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.

Tavares v. Russo

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 27, 2019

DARYL TAVARES, Petitioner,
v.
LOIS RUSSO, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          George A. O'Toole, Jr. United States District Judge

         A Massachusetts Superior Court jury convicted the petitioner, Daryl Tavares, on four sets of indictments alleging various offenses related to five separate home burglaries that occurred over a twenty month period.[1] Each set of indictments included charges for breaking and entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony in violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 18; larceny over $250 in violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 30; and wanton and willful destruction of property over $250 in violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 127. After the conclusion of the jury trial, a bench trial was conducted before the trial judge, and Tavares was convicted of being a habitual criminal and a notorious thief.[2] The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the convictions, Commonwealth v. Tavares, 26 N.E.3d 1141 (Mass. App. Ct. 2015) (unpublished decision), and the Supreme Judicial Court denied further appellate review. Tavares subsequently filed the present petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         I. Background

         A brief summary of the trial evidence suffices:

         On December 17, 2008, Boston Police detectives responded to an apartment on Washington Street in Dorchester to investigate a potential breaking and entering. The police found that one of the doors to the apartment building itself was damaged. The door's lock was broken. The apartment's occupant found that her apartment door, which was unlocked, was also damaged. When she entered her apartment she found the lights on and discovered a variety of items scattered on her bed. Also, she noticed that items on her dresser were knocked over and that various property was missing.

         A black glove that did not belong to the occupant or her children was recovered. The glove was submitted for DNA testing by the police. A DNA profile collected from the glove was compared with a database of known profiles, and the petitioner was included as a potential match. The comparison yielded no other potential matches. The victim stated that she did not know the petitioner nor had she ever given him permission to enter her apartment.

         The Commonwealth alleged that the petitioner was responsible for another break-in on March 12, 2009. Again DNA evidence was recovered. Although the petitioner was included as a potential match, profiles of other persons also matched. The jury acquitted Tavares of the three indictments related to this incident.

         On December 8, 2009, Boston Police officers responded to 38 Fayston Street in Roxbury for a break-in. The occupant had returned to his home after being away for about an hour to find that his apartment door was broken and pried open. He noticed that one of the dresser drawers was open and that several items were missing, including some cash. He also found a hat in the hallway outside of the bedroom that did not belong to him. The police collected this evidence and had it tested for DNA. The test determined that Tavares was a possible source of the DNA collected from inside of the hat. Neither the victim nor his family knew Tavares, and they had not given him permission to enter their home.

         On May 6, 2010, the occupant of an apartment at 163 Delhi Street in Mattapan arrived home to find that both her front and back doors were wide open, and the front door's lock was broken. She discovered that several items were missing, including her TV, a jar of coins, and two watches. She also found a beer can on the ledge in the hallway outside of her apartment that had not been there when she left an hour earlier. Tavares was included as being a possible source of DNA found on the beer can. The occupant did not know Tavares nor had she given him permission to enter her apartment.

         Finally, on August 19, 2010, a man who was looking after his sister's apartment at 75 Humbolt Avenue in Roxbury was informed by a neighbor that the police were there conducting an investigation. When he went to the apartment, he found that the door was broken and that the apartment was in disarray. He informed the police that the TV and VCR were missing. He also discovered a cigarette butt on the floor between the couch and the TV console. The man, his sister, and his sister's fiancé did not smoke, and the butt had not been there the previous night. The police collected the cigarette butt as evidence, and, after conducting DNA analysis, the petitioner was included as being the possible source of the DNA found on the cigarette butt.

         The Commonwealth also presented evidence concerning the petitioner's criminal history during the habitual criminal proceedings before the trial judge.

         II. Standard of Review

         Post-conviction relief pursuant to § 2254 is an extraordinary remedy, and it is not granted if the state court's decision was merely erroneous or incorrect. See Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 27 (2002). Rather, a petitioner seeking relief from a claim decided on the merits at the state level must demonstrate that:

the adjudication of the claim . . . (1) 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; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

         “A legal principle is ‘clearly established' within the meaning of this provision only when it is embodied in a holding of [the United States Supreme] Court.” Thaler v. Haynes, 559 U.S. 43, 47 (2010). Additionally, a state court's decision is “contrary to . . . clearly established federal law” when it “contradicts the governing law set forth in the Supreme Court's cases or confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of the Supreme Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from its precedent.” Brown v. Ruane, 630 F.3d 62, 66-67 (1st Cir. 2011) (quoting John v. Russo, 561 F.3d 88, 96 (1st Cir. 2009)). Further, a decision involves an “unreasonable application” of established federal law “if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme] Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.” Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 ...


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.