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Murphy v. Kirkpatrick

August 9, 2010

ROLAND MURPHY, A/K/A ROLAND REDDICK, PETITIONER,
v.
ROBERT A. KIRKPATRICK, 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 Roland Murphy, a/k/a Roland Reddick ("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 November 15, 2004, in New York State, County Court, Erie County, convicting him, after a jury trial, of Murder in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal Law ("Penal Law") § 125.25 [3]) and two counts of Attempted Robbery in the First Degree (Penal Law §§ 110.00, 160.15 [1], [2]).

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

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

The charges arose out an of an incident that occurred on May 30, 2003 in the City of Buffalo, New York, wherein Petitioner shot and killed Michael Prince ("Prince" or "the victim") while attempting to rob him.

On the day of the murder, Petitioner met up with co-defendant Wilbert Maxwell ("Maxwell") and Edgar McClellan ("McClellan") and discussed robbing Prince, an unlicensed taxi driver who sold cigarettes in the neighborhood. Petitioner asked Maxwell to act as a look-out for police and told McClellan to lure Prince to the area. Petitioner chose himself as the individual who would rob Prince when Prince arrived. McClellan handed Petitioner a gun and left. Shortly thereafter, Prince arrived in his vehicle with McClellan in the passenger street. The vehicle came to a stop, and McClellan exited the vehicle and ran away. Petitioner approached the driver's side door, pointed the gun at Prince, and demanded money. Prince refused, a struggle ensued, and the gun went off while it was in Petitioner's hands. Petitioner ran away. Prince, in an attempt to drive away, crashed into a parked car. It was later determined that a gun shot wound to Prince's left shoulder caused his death. Trial Trans. [T.T.] 724-725, 730-743, 745, 749, 895.

Approximately five months later on October 16, 2003, two officers from the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority ("BMHA") arrived at 59A Willert Park Complex in response to a call of a burglary in progress. T.T. 693. The BMHA officers entered apartment 59A without a warrant. Petitioner and Maxwell were inside the apartment smoking marijuana, and the police arrested them for drug possession. T.T. 771.

In response to a "Be-On-The-Lookout" issued by the Buffalo Police Department, the BMHA officers took Petitioner and Maxwell to the Major Case Squad for questioning relative to the shooting of Prince. Petitioner was read and waived his Miranda rights. He eventually confessed to police that he caused Prince's death while attempting to rob him. T.T. 693-694, 698-699, 812, 862.

On December 8, 2003, Petitioner was indicted by an Erie County Grand Jury and charged with murder in the second degree and two counts of attempted robbery in the first degree.

Prior to the trial, a Huntley hearing*fn1 was held, wherein the trial court determined that Petitioner's statements to police were voluntary and admissible at trial. Hearing Mins. [H.M.] 70-71.

A jury trial was held before the Honorable Michael F. Pietruszka from September 8 to September 16, 2004. Petitioner was found guilty as charged and sentenced to an indeterminate term of imprisonment of 25 years to life for the murder count and fifteen year determinate terms for the attempted robbery counts, all ordered to be served concurrently. A five year period of post-release supervision was also imposed.

The Appellate Division, Fourth Department unanimously affirmed Petitioner's judgment of conviction on September 28, 2007. People v. Murphy, 43 A.D.3d 1334 (4th Dept. 2007); lv. denied, 9 N.Y.3d 1037.

Petitioner filed a motion to vacate the judgment of conviction, pursuant to N.Y. Crim. Proc. L. ("C.P.L.") ยง 440.10, on the grounds of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. That motion was denied by the county court on February 7, 2007. See Mem. and Order of the Erie County Court (Hon. Michael F. Pietruszka), Ind. No. 04926-2003, dated 02/07/07 (Resp't Ex. D). Leave to appeal was denied by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department on June 22, 2007. See Decision ...


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