United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
OPINION AND ORDER
A. O'Toole, Jr. United States District Judge
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. 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. 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 Ct. 2015) (unpublished decision), and the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.
summary of the trial evidence suffices:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Commonwealth also presented evidence concerning the
petitioner's criminal history during the habitual
criminal proceedings before the trial judge.
Standard of Review
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).
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 ...