United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
TALWANI United States District Court.
Manfred Elangwe's pro se amended petition for a writ of
habeas corpus contains sixteen separate bases for relief. Am.
Pet. [#20]. Respondent Steven O'Brien has moved to
dismiss the amended petition in its entirety, arguing that at
least thirteen of Petitioner's claims are unexhausted or
based solely on state law. Mot. Dismiss [#24]. In response,
Petitioner requests to stay his petition so that he can
return to state court to exhaust his claims. Mot. Stay
Abeyance [#26]. For the reasons set forth below,
Petitioner's claims do not warrant a stay. Accordingly,
the court will grant the Motion to Dismiss [#24]
unless Petitioner dismisses the unexhausted claims and
proceeds only on the merits of the exhausted claims.
first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to
reach a verdict on any of the charges. Commonwealth v.
Elangwe, 7 N.E.3d 1102, 1105 n. 3 (Mass.App. Ct. 2014).
After a second jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of rape
of Mary Smith (“Smith”),  of assault and battery as a
lesser included offence of Susan Jones (“Jones”),
and accosting and annoying a person of the opposite sex (also
of Jones). Id. at 1105. Petitioner appealed his
conviction and filed a motion for new trial. Those two
actions were consolidated before the Massachusetts Appeals
Court, which affirmed both the conviction and the denial of
the motion for new trial. Id. Thereafter, Defendant
filed an Application for Leave to Obtain Further Appellate
Review (“ALOFAR”) with the Supreme Judicial Court
(“SJC”). The SJC summarily denied the appeal on
June 11, 2014. Commonwealth v. Elangwe, 10 N.E.3d
1134 (Mass. 2014). One year later, Petitioner filed a writ of
habeas corpus with this court. Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus [#1].
Petitioner sought to amend his petition, which the court
following facts are taken from the Massachusetts Appeals
The victims lived at the Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center,
a shelter in Cambridge, during the summer of 2004. The
shelter had one “house manager” on site at any
one time. The defendant was a house manager during the
victims' stay. The defendant's direct supervisor was
Lorraine D'Eon, the director of program operations for
a. Smith. One day in July of 2004, after finishing
her chores, Smith sat down on a sofa in the common area near
where the defendant was sitting. The defendant was the only
other person in the common area. The defendant suddenly
approached Smith and forced her to have sexual intercourse
with him on the sofa. After the defendant finished, he told
Smith that no one would believe her because she was homeless.
Smith discarded her clothes and did not photograph or
document her injuries.
Smith then went to the residence of her children's
father, Dan Emde. While there, she took a bath and used two
douches that she purchased on the way. Although Smith
sounded upset talking to Emde, she did not tell him about the
rape. Smith did not tell anyone about the rape at that time
because she was afraid she would be evicted from the shelter.
A few weeks later, Smith had another encounter with the
defendant that led her to believe he would once again force
her to have sexual intercourse with him. As a result, Smith
told a staff member about the rape. The staff member arranged
a meeting with D'Eon and other shelter staff to report
the incident. The police were not involved at that time but a
few weeks after the meeting with the shelter staff, Smith
reported the incident to the Cambridge police.
b. Jones. One day in August of 2003, Jones asked the
defendant to borrow a screwdriver. When the defendant brought
it up the stairs to her, he grabbed her upper thigh with his
hands and said, “Wow. These are getting big.”
Jones said, “Enough, ” loud enough to make her
daughter cry. Later that day, the defendant attempted to grab
her arm as she walked past him, which prompted her to report
the incident to a staff member. She too met with D'Eon
and other shelter staff about the matter. Jones reported the
incident to police after she saw the defendant still employed
at the shelter the following weekend.
c. Trial testimony regarding Smith's civil suit.
After Smith and Emde testified at trial, the Commonwealth
stated its intention to call D'Eon as a hostile
witness. Defense counsel contacted D'Eon and
arranged to meet with her, apparently for the first time, on
the Friday before D'Eon's scheduled testimony on the
following Monday. At that meeting, defense counsel learned
that Smith had filed a civil action for damages arising from
the alleged rape. Smith had brought suit against the shelter,
the defendant, and the personnel agency that arranged the
defendant's temporary employment at the shelter. Prior to
the resumption of the trial on Monday, defense counsel
checked the court docket and confirmed the existence of the
civil suit. According to the docket, Smith had filed the suit
on behalf of herself and her minor children within days of
the completion of the first trial and approximately nine
months before the start of the second trial.
Counsel, however, did not disclose this information to the
judge or to the prosecutor. Despite her knowledge of the
civil suit, however, she agreed to a stipulation to be read
during D'Eon's testimony to the effect that the
statute of limitations had passed and that no suit had been
filed by any of the women who alleged sexual misconduct
against the defendant. Defense counsel also failed to mention the
suit when the prosecutor indicated to the judge that she
intended to inquire of D'Eon whether Smith had filed a
civil suit. To the apparent surprise of the prosecutor,
D'Eon replied ...