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United States v. Matthews

United States District Court, N.D. New York

February 28, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MICHAEL MATTHEWS, Petitioner--Defendant

Page 353

For Petitioner: JEFFREY R. PARRY, ESQ., OF COUNSEL, OFFICE OF JEFFREY R. PARRY, Fayetteville, NY.

EDWARD R. BROTON, ESQ., Asst. United States Attorney, OF COUNSEL, HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, Northern District of New York, Syracuse, NY.

Page 354

MEMORANDUM--DECISION and ORDER

David N. Hurd, United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

On September 11, 2006, a jury found petitioner--defendant Michael Matthews (" petitioner" or " Matthews" ) guilty of conspiracy to commit bank robbery (" Count 1" ) and committing a bank robbery on September 25, 2003, at a Fleet Bank in Syracuse, New York (" the Syracuse robbery" ) (" Count 2" ). In Count 1, the overt acts alleged to have been committed by Matthews and his co-conspirator(s) in furtherance of the conspiracy included the Syracuse robbery; an October 15, 2003, robbery at a Fleet Bank in Whitesboro, New York (" the Whitesboro robbery" ); and a December 11, 2003, robbery at an M& T Bank in Auburn, New York (" the Auburn robbery" ). Matthews pleaded

Page 355

guilty to the Whitesboro and Auburn robberies in state court before the trial began in this case.

On February 21, 2007, petitioner was sentenced to concurrent terms of life imprisonment on each count, pursuant to the three-strikes sentencing law, 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(1)(A)(i).[1] The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the convictions and sentence on October 7, 2008. United States v. Matthews, 545 F.3d 223 (2d Cir. 2008) (per curiam). The Second Circuit specifically held that petitioner's prior convictions and his conviction on Counts 1 and 2 in this matter constituted " serious violent felonies" for purposes of the three-strikes law. Id. at 228.

Thereafter, Matthews filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In this motion, he raised an ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on his trial attorney's use of an allegedly biased investigator. This motion was denied in its entirety on July 23, 2009, and petitioner appealed.

On June 14, 2012, the Second Circuit issued a decision vacating the July 23, 2009, Order " to the extent that it summarily rejected Matthews's claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel due to the alleged conflict of interest of the investigator hired by counsel." Matthews v. United States, 682 F.3d 180, 184-85 (2d Cir. 2012). In accordance with the Second Circuit's decision and subsequent Mandate, the July 23, 2009, Order was vacated to the extent it denied petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on the allegedly biased investigator, Attorney Jeffrey R. Parry was assigned to represent petitioner in regard to that claim, and an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to determine: (1) was the investigator biased; (2) what evidence an unbiased investigator could have discovered in order to create a reasonable probability that the result of the trial would have been different; and (3) was petitioner's attorney ineffective.

The hearing was conducted on September 10 and 11, 2013, in Utica, New York. At the conclusion of the hearing, the parties were afforded time to review the transcript of the proceeding and submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Those submissions have been received and reviewed with the transcript. The following are the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law required by § 2255(b).

II. FINDINGS OF FACT

The following pertinent facts have been gleaned from documents filed on the docket, the trial transcript and exhibits, and the transcript of and exhibits ...


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