Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Quashon Miller v. Harold Graham

December 6, 2010

QUASHON MILLER, PETITIONER,
v.
HAROLD GRAHAM, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Gleeson, United States District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

X

Quashon Miller petitions for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Miller challenges his November 2004 conviction in New York State Supreme Court, Kings County, of one count of murder in the second degree. Appearing pro se, Miller seeks habeas relief on the ground that he was denied effective assistance of counsel in the proceedings leading up to his guilty plea. Oral argument was heard on November 18, 2010, at which Miller appeared via videoconference from his place of incarceration. For the reasons stated below, Miller's petition is denied.

BACKGROUND

A. The Offense Conduct

On the morning of June 4, 2003, Miller was in the Brooklyn apartment of Arthur Jones, the victim in this case. Jones attacked Miller, stabbing him in the face with a knife. Miller left the apartment and went to the hospital, where he received stitches in his face. See Tr. at 13-14.*fn1

On his way home from the hospital that evening, Miller decided to return to Jones's apartment to pick up his belongings and give Jones "his money." Id. at 15. On this visit to Jones's apartment, Miller carried with him an automatic handgun, which he had procured from "a guy around my way." Id. Soon after Miller arrived at Jones's apartment and Jones opened the door, Miller shot Jones in the head "once or twice." Id. at 25. Jones died as a result of his gunshot wounds. Id. at 24.

B. Procedural History

1. The Guilty Plea

Miller subsequently was charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25(1), (2), one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, id. § 265.03(2),*fn2 and one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, id. § 265.02(4)*fn3 . On November 7, 2004, one day prior to Miller's plea hearing, Ivan Vogel, Miller's trial counsel, and the prosecutor discussed a possible plea agreement in which Miller would plead guilty to manslaughter in the first degree, carrying a determinate sentence of 20 years' incarceration. However, at the plea hearing on November 8, 2004 before Justice Albert

Tomei of the New York State Supreme Court, Kings County, the prosecutor told the court that, after speaking with the victim's family, he no longer was prepared to offer the plea agreement discussed the day before. Instead, the prosecutor offered Miller a plea to murder in the second degree with an indeterminate sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

The court proceeded with Miller's plea allocution but halted the proceedings several times in light of: (1) Miller's indicating that he had not had enough time to speak to his counsel about the new plea, see Tr. at 3, 6; (2) his statement that he was only "[a] little bit" satisfied with counsel's representation, id. at 8; (3) his statement that he was not giving up his right to appeal voluntarily and of his own free will, id. at 10; and (4) his allusion to a justification defense, i.e., that he had shot Jones in self-defense, id. at 16; see id. at 16-19. With respect to the justification defense, Miller stated that when Jones opened the door on the evening of June 4, 2003, Jones "cut" him and, "when I tried to run away, he tried to cut me again. That's when I shot him." Id. at 16. Justice Tomei then told Miller, "[i]t seems to me you have a viable defense of justification if he attacked you with a knife," and urged Miller to go to trial. Id. Miller stated in response that "I don't think I have a defense because I already know too much about the law," and reiterated his desire to plead guilty. Id. Moments later, Justice Tomei repeated his sentiments regarding the justification defense and the advisability of trial. Id. at 18. He then decided to adjourn the hearing until after the lunch hour "to give the defendant an opportunity to speak to his attorney." Id. at 20.

When the allocution resumed at 2:00 PM, Miller indicated that he wished to plead guilty to the second-degree murder count. In stating what happened on the evening of June 4, 2003, he omitted any reference to Jones's having attacked him with a knife before he shot Jones. See id. at 24-25. Miller told the court that he "shot [Jones] . . . [i]n the neck or face. . . . [o]nce or twice" with the intent to kill him. Id. at ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.