Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dame v. Coguen

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 18, 2018

RONALD DAME, Petitioner,
v.
COLETTE GOGUEN, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Background

         Ronald Dame (“Dame” or “Petitioner”) has filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (“Petition”) alleging the following grounds for relief[1]:

Ground One: Prejudicial pre-Indictment delay during which Petitioner's alibi witness died and subsequent denial of admission of hearsay statement of that alibi witness.
Ground Two: Admission of evidence illegally obtained during a motor vehicle search was not harmless error.
Ground Three: It was error to deny Petitioner to present a third party culprit defense.
Ground Four: Petitioner should have been granted relief based on the accumulation of “substantially interrelated errors.” The Respondent has filed a motion to dismiss on the following grounds: (1) Ground Two of the Petition is barred because Petitioner's Fourth Amendment violations are not cognizable on federal habeas review; (2) Ground Three of the Petition, challenging the exclusion of third party culprit evidence, is unexhausted; (3) Ground Four fails to state a federal basis for relief; and (4) Ground One, asserting prejudicial delay, is subject to dismissal if Petitioner fails to dismiss the unexhausted claim asserted in Ground Three. See Resp's Mot. To Dismiss (Docket No. 12) and Resp's Mem. In Supp. Of Mot. To Dismiss Pet. For Writ of Habeas Corpus (Docket No. 13). Petitioner has not filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss.

         Facts

         On February 24, 2012, Dame was convicted by a jury of first degree murder in the killing of Clara Provost on January 6, 1974. Dame file a direct appeal of his conviction to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) raising the following grounds for relief:

(1) the trial court should have dismissed the indictment because the Commonwealth's alleged improper delay in seeking indictment prejudiced his defense; (2) the trial court should have allowed his motion to suppress a paper towel that police seized from his car on January 7, 1974; (3) introduction of the paper towel into evidence was prejudicial and was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt; and (4) the SJC should exercise its extraordinary powers under Mass. Gen. Law. ch. 278, §33E to grant him a new trial.

See Commonwealth v. Dame, 473 Mass. 524, 526 (2016). The SJC affirmed Dame's conviction on February 3, 2016. In its decision, the SJC found that the paper towel obtained from the Petitioner's vehicle pursuant to a warrantless search should have been excluded at trial, because there were no facts connecting the crime to the vehicle and therefore, the police lacked probable cause to conduct the search. The SJC, however, found that admission of the evidence was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt given the other evidence tying Petitioner to the crime Id., at 536-38. As to Petitioner's claim that he was prejudiced because of the pre-indictment delay of thirty-two years, the SJC found that Petitioner had not established that he was substantially actually prejudiced or that the delay was intentionally or recklessly caused by the Commonwealth. Id., at 530-535. The SJC then summarily denied Petitioner's claim that the single justice erred by denying his motion to stay the execution of his sentence and his claim for extraordinary relief under Mass.Gen.L. ch. 278, §33E. As to the latter claim, the SCJ stated that that it would not exercise its power to grant a new trial or reduce the degree of guilt, because, although his trial was not error free, there was “no miscarriage of justice requiring a new trial.” Id. at 538.

         Discussion

         Whether Grounds Two and Four should be dismissed on the Merits

         Ground ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.