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Sheldrick Valentine v. Richard A. Savage

September 27, 2011

SHELDRICK VALENTINE, PETITIONER,
v.
RICHARD A. SAVAGE, SUPERINTENDENT GOWANDA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY*FN1 RESPONDENT.



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

DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Petitioner Sheldrick Valentine ("Petitioner"), through counsel, 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 June 15, 2005, in New York State, County Court, Erie County (Shirley J. Troutman, J.), convicting him, after a jury trial, of Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree (N.Y. Penal Law ("Penal Law") § 130.75 [1][a]) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Penal Law § 260.10 [1]).*fn2 Petitioner was sentenced to a determinate term of ten years imprisonment with five years post-release supervision.

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

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

Under Indictment No. 01129-2003, Petitioner was charged with Sodomy in the First Degree (Penal Law § 130.50 [3]), Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree (Penal Law § 130.75 [1][a]), Sexual Abuse in the First Degree (Penal Law § 130.65 [3]), and Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Penal Law § 260.10 [1]). See Ind. No. 01129-2003 at Resp't Ex. A.

Deltha Valentine married Petitioner in 1991 and had three children with him. The two separated in 1997 and Petitioner moved to California, where he lived for three years. In 2000, Petitioner returned to the Buffalo, New York area and stayed with his mother at 51 Meadow Lea in Amherst, New York. Trial Trans. [T.T.] 223-226.

While Petitioner was residing at his mother's home, Petitioner's three marital minor children, S.V. (age 13), C.V. (age 11) ("C.V." or "the victim"), and D.V. (age 9), visited him regularly. Even after Petitioner moved out of his mother's home, he still maintained contact with his children at 51 Meadow Lee. T.T. 224-226, 228-229.

At trial, C.V. testified that Petitioner put his penis in her mouth just after she turned eight-years-old in December 2001. That same winter, Petitioner told C.V. to pull her pants down and put her hands on the side of the bathtub while Petitioner "put his private against [C.V.'s] rear end." In September or October 2002, on a day that C.V. carved pumpkins with her father, he again put his penis in her mouth. Petitioner also put his penis in C.V.'s mouth during April 2003 during her spring school break. T.T. 66-77.

According to C.V., each of the instances occurred in the bathroom at 51 Meadow Lea. Before engaging in the behavior set forth above, Petitioner would ask C.V. if she wanted "[him] to check [her] teeth or [her] bottom." C.V. testified that she would "wait or try to say later but [Petitioner] would just ignore her." T.T. 78.

S.V., the victim's brother, testified that he saw Petitioner go into the bathroom with C.V. at 51 Meadow Lea and close the door. According to S.V., after Petitioner did so, C.V. was quiet and not as happy as she ordinarily was. T.T. 134-142.

In April 2003, C.V. told S.V. what their father was doing to her. C.V. and S.V. then approached their mother and told her what happened, and Deltha Valentine then called the police. T.T. 140- 141, 234. According to Deltha Valentine, their children had last been with Petitioner at 51 Meadow Lea the weekend of April 11-13, 2003. T.T. 236.

After a jury trial before the Hon. Shirley Troutman, Petitioner was found guilty of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the First Degree and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He was acquitted of Sodomy in the First Degree and Sexual Abuse in the First Degree. T.T. 625-626. He was subsequently sentenced to a determinate ten year term of imprisonment with five years post-release supervision. Sentencing Mins. [S.M.] 12.

The Appellate Division, Fourth Department unanimously affirmed Petitioner's judgment of conviction on February 8, 2008, and leave to appeal was denied. People v. Valentine, 48 A.D.3d 1268 ...


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