United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a
prisoner in state custody. On March 21, 2011, a Massachusetts
jury found petitioner Deryck Long guilty of first-degree
murder and illegal possession of a firearm. He was sentenced
to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
has filed a petition for a writ for habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254, alleging ineffective assistance of
counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment and an illegal
search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The petition is
based on defense counsel's alleged failure to investigate
and introduce evidence obtained from cell-phone records and
the trial court's denial of a motion to suppress
testimony obtained as a result of an illegal wiretap. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied.
facts of this case are taken from the decision of the Supreme
Judicial Court. See Commonwealth v. Long, 476 Mass.
January 9, 2006, Jamal Vaughan, the victim, was found shot to
death in a parking lot behind an apartment complex in Quincy,
Massachusetts. Id. at 527-28.
late 2005 to early 2006, Deryck Long would frequently stay
with his girlfriend, Janet Ojo, at her house on Franklin
Street in Quincy. Id. at 527. About two weeks before
Vaughan's death, Long and Ojo ended their relationship,
apparently over a money dispute. Id. On the night of
January 9, 2006, Long asked a friend named Courtney Forde to
drive him to Ojo's house to pick up some belongings he
had left there. Id. Forde picked him up in his car,
bringing along his friend and drug-dealing associate, Paul
Brown, and an unidentified woman Forde had recently met.
they arrived at Ojo's house around 9:45 p.m., Long got
out of the vehicle and went inside. Id. Ojo was not
home, but a few of her friends were inside, including
Vaughan. Id. Long and Vaughan got into a fistfight
about money that Long allegedly stole from Ojo. Id.
The fight spilled out onto the front yard. Id. After
Brown got out of Forde's car, Vaughan ran back inside the
house. Id. Long tried to re-enter the house and
threw a brick through one of the windows. Id.
and Brown got back into Forde's car and drove a short
distance, then stopped because Long remembered he had left
some “IDs” behind in a shoebox. Id. at
527-28. He, Brown, and Forde walked back to Ojo's house.
Id. at 528. Vaughan was outside and ran back into
the house when he saw them approaching. Id. They
drove back to Boston and dropped off the unidentified woman
in Milton. Id. They stopped at the house in Mattapan
where Long was staying and retrieved his keys to Ojo's
house. Id. Forde drove them back to Ojo's house.
Id. Nobody was home, and they entered using
Long's keys. Id. They took various items,
including two handguns stored in a shoebox: a revolver and a
Tec-9 semiautomatic pistol. Id. Long put the
revolver on his waist. Id.
directed Forde to drive to an apartment building on Willard
Street in Quincy where he had stayed with Ojo in the past.
Id. Forde called two of his drug customers who lived
in the apartment building to ask one of them to open the back
door so Long could enter the building. Id. Neither
customer answered. Id. Forde parked his car in a
dimly-lit spot near some trees, far from the entrance to the
building. Id. At the same time, Vaughan left the
building to retrieve cigarettes from his car. Id.
Long and Brown exited Forde's car, walked over to
Vaughan, and shot him several times. Id.
midnight, a neighbor at the apartment building telephoned 911
to report hearing gunshots. Id. Police and emergency
services responded to the scene, where they discovered
Vaughan with three gunshot wounds. Id. Vaughan was
transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
the shooting, Forde drove back to his house in Boston.
Id. Forde then drove to a friend's house, where
Long, Brown, and Forde unloaded the items taken from
Ojo's house, including a shoebox containing a rusty
firearm and its magazine. Id. at 528-29.
recovered two spent projectiles, fired from two different
weapons, from Vaughan's body. Id. at 528. Police
also recovered seven shell casings, all of which came from
the same 9-millimeter pistol, and a spent projectile that was
“mostly” consistent with having been shot from a
arrested Long on January 10, 2006. Id. at 534. On
January 20, the Commonwealth obtained a warrant authorizing
the placement of a wiretap on a booth in the visiting room at
the Norfolk County House of Correction in order to monitor
conversations between Long and his visitors. Id. at
533. As a result of the wiretap recordings, police identified
another witness, Gillian Gibbs, and obtained more information
on Forde's involvement in the shooting. Id.
filed a pretrial motion to suppress evidence obtained from
the wiretap, which the motion judge allowed. Id. The
motion judge concluded that the wiretap did not meet the
requirements of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 99, because
the Commonwealth failed to establish that the offense under
investigation was committed in connection with
“organized crime.” Id.
an evidentiary hearing to determine the scope of the evidence
to be suppressed, the motion judge excluded the recording of
the conversation between Long and Gibbs, and any testimony by
Gibbs. Id. at 534. The judge found that Gibbs's
decision to speak with police was directly motivated by the
fact that they confronted her with the wiretap evidence.
Id. However, the judge did not exclude Forde's
testimony, concluding that his decision to testify was