT, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. Mcavoy Senior, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. BACKGROUND

The state court records provided to this Court reflect that on April 30, 2003, Officer Patrick VanSlyke of the Syracuse Police Department was on patrol in the City of Syracuse, New York with his partner, Officer John Fay. See Transcript of Trial of Robert D. McLee (12/8/03) ("Trial Tr.") at p. 833. At approximately 9:20 p.m. that evening, Officer VanSlyke received a radio dispatch indicating that shots had been fired at the Rolling Green Estates apartment complex on East Fayette Street in the City of Syracuse. Id. at pp. 833-834. Officers VanSlyke and Fay proceeded to that location, where they observed people running from a building from which shots had purportedly been fired. Id. at p. 835. As the officers approached the back of a building located in the complex, they discovered a young man, later identified as Alejandro Rodriguez, lying face down on a sidewalk next to the building. Id. at pp. 836-37. Rodriguez did not respond to Officer VanSlyke when he called out to him, and the officer thereafter discovered that Rodriguez had no pulse and appeared to have been shot in his back. Id. As Officer VanSlyke was requesting an ambulance for Rodriguez, a number of people began shouting at him that more shots had been fired and that there were more victims of gunfire. Id. at p. 837. Soon thereafter, two males burst through a door of an apartment in the complex, and the officer discovered that one of those individuals, Jose Padilla, had been shot multiple times. Id. at pp. 838-39. In addition to the foregoing victims, it was also determined that as a result of the shooting at the Rolling Green Estates complex on April 30, 2003, Joshua Harper sustained a "grazing" bullet wound to his hand (id. at p. 1332); a bullet had traveled through the pant's leg of Arnaldo Sanchez (id. at pp. 1238-39) and Cedric Harper sustained a gunshot wound to his right foot. Id. at p. 1080.

During the course of their investigation, the police interviewed Michael Wallace and Ernest Shaw, both of whom implicated petitioner, pro se Robert D. McLee in the shooting. Id. at pp. 1495-1500, 1682-92. After McLee had been identified as a potential suspect, he was taken into custody, and, after having waived his Miranda rights,*fn1 he was questioned by law enforcement agents about the April 30, 2003 shooting. During that questioning, McLee initially claimed that he was home the entire evening of April 30, 2003, with his mother and his sister, Sabrina Ishmail, except for a brief period of time lasting approximately five minutes. Trial Tr. at pp. 1844-45. Officer Edward MacBlane described the substance of his conversation with McLee regarding his alibi as follows:

The Prosecution: Okay. During the course of your conversation with [McLee], did you discuss any further the issue of his alibi?

Officer MacBlane: At times we had taken breaks and I was able to talk to other Detectives who were interviewing Sabrina Ishmail.

The Prosecution: And she being whom?

Officer MacBlane: The sister of Mr. McLee.

The Prosecution: Okay. And did you learn some information that was being provided by Miss Ishmail?

Officer MacBlane: Yes, I had learned that --

[Defense Counsel]: Objection.

The Court: Sustained.

The Prosecution: As a result of gaining that information, did you go back and continue to talk to Mr. McLee?

Officer MacBlane: Yes, I did.

The Prosecution: And do you recall what you said to Mr. McLee about that?

Officer MacBlane: I asked him --

[Defense Counsel]: Objection.

The Court: No. Overruled.

[Defense Counsel]: May I approach.

(Discussion held off the record at the Bench).

The Court: Go back and ask your question again.

The Prosecution: Detective, can you explain what you said to the defendant?

[Defense Counsel]: Objection, Judge.

The Court: What he said to the defendant.

[Defense Counsel]: May I approach again, Judge.

(Discussion held off the record at the Bench).

The Court: You may continue, Mr. DeMartino.

The Prosecution: Can you tell us what you told the defendant regarding the ...


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