United States District Court, N.D. New York
JAMES K. SINGLETON, Jr., Senior District Judge.
Marcello Douglas, 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. Douglas is currently in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and is incarcerated at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Respondent has answered, and Douglas has not replied.
I. BACKGROUND/PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
On direct appeal of his conviction, the Appellate Division described the following facts underlying Douglas's case:
[Douglas], armed with a semiautomatic handgun, approached an SUV containing multiple individuals and fired the gun several times into the driver's side of the car. The driver was struck multiple times in the chest and abdomen. He underwent surgery, during which portions of his liver and intestine had to be removed; a bullet that was located approximately one centimeter from his heart could not be removed.
Shortly after the shooting, [Douglas] was arrested, interrogated by police and confessed to the shooting. He was subsequently charged with attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. After his motion to suppress his statements to the police was denied, [Douglas] pleaded guilty to all charges. Pursuant to a plea agreement, County Court sentenced [Douglas] to an aggregate prison term of 12 years to be followed by five years of postrelease supervision.
People v. Douglas, 931 N.Y.S.2d 799, 799 (N.Y.App.Div. 2011).
Through counsel, Douglas appealed his conviction, arguing that: 1) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress; and 2) his sentence is unduly harsh and should be reduced in the interest of justice. The Appellate Division affirmed his conviction in a reasoned opinion. Douglas, 931 N.Y.S.2d at 799. Douglas sought leave to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals, which was summarily denied on January 11, 2012.
Gregory timely filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus to this Court on January 9, 2013.
II. GROUNDS RAISED
In his pro se Petition before this Court, Douglas raises the same arguments that he presented to the state courts on direct appeal. First, he argues the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress his statements to the police. He additionally claims that his sentence is unduly harsh.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), this Court cannot grant relief unless the decision of the state court was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, " § 2254(d)(1), or "was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding, " § 2254(d)(2). A state-court decision is contrary to federal law if the state court applies a rule that contradicts controlling Supreme Court authority or "if the state court confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision" of the Supreme Court, but nevertheless arrives at a different result. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 406 (2000).
To the extent that the Petition raises issues of the proper application of state law, they are beyond the purview of this Court in a federal habeas proceeding. See Swarthout v. Cooke, 131 S.Ct. 859, 863 (2011) (per curiam) (holding that it is of no federal concern whether state law was correctly applied). It is a fundamental precept of dual federalism that the states possess primary authority for defining and enforcing the criminal law. See, e.g., Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991) (a federal habeas court cannot reexamine a state court's interpretation and application of state law); Walton v. Arizona, 497 ...