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Lamartine v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

October 19, 2016

JEAN LAMARTINE, Petitioner,
v.
KELLY RYAN, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          WILLIAM G. YOUNG U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Jean Lamartine ("Lamartine") filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his conviction on three counts of rape of a child and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a child. The Respondent, Kelly Ryan ("Respondent"), is the superintendent of Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Shirley, the facility where Lamartine is currently confined. In his petition and accompanying memorandum, Lamartine seeks post-conviction relief on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, newly discovered evidence, and improper admission of hearsay evidence in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights.[1] The Respondent chiefly contends that Lamartine's petition suffers from a number of fatal procedural flaws, and accordingly ought be denied.

         A. Trial and Conviction

         Lamartine was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury on March 18, 2008. Suppl. Answer 00003.[2] Lamartine entered a plea of not guilty. Id. After Lamartine stood trial, a jury found him guilty of three counts of rape of a child with force, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 22A, and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a child, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, § 63, on June 19, 2009. Suppl. Answer 00006, 00058-61. Justice Sandra Hamlin sentenced Lamartine to two concurrent terms of twelve to fifteen years in state prison, one year in a house of correction (also to run concurrently), and ten years of probation. Id. at 00006-07.

         B. Direct Appeal

         Lamartine filed a notice of appeal on June 21, 2009. Id. at 00062. In his appeal, Lamartine purported to identify three errors. See id. at 00070. First, he argued that the trial court refused to allow him a full opportunity to cross-examine the complaining witness, in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights. Id. at 00103-10. Second, he argued that the court erred in allowing an "irrelevant and highly prejudicial" photograph to be admitted in evidence. Id. at 00110-14. Third, he claimed that the court wrongly allowed the testimony of a substitute first complaint witness. Id. at 00114-00121.

         The Massachusetts Appeals Court rejected these arguments and affirmed Lamartine's convictions in a Memorandum and Order issued on May 13, 2011. Id. at 00207-08; 79 Mass.App.Ct. 1117 (2011). Lamartine then sought further review of these issues in the Supreme Judicial Court, which denied his application. Suppl. Answer 00209.

         C. Post-Conviction Motions

         Lamartine has twice moved for a new trial. See id. at 00272-73. His first motion raised three issues. See id. at 00272. The first two issues were identical to those that were raised in his direct appeal. Id. The third issue was that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction, which the Middlesex County Superior Court ruled he had waived by failing to raise on direct appeal. Id. The trial court found no error and denied the first new trial motion on February 26, 2013. Id. at 00273.

         Lamartine then filed a second motion for new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel and newly discovered evidence. Id. The ineffective assistance claim was based on his lawyer's failure to depose the mother of his victim's friend, whom Lamartine claimed was the first-complaint witness. Id. The newly discovered evidence claim was also based on the absence of this deposition. See id. at 00274. The Middlesex County Superior Court rejected both of these arguments and denied the second new trial motion on September 4, 2014. Id. at 00276. Specifically, it ruled that Lamartine's "asserting of error is nothing more than a meritless variation to claims he has twice asserted unsuccessfully[, ]" i.e., on direct appeal and on his first new trial motion. Id. at 00273-74. The trial court observed that Lamartine knew of the so-called newly discovered evidence even before trial, that the undeposed witness had no "relevant and material" evidence, and that Lamartine's trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to depose her. Id. at 00274-75. Lamartine appealed, and the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the denial of his second new trial motion on February 24, 2015. Id. at 00317; 87 Mass.App.Ct. 1107 (2015). He again filed an application for further appellate review, which was denied. Suppl. Answer 00318.

         On July 30, 2015, Lamartine filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this Court. Pet. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Writ Habeas Corpus By Person In State Custody ("Pet.''), ECF No. 1. The Respondent filed her answer on November 19, 2015. Answer, ECF No. 13. The parties have since filed memoranda supporting their positions. Mem. Law Points Law Supp. Appl. Writ Habeas Corpus ("Pet'r's Mem."), ECF No. 17; Resp't's Mem. Law Opp'n Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus ("Resp't's Mem."), ECF No. 18.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. ...


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