United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
WILLIAM G. YOUNG U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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. The Respondent chiefly contends that
Lamartine's petition suffers from a number of fatal
procedural flaws, and accordingly ought be denied.
Trial and Conviction
was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury on March 18,
2008. Suppl. Answer 00003. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.