United States District Court, N.D. New York
CHAPPELLE, HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN Attorneys for Respondent
MARGARET A. CIEPRISZ ALYSON J. GILL Assistant Attorneys
DECISION AND ORDER
L. SHARPE Senior United States District Judge
Tyrone Chappelle filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Dkt. No. 1, Petition
("Pet."). He challenges a 2012 judgment of
conviction in Ulster County Court of two counts of Criminal
Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, and two
counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in
the Third Degree. Pet. at 1-2. As a result of the conviction,
petitioner is currently serving an aggregate prison term of
fifteen years with three years post-release supervision.
raises three grounds for habeas relief: (1) his due process
rights were violated, and his right to appeal was abridged
when a portion of jury selection was not recorded; (2) the
trial court abused its discretion by admitting into evidence
the drugs purchased from him; and (3) trial counsel was
ineffective because counsel did not "object to the
introduction of the crack cocaine as evidence, " or
"to the off-the-record jury selection that took
place." Pet. at 9-16. Respondent opposed the petition.
Dkt. No. 9, Respondent's Memorandum of Law ("R.
Mem."); Dkt. No. 10, Answer; Dkt. No. 11-1 to Dkt. No.
11-2, State Court Records (SR); Dkt. No. 11-3 through 11-5,
Transcripts (T). Petitioner filed a reply. Dkt. No. 16,
reasons that follow, the petition is denied and dismissed.
November 2011, the police in the city of Kingston, New York,
conducted a targeted operation called "Operation Clean
Sweep" aimed at street-level cocaine and heroin dealers.
The police department used undercover officers and
confidential informants to carry out this operation. Dkt. No.
11-3 at ¶ 338-39; Dkt. No. 11-4 at ¶ 404-05.
November 16, 2011, police officer Shirley Jiminian was
working undercover with a confidential informant (CI). Dkt.
No. 11-4 at ¶ 405-06. During the morning hours, Officer
Jiminian and the CI met with a known drug dealer to purchase
crack cocaine. Id. at T 406-07. After arriving at
the designated location, the dealer entered the rear
passenger seat of the undercover car and sold cocaine to the
CI with pre-recorded police funds. Id. at T 406- 07,
411; Dkt. No. 11-3 at ¶ 342-44. Once the sale was
finished, Officer Jiminian was about to drive away from the
area when petitioner, who was not known to either the officer
or the CI, approached the vehicle, introduced himself and
asked for a ride. Dkt. No. 11-3 at ¶ 344-45; Dkt. No.
11-4 at ¶ 412, 498. The CI said she could not give him a
ride, but asked for petitioner's number in case the drugs
she had just purchased were "garbage." Dkt. No.
11-4 at ¶ 412, 501-03. Petitioner responded that he had
good quality crack to sell. Id. at T 502. The CI
promised to call him to arrange a meeting for the purpose of
buying more crack cocaine. Id.
that day, the CI made a recorded "controlled" call
to petitioner, during which they agreed to meet five minutes
later for the purpose of buying "fifty cent, " or
$50 worth of crack cocaine. Dkt. No. 11-4 at ¶ 416-19;
504, 510. When Officer Jiminian and the CI pulled into the
designated meeting place, petitioner got into the back seat
of the car. The CI gave petitioner $50 and petitioner gave
her a loose chunk of crack cocaine. Id. at T 417-19,
510-12, 516. After petitioner left, the CI handed Officer
Jiminian the chunk of crack cocaine, which was later placed
into an evidence bag. Id. at T 436, 516-17.
thereafter, the CI called petitioner a second time to arrange
another sale. Dkt. No. 11-4 at ¶ 438-39; 517-18. Five
minutes later, Officer Jiminian and the CI drove to the
designated spot. However, while they were driving, petitioner
called the CI and directed them to a different location.
Id. at T440, 522-23. Once they arrived at the second
location, petitioner got into the back seat of the undercover
car, and sold the CI a quantity of crack cocaine.
Id. at T 489-90, 523-25. As before, when petitioner
left the car, the CI handed Officer Jiminian the crack
cocaine which was later sealed into a second evidence bag.
Id. at T 451.
was subsequently indicted in March 2012, by an Ulster County
Grand Jury, of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the
third degree (two counts) and criminal possession of a
controlled substance in the third degree (two counts). Dkt.
No. 11-1 at ¶ 8-9. After a jury trial, petitioner was
found guilty of all counts. He was sentenced as a prior
violent felony offender to an aggregate term of fifteen years
in prison, followed by three years of post-release
supervision. Id. at SR 35-36.
appealed his conviction, and, on March 12, 2015, the
Appellate Division affirmed. People v. Chappelle,
126 A.D.3d 1127 (3d Dep't 2015). On June 10, 2015,
petitioner's application for leave to appeal was denied.
Chappelle, 25 N.Y.3d 1161 (2015). This action
Standard of Review
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA), a federal court may grant habeas corpus relief with
respect to a claim adjudicated on the merits in state court
only if, based upon the record before the state court, the
state court's decision: (1) was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
or (2) was based on an unreasonable determination of the
facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court
proceeding. 28 U.S.C. §§2254(d)(1), (2); Cullen
v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 180-183 (2011); Premo
v. Moore, 562 U.S. 115, 120-21 (2011); Schriro v.
Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 473 (2007). This standard is
"highly deferential" and "demands that