United States District Court, S.D. New York
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KEVIN CASTEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 22, 2015, Gerardo Sanchez, who represents himself
pro se, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S .C. § 2254. (Dkt. 1.) This Court
referred the Petition to Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck.
(Dkt. 14.) On October 7, 2016, Magistrate Judge Peck issued a
Report and Recommendation (the "R & R")
recommending that the habeas petition be denied. (Dkt. 22.)
On November 7, 2016, Sanchez filed objections to the R &
R. (Dkt. 24.) For reasons to be explained, the Court adopts
the thorough and well-reasoned R & R in its entirety.
November 21, 2009, Sanchez fatally stabbed a subway passenger
during a fight over a seat. (R & R at 1.) Sanchez was
arrested on the train and indicted on December 4, 2009 for
second degree murder. (Id.) He ultimately pled
guilty to first degree manslaughter before Justice Richard
Carruthers of the Supreme Court, New York County, for which
he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of twenty-five
years, (Id. at 1, 4.) Sanchez filed a pro
se C.P.L. § 440.10 motion to vacate the judgment on
June 23, 2013. (Id. at 4.) Justice Carruthers denied
Sanchez's § 440, 10 motion on November 27, 2013.
(Id. at 7.) On July 20, 2014, Sanchez sought an
extension of time for leave to appeal from Justice
Carruthers' order, which the First Department denied on
November 25, 2014. (Id.) The First Department upheld
Sanchez's conviction on direct appeal on June 17, 2014.
(Id. at 7-8.) The New York Court of Appeals denied
leave to appeal on August 29, 2014. (Id. at 8.)
Sanchez filed his pro se federal habeas corpus
petition on December 22, 2015. (Diet. 1.)
is evidence in the record suggesting that Sanchez had a
history of mental illness. Sanchez was hospitalized from
January 29, 2004 through February 2, 2004, and again from
February 14, 2006 through February 27, 2006 for symptoms
including depression, paranoia, auditory hallucinations and
suicidal ideation. (R & R at 4.)
was evaluated for psychological disorders by several
different medical professionals between the time of his
arrest and his guilty plea. Shortly after Sanchez's
arrest he was admitted to Bellevue Hospital's psychiatric
unit and placed on suicide watch. (Id.) On November
25, 2009, he was given a psychological evaluation, at which
he presented as disoriented with passive self-injurious
ideation and described problems regarding mood as well as
loss of sleep and appetite. (Id.) "He endorsed
almost every psychotic symptom presented to him, including
highly atypical problems (e.g., seeing a gigantic Native
American at night and possessing the ability to smell things
that enable him to predict the future), " as well as
"hearing a low tone or whisper, " and receiving
messages from God that "it's all going to end."
(Id. at 4-5.) The treatment team found that
Sanchez's claims were inconsistent with their behavior
observations, that Sanchez did not exhibit a disorganized
thought process, and that he had good reality testing.
(Id. at 5.)
December 8, 2009, Sanchez superficially cut himself in the
neck with a paper clip, though following the incident he
stated that he "didn't want to die."
January 4, 2010, Sanchez was evaluated by Dr. Steven Konrad
of Bellevue Hospital Center and diagnosed with an unspecified
mood disorder. (Id.) Sanchez presented as calm and
cooperative with sadness, anxiety, and passive suicidal
ideation, and endorsed both visual and auditory
January 5 and 19, 2010, Sanchez was diagnosed with mood
disorder, and on May 6 and July 9, 2010, with schizoaffective
March 21, 2011, clinical psychologist Barry Rosenthal issued
an evaluation of Sanchez, finding, among other things, no
evidence of disordered thinking. (Id. at 6.) Dr.
Rosenthal diagnosed Sanchez with polysubstance dependence and
adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depression, as
well as personality disorder not otherwise specified.
(Id. at 7.) However, Sanchez reported that his
prescribed medication prevented further hallucinations.
(Id. at 6.)
reviewing an R & R, a district court "may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C). The Court conducts a de novo
review of the R & R to the extent Sanchez raises an
objection. Id. In order to establish his entitlement
to federal habeas relief, Sanchez must make a showing that
the trial court's actions were contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal
law as determined by the United States Supreme Court. See
Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 402-13 (2000)
(applying 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)).
R & R's Principal Conclusions and Reasoning:
Petition, Sanchez raised several objections to the state
court proceedings. Sanchez argues that the state trial court
should have ordered a competency hearing before accepting his
plea of guilty, that his sentence was excessive, and that he
was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to effective
counsel. Magistrate Judge Peck's ...