United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON PETITIONER'S PETITION FOR
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (Docket No. 1)
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE
February 17, 2012, Ronney Martinez (“Martinez”)
was convicted of three counts of home invasion, breaking and
entering in the nighttime to commit a felony, assault and
battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful carrying of a
firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and possession of
a firearm in the commission of a felony. Martinez appealed to
the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which affirmed his
conviction on September 4, 2014. Commonwealth v.
Morales, 86 Mass.App.Ct. 1110, 2014 WL 4355625 (Sept. 4,
2014), review denied, 470 Mass. 1103, 23 N.E.3d 105
(2014). Martinez sought further appellate review by the
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which denied his
petition on November 26, 2014. See Commonwealth v.
Martinez, 470 Mass. 1103, 23 N.E.3d 105 (2014). On June
7, 2016, Martinez petitioned this Court for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Martinez alleged the following grounds for relief:
Ground One: The Commonwealth failed to provide
legally sufficient evidence of each essential element of the
firearms offenses to support the judgement of conviction.
Specifically, there was insufficient evidence that Martinez
possessed a firearm or was aware that another person had such
a firearm. Therefore, Martinez was denied due process of law.
Ground Two: The Prosecutor's closing argument
was highly improper and denied Martinez a fair trial.
Ground Three: Martinez did not receive effective
assistance of counsel.
reasons stated below, Martinez's petition for writ for
habeas corpus (Docket No. 1) is
denied, subject to the conditions
Massachusetts Court of Appeals summarized the evidence
introduced at Martinez's trial as follows:
Madeline, Jaritza, and Audeliz Nieves are siblings. All of
them share a second-floor apartment in a three-story
apartment building located at 312 Liberty Street in
The defendants [Jonathon Morales, Jean Pinero, and Martinez]
were in attendance. Madeline and one of her brothers tried to
disperse guests who had loitered on the grounds after the
party. A fight ensued, erupting into a melee.
After the melee, Pinero verbally threatened the Nieves
family. The Nieves family retreated back into the apartment
building. The defendants forced their way through the rear
exterior door and pursued them. Madeline saw the defendants
climbing the stairs just before she and her family made it to
their second-floor apartment. She closed and locked the
apartment door. Less than thirty seconds after the downstairs
break-in, multiple gunshots were fired through the door to
the Nieves's apartment. One shot hit Madeline. She could
not see who fired the shots.
Two guests telephoned 911. Police officers arrived within
minutes. A group outside the building warned police that
another group nearby had a gun. That other group included the
As the officers approached him, Morales fled and then
resisted arrest, but was subdued by the police. He was driven
to a site for a showup. He stood at least thirty feet away
from witnesses and yelled, “Any of you niggas identify
me, I will be back to kill you.” Jaritza sat in a
police cruiser during the showup and did not hear the threat;
she identified the defendants as the ones who broke into the
The police found no weapons on the defendants. The gun that
shot Madeline never was recovered. Gunshot residue (GSR)
tests on the defendants and on samples ...