United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM G. YOUNG DISTRICT JUDGE.
Santana (“Santana”) petitions this Court for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Pet.
Writ Habeas Corpus (“Pet.”), ECF No. 1. Brad
Cowen (“Cowen”), Superintendent of Massachusetts
Correctional Institution (“MCI”) Norfolk, opposes
Santana's petition for habeas relief. Resp't's
Mem. Law Opp'n Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus (“Opp'n
Mem.”), ECF No. 18.
petition, Santana insists that the Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court, based upon the evidence before it,
unreasonably determined that he voluntarily made
incriminating statements to police officers. Pet. 6; Mem.
Points & Authorities Supp. Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus
(“Pet. Mem.”) 8-13, ECF No. 2. Santana further
asserts that the Supreme Judicial Court unreasonably applied
clearly established federal law in ruling that he voluntarily
gave incriminating statements to the police. Pet. 6; Pet.
Mem. 13-18 (citing U.S. Const. amends. V, XIV). Santana
argues that the Supreme Judicial Court erred when it
determined that because the police provided him with
Miranda warnings, after assuring him that his
incriminating statements would be confidential, his
statements were voluntary. Pet. Mem. 13-16. Santana also
suggests that the Supreme Judicial Court failed to weigh the
police officer's promise to put in a good word for him
with state officials. Id. at 16-18. Santana thus
maintains that the Massachusetts Superior Court erred when it
refused to suppress his incriminating statements and that the
Supreme Judicial Court erred when it did not overturn the
Superior Court's decision. Id. at 8-18.
Therefore, Santana asks this Court to grant his petition for
habeas corpus and order his release or a new trial.
Id. at 20.
in response, counters that the Supreme Judicial Court
rightfully, from both a factual and legal standpoint, refused
to overturn the trial court's denial of Santana's
motion to suppress. Opp'n Mem. 9-17. Thus, Cowen asks
this Court to deny Santana's request for relief.
Id. at 17.
hearing argument from both parties, and careful
consideration, this Court DENIES Santana's petition for
August 25, 2004, Rafael Castro (“Castro”), the
victim, and his stepdaughter, Norma Cedeno
(“Cedeno”), were entering Castro's apartment
in Lawrence when four men attacked them.
Commonwealth v. Santana, 477 Mass.
610, 611-12 (2017). While Castro attempted to help Cedeno,
one of the home invaders shot Castro. Id. at 612.
The men moved Cedeno into a bedroom and placed a pillowcase
over her head. Id. From there, Cedeno heard the men
yelling and striking Castro, insisting that he place a phone
call. Id. The men further threatened to burn Cedeno
if Castro did not comply. Id. Subsequently, the men
left the apartment, promising to return if Cedeno attempted
to call the police. Id. After the men had left,
Cedeno discovered Castro bound, unresponsive, and bleeding
from a gunshot head wound. Id. Cedeno removed the
duct tape restraining Castro and dialed 911. Id.
When paramedics arrived, they determined that Castro had
the criminal investigation, police recovered DNA that matched
Santana's from the duct tape used during the home
invasion. Id. at 612-13. Before the end of August
2004, Santana contacted his probation officer, who was
monitoring Santana due to another matter, and informed him
that he was willing to disclose information about a Lawrence
shooting for a fee. Id. at 613 & n.2. He told
the probation officer that he knew that Joonel (Joonie)
Garcia had shot an individual in the head and where the gun
used in the murder was located. Id. at 612-13. The
probation officer relayed the tip to the Boston Police
Department. Id. at 613. Santana contacted his
probation officer again in March 2005. Id. Santana,
who was incarcerated at the time, told the probation officer
that he had “significant legal concerns” and that
the murder to which he had previously referred was
Police Trooper Robert LaBarge (“LaBarge”) and
Lawrence Police Detective Carlos Cueva (“Cueva”)
then interviewed Santana about Castro's murder.
Id. Cueva, who grew up speaking both Spanish and
English, but lacked formal Spanish translation training,
acted as a translator during the interview. Id. at
613 & n.4. The portions of the interview at issue in this
action are as follows:
LaBarge: [Santana] has said that he has consented to
us audio taping our talk with him. [Santana], do you have any
problems with us talking on the tape recorder?
Santana: [N]o, no problem, no LaBarge:
[O]kay, can you just, can you just translate that? Ask him,
ask him --
*Cueva: (garbled) machine to record the -- what
we're doing now. You don't have a problem with that?
*Santana: Okay, no problem . . .
*Santana: [A]s long as it is not used in court,
better if not used in court
*Cueva: No, do not worry
*Santana: [T]hat whatever I say to you be
LaBarge: [A]nd as I told you, you said your English
is okay but somewhat --
Santana: Sometimes . . . I don't understand
LaBarge: [S]ometimes not so good, but how long have
you've [sic] been in the United States?
Santana: [E]le . . . ten years.
LaBarge: [T]en years.
Santana: [Y]eah, . . . almo eleven
LaBarge: [Y]ou can understand me pretty much, but
we've got [Cueva] here in case you run into any problems,
. . .
LaBarge: [H]ow far did you get in school?
Santana: Eight grade
LaBarge: Eight grade where?
Santana: Puerto Rico . . .
LaBarge: And can you read and write?
Santana: Yeah, perfect.
. . .
LaBarge: Uh, I'm going to have you read this
form out loud, and just say number one, read it, and then
tell me if you understand it or not. Okay?
*Santana: [D]o I have to read it like that . . .
*Santana: [F]or me or . . . ?
*Cueva: [N]o, for everyone
*Santana: [B]efore any question is asked, it is
necessary that you understand your rights
*Cueva: Do you understand? After each line, he wants
you to yes or no you understand that line, do you understand
*Cueva: [A]fter, re, to read, reading the first line
he wants you that you say that yes or no, that you understand
what [missing/wrong particle] say [sic].
*Santana: Okay. You have the right to remain silent
*Cueva: Do you understand that?
LaBarge: Do you understand number one?
*Santana: [Y]es, anything you say can be
employed against you
LaBarge: Do you understand number two?
Santana: Yes. That's, that's number three.
LaBarge: What's number two? Did you understand
two, number ...