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Muniz v. Rock

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 24, 2014

ALBISO MUNIZ, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID ROCK, Superintendent, Upstate Correctional Facility, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

JAMES K. SINGLETON, Jr., Senior District Judge.

Albiso Muniz, a New York state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus with this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Muniz is currently in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and is incarcerated at Upstate Correctional Facility. Respondent has answered, and Muniz has replied.

I. BACKGROUND/PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

A jury convicted Muniz of second-degree rape, petit larceny, and fourth degree criminal mischief on February 8, 2008. On April 2, 2009, Muniz was sentenced as a second felony offender to a determinate prison term of 7 years with 5 years of post-release supervision on the rape count and concurrent, definite 1-year prison terms on the petit larceny and criminal mischief counts.

Through counsel, Muniz directly appealed his conviction, arguing that: 1) the integrity of the grand jury proceeding was impaired; 2) he was denied due process; 3) the prosecutor committed misconduct; 4) his conviction was against the weight of the evidence; 5) his trial counsel was ineffective; 6) the prosecutor committed discovery violations under New York Criminal Procedure Law ("CPL") § 240.70; 7) the trial court improperly admitted evidence of Muniz's remote convictions; and 8) his sentence was harsh and excessive.

On August 30, 2010, Muniz filed in the Appellate Division a pro se motion pursuant to CPL § 460.50 asking the court to stay execution of the judgment of conviction and to release him on his own recognizance pending the outcome of his appeal. In the alternative, Muniz requested that the court set bail pending his appeal. By letter dated September 8, 2010, the Appellate Division marked the motion returnable on September 27, 2010, and informed the People that their response "should be filed and served on or before" September 24, 2010.

On September 25, 2010, Muniz filed a letter in support of his motion in which he argued that: 1) he was innocent of the crimes for which he had been convicted; 2) the crime occurred 3 years earlier and the victim had reached the age of 17 years; 3) Muniz was employed at 3 different jobs at the time he was accused of the crime; 4) he was denied a fair trial; and 5) he did not flee from the prosecution of the case.

On October 1, 2010, one week after their response was due, the People filed an affidavit in opposition to Muniz's CPL § 460.50 motion, arguing that it should be denied because: 1) Muniz's criminal history included three misdemeanor convictions and four felony convictions, including a conviction for attempted first-degree escape; 2) his parole had been revoked three times; 3) two warrants had been issued for his failure to appear in court; 4) Muniz had provided four aliases to the police; and 5) the evidence established his guilt, and the likelihood of a reversal of the second-degree rape conviction was remote. On October 5, 2010, Muniz filed a letter objecting to the People's affidavit on the ground that it was untimely.

On October 15, 2010, the Appellate Division summarily denied Muniz's CPL § 460.50 motion. The order indicated that the appellate court had "read[] and fil[ed] the papers submitted in support of the application and the papers submitted in opposition thereto."

By pro se papers dated October 28, 2010, Muniz filed in the Appellate Division a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law and Rules ("CPLR") § 7001, arguing that the Appellate Division violated his state and federal due process and equal protection rights by accepting the People's untimely affidavit in response to his CPL § 460.50 motion and by arbitrarily denying the application. The Appellate Division summarily denied the petition on January 10, 2011. Muniz then sought leave to appeal the denial of his state habeas petition to the New York Court of Appeals, raising the same claims he had raised before the Appellate Division. Muniz filed two additional letters in support of his leave application. The Court of Appeals denied Muniz's leave application without comment on April 28, 2011.

Muniz timely filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to this Court on May 11, 2011. Muniz subsequently filed an Amended Petition on June 1, 2011.

II. GROUNDS RAISED

Although Muniz attempts to raise four separate claims in his pro se Amended Petition, Muniz's arguments boil down to a single claim challenging the Appellate Division's denial of his CPL § 460.50 as 1) arbitrary and 2) ...


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