Reed v. Graham
ORDER: ORDERS that the Court's July 7, 2017 Order and Judgment, see Dkt. Nos. 22 - 23 , are VACATED. ORDERS that Magistrate Judge Hummel's May 24, 2017 Report-Recommendation and Order is ACCEPTED in its entirety for the reasons stated therein. ORDERS that Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, see Dkt. No. 1 , is DENIED. ORDERS that no Certificate of Appealability shall be issued with regard to any of Petitioner's claims because he has not made a "substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right" as 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2) requires. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2) (providing that "[a] certificate of appealability may issue... only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right"). Signed by Senior Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. on 7/11/17. (served on petitioner by regular mail)(alh, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
HAROLD GRAHAM, Superintendent,
Auburn Correctional Facility,
Auburn Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 618
Auburn, New York 13021
Petitioner pro se
OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL
New York, New York 10271
Attorneys for Respondent
PAUL B. LYONS, AAG
SCULLIN, Senior Judge
In an Order dated July 7, 2017, this Court accepted Magistrate Judge Hummel's May 24,
2017 Report-Recommendation and Order in its entirety and denied Petitioner's petition for a writ
of habeas corpus. See Dkt No. 22. On the same date, the Court entered judgment dismissing the
action for the reasons stated in its Order. See Dkt. No. 23.
In its July 7, 2017 Order, the Court noted that Petitioner, despite the Court granting his
letter request for an extension of time in which to file objections, had not done so. See Dkt. No.
22 at 2. After it had entered its Order and Judgment, the Court discovered that Petitioner had, in
fact, filed objections to Magistrate Judge Hummel's recommendations. See Dkt. No. 24. In light
of the filing those objections, the Court will vacate its July 7, 2017 Order an Judgment, see Dkt.
Nos. 22-23, and conduct the appropriate review of Magistrate Judge Hummel's recommendations
in light of Petitioner's objections.
A district court reviews a magistrate judge's recommendations de novo as to those parts of
the report-recommendation to which a party specifically objects. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
On the other hand, a court reviews those parts of the report-recommendation to which the parties
do not object or to which they offer "'only frivolous, conclusive or general objections'" for clear
error. Arbor Hill Concerned Citizens Neighborhood Ass'n v. Cnty. of Albany, 281 F. Supp. 2d
436, 439 (N.D.N.Y. 2003) (quotation and other citation omitted).
Petitioner states that he objects to the report-recommendation in its entirety. See Dkt. No.
24 at 2. He then recites his objections to Magistrate Judge Hummel's factual and legal
conclusions regarding several issues. See id. at 2-6. Finally, he appears to argue that the state
courts never provided him with "'meaningful' assistance of counsel to correct ineffective
assistance of trial counsel, where as here . . . the record is replete with examples of failure to
object that can have no basis in a counselor's strategy." See id. at 6. On the basis of these
objections, Petitioner asks the Court to "(1) hold this petition in abeyance, (2) Assign counsel to
[him] to address issues of ineffective assistance of counsel that [he] has demonstrated in his
petition, . . . (3) address issues of prosecutorial misconduct . . . and (4) That an investigation be
started for criminal practices by the Onondaga District Attorney's office in the instant case, also
as a matter of record in Rivas v. Fischer, 687 F.3d 514 (C.A.2 (N.Y.) 2012) where this same
District Attorney did falsify evidence through his medical examiner." See id. at 6-7.
Many of Petitioner's objections are conclusory and others merely reiterate the arguments
that he made in support of his petition, all of which Magistrate Judge Hummel thoroughly
addressed. Moreover, some of the relief that Petitioner seeks is beyond the scope of the relief
that this Court could award even if Petitioner were to prevail on his petition. Finally, many of
Petitioner's objections are based on his misconceptions about the proper legal standards that a
federal habeas court must apply in reviewing a state-court judgment under the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA).
As Magistrate Judge Hummel explained, the AEDPA
provides that, when a state court has adjudicated the merits of a
petitioner's claim, a federal court may grant an application for a
writ of habeas corpus only if "the adjudication of the claim (1)
resulted in a decision that 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)
resulted in a decision that 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(e). See also, e.g.,
Noble v. Kelly, 246 F.3d 93, 98 (2d Cir. 2001); Brown v.
Alexander, 543 F.3d 94, 100 (2d Cir. 2008). . . . This is a "difficult
to meet," and "highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court
rulings, which demands that state court decisions be given the
benefit of the doubt." Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181
(2011) (citations omitted).
See id. at 9-10 (internal footnote omitted).
Magistrate Judge Hummel further explained that,
[u]nder section 2254(d)(1), a state-court decision is contrary to
clearly established Supreme Court precedent if its "conclusion on a
question of law is 'opposite' to that of the Supreme Court or if the
state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court's
decision 'on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.'" Id.
(quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 413 (2000)). A state
court decision involves an unreasonable application of clearly
established Supreme Court precedent if it correctly identifies the
governing legal principle, but unreasonably applies or
unreasonably refuses to extend that principle to the facts of a
particular case. See Williams, 529 U.S. at 413; Ramdass v.
Angelone, 530 U.S. 156, 166 (2000).
See id. at 10.
Finally, as Magistrate Judge Hummel noted, in conducting its review, the federal habeas court
must presume that "a state court's factual findings are . . . correct, unless that presumption is
rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)." See id.
The Court's de novo review of all of Magistrate Judge Hummel's findings of fact and
conclusions of law, in light of Petitioner's objections, leads inescapably to the conclusion that
Magistrate Judge Hummel applied the correct legal standards to each of Petitioner's grounds for
habeas relief and reached conclusions consistent with those legal standards. Although Petitioner
disagrees with Magistrate Judge Hummel's findings and conclusions, both legal and factual, such
disagreement is not a basis for rejecting those findings and conclusions. In summary, the Court
finds that, to the extent that Petitioner raises appropriate objections and seeks relief that is
cognizable under the AEDPA, those objections are without merit. Furthermore, to the extent that
Petitioner seeks relief that is beyond the scope of this Court's authority under the AEDPA, the
Court denies those objections.
Accordingly, having reviewed the entire file in this matter, the parties' submissions and
the applicable law, and for the above-stated reasons, the Court hereby
ORDERS that the Court's July 7, 2017 Order and Judgment, see Dkt. Nos. 22-23, are
VACATED; and the Court further
ORDERS that Magistrate Judge Hummel's May 24, 2017 Report-Recommendation and
Order is ACCEPTED in its entirety for the reasons stated therein; and the Court further
ORDERS that Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, see Dkt. No. 1, is DENIED; and the Court further
ORDERS that no Certificate of Appealability shall be issued with regard to any of
Petitioner's claims because he has not made a "substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right" as 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2) requires. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2) (providing
that "[a] certificate of appealability may issue . . . only if the applicant has made a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right").
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: July 11, 2017
Syracuse, New York
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