United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. CASPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Robert Aldrich (“Aldrich”), acting pro
se, has filed a petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus
(“Petition”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
D. 1. Respondent Pamela MacEachern
(“MacEachern”), the Superintendent of the
Pondville Correctional Center, opposes the Petition on the
bases that Aldrich's grounds for habeas relief either
have been waived or fail on the merits. D. 77 at
For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES the Petition,
Standard of Review
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), this Court may grant a writ of habeas
corpus if the state court adjudication “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.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). “AEDPA erects a formidable
barrier to federal habeas relief for prisoners whose claims
have been adjudicated in state court.” Burt v.
Titlow, ___U.S.___, 134 S.Ct. 10, 16 (2013). Federal
courts are thus highly deferential to state courts when
reviewing claims of legal error. See id. at 15.
court decision is “contrary to” clearly
established federal law “if the state court either
‘applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set
forth in [Supreme Court] cases, ' or ‘confronts a
set of facts that are materially indistinguishable
from'” a Supreme Court precedent and arrives at an
opposite conclusion. Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782,
792 (2001) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S.
362, 405-06 (2000)). A state court decision is an
“unreasonable application” of clearly established
federal law “if it correctly identifies the governing
legal rule but applies that rule unreasonably to the facts of
a particular prisoner's case.” White v.
Woodall, ___U.S.___, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1706 (2014). In
sum, “a state prisoner must show that the state
court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal
court was so lacking in justification that there was an error
well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103 (2011).
Factual and Procedural Background
following facts are primarily drawn from the Middlesex
Superior Court's denial of Aldrich's motion for
post-conviction relief and motion for an evidentiary hearing,
S.A. at 130-40, which were included in Defendant's
supplemental answer, D. 58. A burglary occurred in Cambridge
on January 6, 2008. S.A. at 131. The homeowner noticed the
intrusion, called 911 and the police arrived and apprehended
Aldrich. Id. The officers searched Aldrich and found
the homeowner's property and a screwdriver. S.A. at
was indicted for eight charges on February 7, 2008 including
unarmed burglary, but not armed burglary. S.A. at 1-2.
Aldrich acted pro se, as he had before, and was
appointed standby counsel. S.A. at 132. On December 15, 2009,
following a jury trial, the Clerk asked the jury foreman if
the jury had reached a verdict:
Clerk: Mr. Foreman, as to Indictment number 2008-164-001,
charging the defendant, Robert Aldrich, with armed burglary,
what say you, Mr. Foreman; is the defendant guilty or not
Clerk: Guilty as to what, sir?
Foreman: Guilty as charged.
S.A. at 144. Aldrich did not object. See S.A. at
144-46. On the same day, the jury also returned a verdict
slip as to the unarmed burglary charge, signed by the jury
foreperson, in which “Guilty - offense as
charged” is selected. S.A. at 163. The court sentenced
Aldrich to twenty years in state prison on that charge. S.A.
at 149. Aldrich was also convicted of three other ...