The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge
Petitioner David Williams ("Williams" or "Petitioner"), represented by counsel, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on the basis that he is being unconstitutionally detained in Respondent's custody. Williams is incarcerated pursuant to a judgment entered against him in New York State Supreme Court, Monroe County, on October 18, 2005, following a jury trial convicting him of criminal sexual act in the first degree, sexual abuse in the second degree, and endangering the welfare of a child.
II. Factual Background and Procedural History
1. The Prosecution's Case
In early 2004, the victim, Z.O., and his half-brother, W.N. lived in
Umatilla, Florida, with their mother, T.N., and her boyfriend. The
family had a friend named Don Green ("Green") whom
the boys regarded as a substitute grandfather. T.97, 137.*fn1
Green had introduced Z.O. to Petitioner at a cookout
approximately one year before, during one of Petitioner's vacations in
Florida. T.97, 136-37, 150.
Petitioner invited Z.O. to visit him at his home in Henrietta in the summer of 2004, and Z.O.'s mother gave her son permission to go. Although Z.O. had known Petitioner for a year before the planned trip, W.N. had only recently met Petitioner. T.150. Petitioner admitted that he initially only asked Z.O. to visit. T.313.
On July 6, 2004, Petitioner flew to Florida to escort Z.O. to Rochester. T.313. Until that point, Z.O. had believed that he was going to visit New York City, not upstate New York. T.67-69, 102, 138. W.N. testified that he and his mother decided that W.N. should accompany Z.O., and Petitioner acquiesced and bought W.N. a ticket. T.313.
Once they arrived in Henrietta, the boys stayed with Petitioner in an RV trailer on the rear of his property and used the main house for showering. T.79, 81-82, 138. W.N. stated that they stayed in the trailer because Petitioner's house "was a mess" and "really cluttered[.]" T.139.
Not long after they arrived, Petitioner took Z.O. on a week-long trip to boy-scout camp while W.N. was left alone on Petitioner's property, where the neighbors checked in on him occasionally. T.152. When Petitioner and Z.O. returned, they slept together every night in the same bed in the trailer. T.143. Z.O. slept naked. W.N. slept alone in a separate area in the trailer. T.80-82, 92, 120.
One day, while Z.O. was showering in the main house, Petitioner came into the bathroom, took off his clothes, got into the shower with Z.O. and repeatedly touched Z.O.'s testicles. When he asked Z.O. for permission to fellate him, Z.O. said no, but Petitioner did so anyway. T.82-85, 85-87. After performing oral sex on Z.O., Petitioner told the boy not to tell anybody about the act, especially Z.O.'s brother, mother and her boyfriend. T.88.
Z.O. testified about a different occasion in the trailer when Petitioner attempted to sodomize Z.O., who was in bed. T.89-92.
Z.O stated that Petitioner "tried to put his dick in [Z.O.'s] butt" but he did not penetrate Z.O. T.90-91. Z.O. recounted another incident on June 28, 2004, in which Petitioner pulled down Z.O.'s pants. T.93-94.
Z.O. did not tell W.N. about sexual abuse committed by Petitioner. When the boys called their mother, Z.O. did not say that anything inappropriate had occurred. T.121-22, 150.
On July 25, 2004, acting on an anonymous tip that the boys might be runaways, two deputy sheriffs from the Monroe County Sherriff's Department visited Petitioner's property. The officers spoke with W.N. and Z.O. and inspected the interior of the trailer. Z.O. did not tell the officers about his sexual activities with Petitioner. T.125-26, 240. Satisfied that everything was fine, the deputies left.
Three days later, on July 28, 2004, Tyler Barrus, a Sheriff's Department Investigator ("Inv. Barrus"), was involved in the follow-up investigation regarding Petitioner. Along with Robert Barnes, a county Child Protective Services worker, Inv. Barrus visited Petitioner's property. T.170, 173, 238-39. When Inv. Barrus knocked on the door to the main house, W.N. answered the door and invited the men inside. Neither Petitioner nor Z.O. was home at the time. Inv. Barrus and Barnes explained to W.N. that they were investigating possible criminal activity on Petitioner's property.
T.176-77, 243-44. W.N. proceeded to show them around the house, which was in "complete disarray" with every "surface . . . covered with something." T.177. He then took them to the trailer and allowed them to look around inside. T.145-46, 177-79, 240-41. Inv. Barrus asked W.N. to have Petitioner contact him when he returned.
About twenty minutes later, Petitioner called Inv. Barrus and agreed to come to the police station. When Petitioner arrived about fifteen minutes later, Inv. Barrus offered Petitioner something to eat or drink, and to use the bathroom, but he refused these offers.
Inv. Barrus brought Petitioner to an empty office, and
explained that he was investigating allegations that Petitioner had engaged in sexual relationships with minors. T.182-83. Inv. Barrus then read Petitioner the Miranda warnings from a form. T.184. Petitioner stated that he understood his rights and was willing to waive them and speak with the investigator. T.186-88.
Petitioner stated that he lived alone and had arranged with the boys' family to have the boys visit him from Florida. T.190. About an hour into the interview, Petitioner admitted that he had taken a shower with the younger brother and had touched penis.
T.191. At that point, Inv. Barrus arranged to have the boys brought to the station. T.191-92, 246, 249-50.
When the boys arrived, Investigator Barrus left Petitioner alone for about fifteen minutes and went to speak with Z.O. T.192. Z.O. answered the investigator's questions and signed a handwritten statement; this was the first time that Z.O. had told anyone of his sexual contact with Petitioner. T.108-112, 192.
After his conversation with Z.O., Inv. Barrus returned to Petitioner and asked if he had engaged in any other sexual contact with Z.O. or any other minors. After about an hour and a half, Petitioner admitted that he had put his mouth on Z.O.'s penis on several occasions. T.193. Petitioner also had tried to put his scrotum in Z.O.'s mouth while he was sleeping one night. T.194. With regard to the shower incident, Petitioner explained that Z.O. became "curious" as to body parts and had "gotten a boner." T.195. This led to Z.O. "wondering what it would feel like to have somebody's mouth on his penis and Mr. Williams accommodated that by putting his mouth on [Z.O.]'s penis." T.195.
Throughout their conversation, Petitioner did not mention to Inv. Barrus that he had any medical concerns or problems. Petitioner exhibited no symptoms of illness and had declined offers to eat, drink or use the bathroom. T.214, 229, 253.
Inv. Barrus transcribed Petitioner's statements onto a form. T.194-95, 196-97. In this written confession, Petitioner stated that as soon as the boys arrived in Henrietta, Z.O. followed Petitioner into the shower and asked questions of a sexual nature. Petitioner stated that he did not want Z.O. in the shower with him, but Z.O., a "very curious boy," insisted. When Z.O. asked Petitioner to touch Z.O.'s penis, Petitioner "would touch him to show him what [he] was talking about." Another time in the shower, Z.O. asked Petitioner about "mouth action," and Petitioner then knelt in the shower and fellated him. Petitioner believed that he performed oral sex on Z.O. twice. Regarding their sleeping arrangements, Petitioner stated that he and the boys slept in the three beds in his trailer because his house was being "remodeled."
Z.O. would often come into Petitioner's bed and when Petitioner asked Z.O. to leave or tried to push him out, Z.O. resisted. When they were in bed together, Z.O. would sometimes ask Petitioner to touch Z.O.'s penis. Once, Z.O. tried to put his mouth to Petitioner's penis, but Petitioner refused to let him do so.
Petitioner described a past sexual relationship as "something similar" that happened ten or fifteen years before with another "very curious boy" who was interested in sex. Petitioner identified this person by name. Petitioner attributed his activities to a desire to provide sexual education for the boys, claiming that "the main thing" for him was to always try to "answer these boys' questions," which he believed was the "right thing to do." He added, "If moms and dads are not teaching their kids the right way about their sexual behavior, someone should."
When this statement was completed, Petitioner reviewed it, read it aloud, made corrections, initialed the corrections, and then signed the statement. T.199. He had no apparent difficulty reading the statement or signing it. T.200. About ten minutes later, Inv. Barrus placed Petitioner under arrest. T.205.
Following the prosecution's direct case, the trial court granted the defense motion to dismiss two of the three counts of first degree criminal sexual act, regarding two other occasions when Petitioner allegedly placed his mouth on Z.O.'s penis. T.260-61.
Inv. Barrus testified that Petitioner, who had longstanding diabetes, did not appear sick or injured that day. T.202. Because Inv. Barrus's father had diabetes, he was familiar with the signs and symptoms of diabetic shock (e.g., slurred speech and lack of mental orientation); Inv. Barrus observed none of these in Petitioner during the interrogation. T.202-03. Petitioner never asked to consult an attorney or said that he no longer wanted to speak to Inv. Barrus. T.204.
Petitioner testified in his own behalf that after he retired he traveled regularly to Florida during the winter, and for several years stayed in a trailer park in Altoona, where he became friends with Green. T.270-71. In February of 2004, Green introduced Petitioner to Z.O. and his family. T.271-72, 306. After Green ...