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Louis Martina v. David A. Rock

May 10, 2011

LOUIS MARTINA, PETITIONER,
v.
DAVID A. ROCK 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 Louis Martina ("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 October 21, 2005, in New York State, Supreme Court, Erie County, convicting him, after a jury trial, of three counts of Rape in the First Degree (N.Y. Penal Law ("Penal Law") § 130.35 [4]), one count of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree (Penal Law § 130.50 [4]), one count of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree (Penal Law § 130.75 [1][b]), one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree (Penal Law § 260.10 [1]), and one count of Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree (Penal Law § 240.53 [3][a]). Petitioner was sentenced as a second violent felony offender to five consecutive terms of twenty-five years imprisonment.

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

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

In the spring of 2003, E.R. ("E.R" or "the victim") was approaching her ninth birthday, and E.R.'s mother, Rhonda Taylor ("Taylor"), met Petitioner on a chat line. Petitioner started visiting Taylor's home where E.R. lived with her mother. In the summer of 2003, Petitioner moved into Taylor's home. E.R. had never met her biological father, and Taylor had not seen him since she became pregnant with E.R. After Petitioner moved into Taylor's home, E.R. began calling him "dad." Trial Trans. [T.T.] 312, 407-410.

Petitioner lived at Taylor's home for approximately two years. In October of 2004, Petitioner's relationship with Taylor ended and he moved out of her home and into the home of Sharon Hall ("Hall"), a friend of Taylor's. T.T. 414. Sometime during that same month, Petitioner called Taylor and told her that he needed help moving boxes at Hall's home. Taylor went to Hall's home with E.R. and E.R.'s little brother. Petitioner told E.R.'s brother to go outside and rake the backyard. While E.R.'s brother was outside, Petitioner had sexual intercourse with E.R. in one of the bedrooms of the house. He also put his penis in her mouth. T.T. 306-307.

On November 17, 2004, while E.R. was waiting for the bus to take her to school, Petitioner appeared on the corner and told her to go to Hall's home. E.R. walked to Hall's home and went inside. There, Petitioner had sexual intercourse with E.R. in a bedroom and, afterwards, put his penis in her mouth. T.T. 303-304. E.R. testified at trial that Petitioner "sometimes" used a condom when having sex with her. He also used a rubber glove. T.T. 305.

On November 18, 2004, E.R. was walking to school and passed by Hall's home. Petitioner invited her to come inside the house. E.R. did and, when inside, Petitioner asked her if she wanted her little brother's father out of her mother's home. E.R. told Petitioner that she did because she was scared. T.T. 298. Petitioner gave E.R. a clipboard with paper on it and told her to write a note claiming that her little brother's father was sexually abusing her. T.T. 299. The claims in this note were untrue. T.T. 301. After writing the note, E.R. gave it to Petitioner. T.T. 300. The two then went upstairs into a bedroom. Petitioner had E.R. lay on the bed, and he proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her. After Petitioner finished, he went into the bathroom. E.R. put her pants on and left for school. T.T. 302-303. Later that same morning, Petitioner took the note to the Gowanda Police station and gave it to Officer Mark Baltes. Officer Baltes then contacted Officer Jen Alessi, who was the school resource officer at Gowanda Elementary and Middle Schools. That afternoon, Petitioner was given a ride to the police station so that police could speak with him about the note. T.T. 371-372, 427. Officer Baltes spoke with Petitioner about the note and Petitioner then left the police station. About an hour later, at the request of the police, Petitioner returned, by patrol car, to the police station. There, Officer Alessi conducted an interview regarding the victim's note that he had provided earlier to Officer Baltes. T.T. 374-375, 430. Officer Alessi read Petitioner his Miranda rights and he waived them. T.T. 434. Officer Alessi then set the note that E.R. had written before Petitioner and indicated to him that E.R. had said she was forced to write the note. T.T. 434. Petitioner began to cry and, without prompting, Petitioner remarked that "there was no forensic evidence with sodomy." T.T. 435-437. At the time this interview was conducted, Officer Alessi was unaware of any allegation of a sodomy against E.R., nor was she informed of E.R.'s disclosure of sexual abuse until the following day (November 19, 2003). T.T. 437. About twenty minutes later, Petitioner was arrested and charged with various misdemeanors. Hr'g Mins. [H.M.] 22-23. Subsequently, Petitioner was arrested and charged with the sexual abuse of E.R. H.M. 25, 31.

At trial, E.R. testified that Petitioner had begun sexually abusing her about a month or two after he had moved into her mother's home. During the period he moved in until just before he moved out, Petitioner made E.R. have sex with him "like every other day or maybe everyday." T.T. 308. Eventually, E.R. told her mother about the abuse. Her mother then called the police, and Officer Alessi of the Gowanda Police Department came to see E.R.

Thereafter, Officer Alessi took E.R. to the hospital where an examination was performed on her.*fn1 T.T. 310. At trial, E.R. testified that she had not disclosed the sexual abuse to anyone because she was afraid Petitioner would hurt her. Petitioner had threatened to kill her and her mother, and told her that her brothers would be sent to foster care. T.T. 311.

Prior to trial, the defense moved to suppress Petitioner's statement to police. A Huntley hearing was conducted on June 17, 2005, and the court denied Petitioner's motion to suppress. H.M. 41.

A jury trial was conducted on July 18, 19, and 20, 2005 before the Hon. Ronald H. Tills, and Petitioner was found guilty, as charged, of three counts of Rape in the First Degree, one count of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, one count of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree, one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree, and one count of Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree. Subsequently, he was sentenced as a second violent felony offender to five consecutive terms of twenty-five years imprisonment. Sentencing Mins. [S.M.] 7-8.

On February 8, 2008, the Appellate Division, Fourth Department ("Fourth Department") unanimously affirmed Petitioner's judgment ofconviction, and leave to appeal was denied. People v. Martina, 48 A.D.3d 1271 (4th Dep't 2008); lv. denied, 10 N.Y.3d 961 (2008).

No collateral motions were filed.

This habeas corpus petition followed, wherein Petitioner seeks relief on the following grounds:*fn2 (1) the verdict was against the weight of the evidence; (2) ineffective assistance of trial counsel; (3) the trial court erred by refusing to release the victim's psychological records; (4) Petitioner's statement to police was involuntary and therefore should have been suppressed; and (5) his ...


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