United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge.
Anderson (“petitioner”), proceeding pro
se, petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is incarcerated
pursuant to a judgment entered July 19, 2007, in Erie County
Court (Buscaglia, J.), upon his plea of guilty to one count
of manslaughter in the first degree (N.Y. Penal Law §
125.20(1)). On October 18, 2007, petitioner was sentenced to
a determinate prison term of twenty-two years with five years
Factual Background and Procedural History
plea of guilty arose out of an incident in which he and three
co-defendants, who had recently contracted with a couple in
Buffalo for purposes of waterproofing their basement, broke
into the couple's house and beat the husband, James
Gilson, to death inside the home. Petitioner and his
co-defendants each pled guilty to one count of manslaughter
in the first degree.
filed a direct counseled appeal to the New York State Supreme
Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in which he
argued that (1) his plea was not knowing, voluntary, or
intelligent; (2) his waiver of the right to appeal was
invalid; and (3) his sentence was harsh and excessive. In a
supplemental pro se brief, petitioner argued that
his statements were obtained in violation of the
December 23, 2011, the Fourth Department unanimously affirmed
petitioner's judgment of conviction. See People v.
Anderson, 90 A.D.3d 1475 (4th Dep't 2011), lv.
denied, 18 N.Y.3d 991. The Fourth Department found that
the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying
youthful offender status. Id. at 1476. The court
further held that petitioner's challenge to the factual
plea colloquy was unpreserved, noting that the “case
[did] not fall within the rare exception to the preservation
requirement.” Id. (citing People v.
Lopez, 71 N.Y.2d 662, 665 (1988)).
instant petition alleges three grounds, arguing that (1) the
trial court improperly denied petitioner youthful offender
status; (2) his plea was not knowing and voluntary; and (3)
trial counsel was ineffective. For the reasons discussed below,
the petition is dismissed.
Standard of Review
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”) applies to this petition. AEDPA
“revised the conditions under which federal courts may
grant habeas relief to a person in state custody.”
Kruelski v. Connecticut Super. Ct. for Judicial
Dist. of Danbury, 316 F.3d 103, 106 (2d Cir. 2003)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254). Under AEDPA, a federal court
may grant a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
only if the state court's adjudication of the
petitioner's claim on the merits is “contrary to,
or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly
established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court
of the United States, ” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), or
involved an “unreasonable determination of the
facts” in light of the evidence presented. 28 U.S.C.
Grounds Asserted in the Petition
Youthful Offender Status
first contends that the trial court improperly denied
youthful offender status, and that the Fourth Department
should have exercised its “interest of justice
jurisdiction” and granted petitioner such status. This
claim, grounded entirely in state law, is not cognizable on
habeas review and is therefore dismissed. See Jones v.
Perez, No. 2015 WL 268917, *2 (W.D.N.Y. Jan. 21, 2015)
(where “sentence is well-within the statutorily
permitted range, ” a petitioner's “claim
regarding the state court's refusal to afford him
youthful offender status does not present a constitutional