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Sigl v. State

United States District Court, W.D. New York

July 20, 2015

STEPHEN E. SIGL, Petitioner,
STATE OF NEW YORK, Respondent.

Stephen E. Sigl, pro se, Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora, NY, for Petitioner.

Alyson J. Gill, A.A.G., New York State Attorney General's Office, New York, New York, for Respondent.


CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA, District Judge.


Petitioner Stephen E. Sigl, proceeding pro se, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254 vacating his convictions in Monroe County Court for burglary in the first degree and sodomy in the first degree. For the reasons that follow, the petition is denied.


Factual Background

On December 11, 2000, the victim, C.S., awoke to an unknown man kneeling next to her futon. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 238, 262, Sept. 24, 2008.) Her front door was locked, but the window in the bedroom where her daughter slept was not. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 249; State R. at 10.) Although the lights in her apartment were off and she was unable to see the man's face, illumination from a streetlight allowed her to see that he was bald and had no facial hair or eyebrows. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 245, 257.) C.S. also saw that he had a dull, brown, eight to twelve inch hunting knife with a six inch blade. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 239, 253-254.)

The intruder alternately placed his penis in her mouth and vagina. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 241, 263-264.) C.S. did not resist because he threatened to hurt her daughter if she did not cooperate. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 239, 243.) He eventually ejaculated in her mouth, and she spit the semen onto the front of her shirt. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 242.)

The man rolled C.S. onto her stomach, shoved her head into the pillow, and asked where her purse was. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 243.) She told him, and he left through the bedroom window. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 244-245.) C.S. checked on her daughter, who was unharmed, and reported the incident to the police. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 245-246.) C.S. noticed her purse was gone and a pair of unfamiliar leather work gloves had been left in her living room. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 247.)

When Greece Police Officer William Murphy ("Murphy") arrived at C.S.'s apartment, he noticed C.S. was distraught and that she had red marks on her neck. (Test. of Murphy, Trial Tr. 272-274, 287, Sept. 24, 2008.) These red marks were also noted by Dr. Joseph Giangreco during the completion of C.S.'s subsequent medical exam and sexual assault kit at Park Ridge Hospital. (Test. of Giangreco, Trial Tr. 343, 345, Sept. 24, 2008.) Dr. Giangreco also collected samples of C.S.'s saliva and DNA and gave her clothing to Murphy. (Test. of C.S., Trial Tr. 346; Test. of Murphy, Trial Tr. 278, 280-81; Test. of Giangreco, Trial Tr. 347, 350.)

When police processed C.S.'s apartment, they collected C.S.'s bedding and a pair of tar-stained leather work gloves. (Test. of Cole, Trial Tr. 309-310, 313-314, Sept. 24, 2008.) There was mud on the living room floor and a boot print outside the open bedroom window. (Test. of Cole, Trial Tr. 300-301, 305-307, 310.) An evidence technician took a cast of the boot print using Dental Stone. (Test. of Cole, Trial Tr. 307.) Police also dusted for prints and dispatched a canine unit, but neither of these efforts yielded further evidence. (Test. of Murphy, Trial Tr. 276; Test. of Cole, Trial Tr. 311-313, 315-318; State R. at 97.) C.S. met with a forensic sketch artist, and the resulting image was circulated throughout the area. (State R. at 97.) Police also interviewed a man arrested for peeping into windows in the area, but determined that he was not involved. (State R. at 102.) C.S.'s shirt was later sent to a lab for processing, and it was determined that the stain on the shirt was sperm. (State R. at 97-98.) A male DNA profile was extracted and entered into the Combined DNA Indexing System ("CODIS").[1] (State R. at 98.)

On or about March 6, 2008, the DNA from C.S.'s shirt was matched through CODIS with Stephen E. Sigl's DNA. (State R. at 98.) Sigl had been convicted of petit larceny in Greece Town Court in 2007. (State R. at 170.) Following completion of his sentence for that crime, a sample of Sigl's DNA was collected on approximately November 7, 2007. (State R. at 170) Subsequently, his DNA profile was entered into the New York state database, leading to the March 6, 2008, match. (State R. at 170.)

Two armed, plainclothes officers, Greece Police Sgt. Michael Roffe and his partner Sgt. Chizuk, went to Sigl's apartment on March 20, 2008. (State R. at 27, 98.) Sigl's elderly father answered the door, and the officers indicated that they wanted to speak with his son. (State R. at 27.) It is not clear whether they identified themselves as police officers. (State R. at 27.) Sigl's father silently walked back into the apartment, and the officers followed him to the dining area where Sigl was sitting. (State R. at 27.) They told Sigl that they had questions about an investigation, and that he needed to come with them to the station. (State R. at 27.) Sigl indicated that he would prefer to answer questions in his apartment and asked what the investigation was about. (State R. at 27.) However, the officers said that he needed to come to the station and that they would tell him there. (State R. at 27.)

At the police station, Sgt. Roffe read Sigl his Miranda rights, and Sigl indicated he understood them and that he waived them. (Test. of Roffe, Trial Tr. 368-371, Sept. 24, 2008.) When questioned about the incident, Sigl stated that he did not know C.S., that they had not had sex, that he was not involved in the crime, and that he had no explanation for why his DNA was on her shirt. (Test. of Roffe, Trial Tr. 372-375, 394.) Sigl did say that he was familiar with C.S.'s apartment complex because he had family in the area. (Test. of Roffe, Trial Tr. 375.) The police recorded Sigl's statement in writing, but he refused to sign it. (Test. of Roffe, Trial Tr. 376.)

After the conclusion of the interview, Sigl was placed under arrest and accusatory instruments were filed. (State R. at 98.) The indictment charged him with one count of robbery in the first degree, one count of burglary in the first degree, two counts of rape in the first degree and four counts of sodomy in the first degree in connection with the events of December 11, 2000. ...

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