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McClain v. Bradt

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 24, 2013

ANDRE McCLAIN, Petitioner,
v.
MARK BRADT, Elmira Correctional Facility, Respondent.

ANDRE McCLAIN 07-B-1165, Elmira, New York, Petitioner pro se.

HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, ALYSON J. GILL, AAG Attorney General of the State of New York, New York, New York, Attorney for Respondent.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

MAE A. D'AGOSTINO, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On April 3, 2007, Petitioner Andre McClain was sentenced to eighteen years to life for murder in the second degree, attempted robbery in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and conspiracy in the fourth degree. See Dkt. No. 1 at 1. Petitioner brought a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the constitutionality of his incarceration on the grounds that (1) his sentence was unduly harsh and excessive, (2) the lower court failed to issue a certificate of conviction to authorize the execution of his sentence pursuant New York Criminal Procedure Law § 380.60, and (3) the lower court erred in denying Petitioner's suppression motion. See Dkt. No. 1 at 5-8. Respondent opposes the petition.[1] See Dkt. No. 8 at 1.

Currently before the Court is Petitioner's objection to Magistrate Judge Treece's Report and Recommendation in which he recommended that this Court deny and dismiss the petition. See Dkt. No. 19.

II. BACKGROUND

On February 17, 2006, in an attempt to rob Michael Brown, Petitioner stabbed Mr. Brown, causing his death. See Dkt. No. 10-7 at 152-53.[2] Multiple witnesses, including his accomplices, positively identified Petitioner as the perpetrator. See id. at 7-18. After being arrested and taken to the police station, Petitioner received his Miranda warnings. See id. at 25-26, 29-31. Petitioner waived his rights to remain silent and have a lawyer present, and made a statement to police. See id. at 31. When presented with a written copy of his statement, Petitioner stated that it was true and accurate, but he refused to sign it without first meeting with an attorney. See id. at 37. Prior to trial, Petitioner moved to suppress his statements as well as the witnesses' identifications of him, claiming that he was unlawfully seized in contravention of the Fourth Amendment. See Dkt. No. 10-2 at 45. The trial court denied the motion. See id. at 35.

Petitioner was indicted on eleven counts, and on January 11, 2007, the parties reached a plea agreement. See id. at 149-156. Under this plea agreement, all charges pending against Petitioner were resolved in exchange for a plea of guilty to one count of murder in the second degree under New York Penal Law § 125.25(3), with the understanding that Petitioner would be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of no less than fifteen years to life, and no more than twenty-two years to life. See id. at 150-157. Petitioner was sentenced to an indeterminate term of eighteen years to life. See id. at 164.

Petitioner immediately appealed his conviction to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department ("Appellate Division"), alleging that the trial court erred in denying his pre-trial motion to suppress his statements, and that his sentence was unduly harsh and excessive. See Dkt. No. 10-1 at 6; see Dkt. No. 10-2 at 6. On November 20, 2009, the Appellate Division affirmed the conviction. See People v. McClain, 67 A.D.3d 1480, 1481 (4th Dep't 2009).

On April 9, 2010, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. See Dkt. No. 1 at 15. In response to the petition, Respondent asserted that two of Petitioner's claims, i.e., that his sentence was unduly harsh and excessive and that the sentencing court failed to issue a Certificate of Conviction pursuant to CPL § 380.60, had not been exhausted. See Dkt. No. 8 at 18-19.

On April 25, 2013, Magistrate Judge Treece issued a Report-Recommendation and Order, which recommended that Petitioner's claim be denied in its entirety. See Dkt. No. 16 at 9. Petitioner objected to the Report and Recommendation, stating that he "did not sign a consent to defer... to a Magistrate Judge, " and that he therefore "want[s] the Report-Recommendation and Order herein to be set aside for lack of appropriate jurisdiction to have issued it." See Dkt. No. 19 at 1.

In his Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Treece discussed that under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), a federal court may grant habeas relief to a state prisoner if the state court adjudicated the merits of the claim and such adjudication either

1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or 2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the ...

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