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Pirtle v. Warden

United States District Court, E.D. New York

December 18, 2014

RONALD PIRTLE, Petitioner,
v.
LOUIS WINN, Warden, Respondent

Ronald Pirtle, Petitioner, Pro se, Tucson, AZ.

For Louis Winn, Respondent: NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE - GENERIC, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York State Attorney Generals Office; QUEENS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE - GENERIC, LEAD ATTORNEY.

Page 308

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

MARGO K. BRODIE, United States District Judge.

Petitioner Ronald Pirtle, proceeding pro se and currently incarcerated at a federal facility, brings the above-captioned petition for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which he alleges that he is being held in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court in violation of his federal constitutional rights. Petitioner's claim arises from a guilty plea entered on November 25, 1996, in the Criminal Court of Queens County, to one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of bribery in the third degree. Petitioner was sentenced to three to nine years for criminal sale of a controlled substance, and one to three years for bribery. Petitioner did not appeal his conviction or sentence. On December 22, 2004, Petitioner was convicted in federal court for conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Because of his November 25, 1996 state drug conviction, Petitioner's federal sentence was enhanced and he was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. In March 2013, Petitioner moved pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law Section 440.10 to vacate his underlying state conviction, claiming he received ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with the November 25, 1996 guilty plea. The New York State Supreme Court denied Petitioner's motion on July 25, 2013. (Pet'r Mem. 20.)[1] Petitioner appealed to the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department, which dismissed

Page 309

his appeal on or about January 9, 2014. ( Id.) In the instant petition, Petitioner challenges his 1996 state conviction entered pursuant to his guilty plea. (Pet. ¶ ¶ 1-2, 6.) Petitioner again argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel in connection with his state guilty plea, in violation of his constitutional rights. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is denied.

I. Background

On or about August 7, 1996, Petitioner offered to pay a New York City police officer three hundred dollars in exchange for the work schedule of another police officer, and an additional five hundred dollars for police protection as well as advance notice of raids or search warrants. (Pet'r Mem. 22.) On September 12, 1996, Petitioner offered the same police officer a quantity of drugs in lieu of cash payment for the same work schedule. ( Id.; Statement of Police Officer Booth, annexed to Pet'r Mem., 40-41). On October 9, 1996, Petitioner was arrested and charged with one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 220.39(1), and two counts of bribery in the third degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 200.00. (Pet'r Mem. 21.) Petitioner pleaded guilty and on November 25, 1996, he was sentenced to three to nine years' imprisonment for the criminal sale of a controlled substance, and one to three years' for bribery. ( Id.; Pet. ¶ ¶ 2-3.) Petitioner did not appeal his sentence or his conviction, and on October 7, 2005, Petitioner " reached the maximum expiration date" of his sentence. (Pet'r Mem. 21.)

On July 16, 2003, Petitioner was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § § 841(b)(1)(A) and 846. (Pet'r Mem. 23.) The government sought an enhanced sentence based in part on Petitioner's 1996 state drug conviction. ( Id.); see also United States v. Pirtle, 173 F.App'x 224, 227 (4th Cir. 2006) (denying Petitioner's appeal of his life sentence). Following a jury verdict of guilty, on December 22, 2004, Petitioner was sentenced in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland to a term of life imprisonment. (Pet'r Mem. 22, 26); see also United States v. Pirtle, No. 03-CR-0335 (Docket Entry No. 114) (entry of judgment as to Ronald Pirtle dated Jan. 21, 2005). Petitioner appealed his sentence, which was affirmed. Pirtle, 173 F.App'x at 227. Petitioner then sought collateral relief as to his federal sentence, which was denied. (Pet'r Mem. 24-25.) See Pirtle v. United States, 07-CV-2634, (D. Md. Sept. 4, 2008) (dismissing petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255); United States v. Pirtle, 326 F.App'x 236 (4th Cir. 2009) (affirming dismissal of Section 2255 petition).

In March 2013, Petitioner filed a motion to vacate his underlying state conviction, pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law Section 440, contesting the conviction on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. That petition was denied on July 25, 2013. (Pet. ¶ 11; Pet'r Mem. 19-20.) Petitioner appealed to the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department, which dismissed his appeal on or about January 9, 2014. (Pet'r Mem. 20.)

II. Discussion

a. Custody requirement

Under Title 28, United States Code, Section 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (" AEDPA" ), an application for a writ ...


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