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Alton Davis v. Superintendent Clinton Correctional Facility

August 4, 2011


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


I. Introduction

Pro se Petitioner Alton Davis ("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 22, 2007, in New York State, Supreme Court, Erie County (Hon. Russell P. Buscaglia), convicting him, after a jury trial, of two counts of Assault in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal Law ("Penal Law") §§ 120.05 [1], [2]); Rape in the First Degree (Penal Law § 130.35 [1]), Robbery in the First Degree (Penal Law § 160.15 [3]), and Robbery in the Second Degree (Penal Law § 160.10 [2][a]). Petitioner was subsequently sentenced as a persistent violent felony offender to an indeterminate term of imprisonment of 25 years to life.

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

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

Under Indictment No. 00121-2007, Petitioner was charged with two counts of Assault in the Second Degree (Penal Law §§ 120.05 [1], [2]), Rape in the First Degree (Penal Law § 130.35 [1]), Robbery in the First Degree (Penal Law § 160.15 [3]), Robbery in the Second Degree (Penal Law § 160.10 [2][a]), and two counts of Burglary in the First Degree (Penal Law §§ 140.30 [2],[3]). See Ind. No. 00121-2007 dated 02/09/07 at Resp't Ex. A.

In the summer of 2006, Wanda Young ("Young" or "the victim") and Petitioner met at a used furniture store where they were both working at the time. T.T. 397-399. Young and Petitioner began spending time together outside of the workplace, and Young would invite Petitioner to her apartment where she lived alone. T.T. 399, 401. In the fall of 2006, Petitioner, whom Young considered a friend, moved into Young's apartment. Young and Petitioner agreed that Petitioner would rent one of the two bedrooms and pay half of the rent, which amounted to $132.50 per month. T.T. 558. After he moved in, Petitioner began asking Young for sex. Young refused Petitioner's requests. On two separate occasions, Petitioner offered Young money for sex, and Young, who agreed to have sex with him both times, received $10 on each occasion.*fn1

Despite their sexual episodes, Young regarded Petitioner as her roommate and not her boyfriend. T.T. 403, 406, 499, 504, 510.

Petitioner paid his share of the rent for the month of October, but paid nothing for November or December. In early January 2007, Petitioner gave Young $200 for back-rent. T.T. 406-409.

On January 5, 2007 at around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., Young used marijuana and crack cocaine with a male friend at her apartment. A few hours later, on January 6, 2007, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Petitioner returned to the apartment, and Young introduced Petitioner to her friend as her roommate. Young's friend left the apartment. After the friend left, Petitioner looked at Young "like something was wrong." T.T. 410-412. Because she was frightened by the manner in which Petitioner looked at her, Young left the apartment with the intention of staying at a girlfriend's house. Young's girlfriend refused to let Young stay with her, and Young returned to her apartment around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. Young went to her bedroom and began to undress. Shortly thereafter, Petitioner, who was in the kitchen, asked Young why she had eaten his candy bar which has been in the refrigerator. Petitioner then walked into Young's bedroom and the two engaged in an argument at which time Young told Petitioner that he "was not [her] man." T.T. 412-414. Thereafter, Petitioner punched Young on both sides of her face. Young fell backwards onto her bed. Petitioner then got on top of Young and repeatedly continued to punch her with both fists on both sides of her face. Young turned over onto her stomach, and lifted her arms and hands to protect her face. Petitioner continued to punch Young, and then pushed her face into the mattress. Young moved her right arm so she could reposition herself, at which time Petitioner grabbed her arm, braced it with his body, told Young he was going to break her arm, and then snapped it, breaking her arm. T.T. 414-418. Young immediately began screaming from the pain. T.T. 419. Petitioner then grabbed a chair and placed it in the doorway to block Young from exiting the room. Young pleaded with Petitioner to let her call an ambulance. Petitioner told Young he could reset her arm, stating, "I know where it popped out. I know where I broke it, right at your elbow." Petitioner then forcefully jerked Young's arm downward, causing her extreme pain. T.T. 420-421. The downstairs neighbor, Eddie Atkinson ("Atkinson"), heard the victim screaming, but went back to sleep after the screaming stopped. T.T. 567.

Petitioner then stood in front of the victim and stated, "[s]ince I'm not going to get no sex no more, you might as well pull off your clothes and let me get some now." T.T. 421-422. The victim, who was scared and in pain, told Petitioner she would let him do anything so long as she could get to the hospital. Young did not physically resist Petitioner. Petitioner took Young's clothes off, climbed on top of her, and engaged in sexual intercourse with her. T.T. 423-424.

Petitioner then dressed himself, and helped the victim with her clothes. Petitioner took the money that he had given Young for the back-rent, which was on her night-stand, and walked with her downstairs. He gave the victim her cell phone and told her to call 911. Young did so while Petitioner stood next to her. Young told 911 personnel that she "fell down drunk and broke [her] arm." T.T. 424-425, 552.

The victim was taken to the hospital, and her broken arm was put in a brace. She was given pain medication, told to return in two weeks, and then released. Young went to have her prescription filled and then returned home. When she returned to her apartment, Petitioner was waiting for her and he asked her if her arm was broken. Atkinson had earlier let Petitioner into the building around 6:00 a.m. after he heard Petitioner trying to kick in the outside door. Young told Petitioner that her arm was broken, and pretended to be returning for her insurance benefit card so she could go to the pharmacy. She then left the apartment, called the police, and reported the rape and assault. T.T. 437-438, 568.

The police arrived and searched the apartment. Petitioner was not found. The police left and the victim called a male friend and requested that he stay with her for safety. The friend responded and stayed for approximately ten to twenty minutes. After the friend left, Young propped the door to her apartment open with a small shovel so that the friend could return. Young grabbed a knife and placed it on her kitchen table within reach of where she was sitting. Petitioner then crawled out from underneath the bed in her bedroom with a hammer in his hand. T.T. 439-442.

The victim froze in fear. Petitioner slammed the apartment door shut and started choking Young, pushing her against the refrigerator. Young bit Petitioner's finger in an attempt to stop him from choking her. Petitioner then hit Young in the head with the hammer and bit her left cheek. Blood began dripping down Young's face. Petitioner demanded that Young give him her pain medication and her money. Young complied, giving Petitioner the pills from her jacket and $45 from her pocket. Petitioner then fled. T.T. 443-447.

Seconds later, the same police officers who had earlier searched the apartment, returned. T.T. 447. Atkinson, who had heard the screaming, had called the police. Upon entering the apartment, Officer Oliver Hemphill of the Buffalo Police Department ("BPD") discovered Young injured and covered in blood. T.T. 590. The victim was transported to the hospital, where she told hospital personnel the truth about her injuries. Young received stitches to her head, a rape test kit was performed upon her,*fn2 and photographs were taken of her injuries. T.T. 677.

Detective Nicole Jones of the BPD went to the victim's apartment after Young was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Detective Jones secured the scene and requested assistance from the Evidence Collections Unit. T.T. 605-606. Detective Jones also went to the hospital and interviewed Young, taking a statement from her and noting her injuries, which included a gash on her forehead, a bite mark on her cheek, a swollen jaw, scratches and bruises about ...

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