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Ollman v. People

July 19, 2010

LAIGTH A. OLLMAN, PETITIONER,
v.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENT.



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

ORDER

I. Introduction

Petitioner Laigth A. Ollman ("petitioner"), who is represented by counsel, has filed an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his convictions in Steuben County Court. On May 11, 2000, following a jury trial before Judge Peter C. Bradstreet, petitioner was convicted of Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal L. § 120.20), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (N.Y. Penal L. § 265.02(1)), and various infractions under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.*fn1 On May 22, 2000, petitioner pleaded guilty in Steuben County Court to perjury in the First Degree (N.Y. Penal L. § 210.15), also before Judge Bradstreet. Petitioner was adjudicated a second felony offender and was jointly sentenced to an aggregate term of imprisonment of 2 and 1/2 to 5 years.

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

A. State Court Proceedings

Petitioner's reckless endangerment conviction (entered May 11, 2000) arose out of a drunk-driving accident wherein petitioner hit two people with his car while leaving a bar parking lot in the village of Bath, New York. At the time of the indictment for that conviction, petitioner was on probation pursuant to an earlier conviction for second-degree vehicular assault, also entered in Steuben County Court. The prosecution alleged that, due to petitioner's actions the night of the accident, which included alcohol consumption, petitioner had violated the conditions of his probation. The district attorney requested the county court to conduct a violation of probation hearing ("probation hearing"). See Tr. dated 9/13/1999.

Following multiple adjournments so that petitioner could obtain counsel, the probation hearing proceeded at petitioner's request. At that hearing, the prosecution elicited testimony from several witnesses that petitioner had violated the terms of his probation by consuming alcohol. See Probation H'rg Mins. dated 12/6/1999 at 8-45. Petitioner, who represented himself, testified on his own behalf, denying that he drank alcohol on the night of the incident. Id. at 45-52. The court found that petitioner had violated his probation by drinking alcohol. Id. at 61-64. Based on petitioner's testimony at the December 6, 1999 probation hearing, petitioner was charged with first-degree perjury. See Respondent's Exhibits ("Ex.") A. at 139-140.

Five months later, petitioner proceeded to trial on the charges arising out of the automobile accident. The jury returned a guilty verdict on the reckless endangerment and weapon possession charges. He was also found guilty of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. Trial Tr. 401-402. Following that conviction, petitioner appeared with counsel on May 22, 2000, and pleaded guilty to the single perjury charge. Plea Mins. dated 5/22/2000 at 2-3, 7.

On June 5, 2000, petitioner appeared with counsel at a consolidated sentencing hearing with respect to both convictions. The court sentenced petitioner as a second felony offender to 2 to 4 years on the perjury charge and a concurrent, aggregate sentence of 2 1/2 to 5 years on the remaining charges. Sentencing Mins. dated 6/5/2000 at 10-11.

B. Direct Appeal

Through counsel, petitioner appealed both convictions to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, which consolidated the appeals and unanimously affirmed both convictions. People v. Ollman, 309 A.D.2d 1241 (4th Dept. 2003). Leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals was denied on November 25, 2003. People v. Ollman, 1 N.Y.3d 541 (2003).

C. Petition for Habeas Corpus

On November 26, 2004, petitioner filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Dkt. #2), containing over 100, largely undefined claims for habeas relief. The Court then directed petitioner to submit an amended petition containing a more definite statement and appointed counsel to represent and assist petitioner in preparing the amended petition (Dkt ## 21, 23).*fn2 The amended petition (Dkt. #27), filed by counsel on March 11, 2010, alleges that he was deprived of his constitutional right to counsel when he proceeded pro se at his arraignment and the probation hearing. The statements he made during that hearing were made without the advice of counsel, and those statements formed the basis for the perjury ...


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