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Reaves v. Vidal

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

December 31, 2019

TIMOTHY REAVES, Petitioner,
v.
OSVALDO VIDAL, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          Indira Talwani, United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Before the court is Petitioner Timothy Reaves' Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Petition”) [#1]. Petitioner is serving a life sentence in state custody. Respondent Osvaldo Vidal's Opposition to Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“Resp't's Mem. Opp'n.”) [#37] contends that the claims Petitioner asserted in his Memorandum in Support of the the Petition (“Pet'r's Mem.”) [#36] were reviewed and denied on procedural grounds at the state level. Petitioner has filed a Memorandum in Response (“Pet'r's Suppl. Resp.”) [#40] in which he contends that there is cause for and prejudice from the procedural default such that the claims should not be barred. For reasons discussed below, the Petition [#1] is DENIED on grounds of procedural default.

         II. Factual & Procedural History

         In 1996, Petitioner was convicted of murder in the first-degree under a theory of joint venture for the drive-by shooting of fourteen-year-old Daniel Correia. Pet. 1 [#1]; Commonwealth v. Reaves, 434 Mass. 383, 389 (2001).[1] Petitioner was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Pet. 1 [#1]. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's (“SJC”) account of the facts that could be found from evidence presented at trial, as presently relevant, follows:

At around 3 P.M. on April 15, 1994, [Reaves] and three companions (Scott Rose, Richard Hazard, and Michael Coull) came to Magnet Park in New Bedford to buy drugs. They approached Joseph Correia (the brother of the victim), and Rose asked Correia if he had a “bundle of dope [heroin].” Correia said that he did. However, when [Reaves] pulled out some money to proceed with the transaction, Correia snatched the money from [Reaves'] hands and told him “there ain't no drugs around here, you got beat for your money.”
During this exchange, three of Correia's companions came over, one of whom (Landon Arnum) was acquainted with [Reaves]. [Reaves], apparently offended by Correia's treatment, told Arnum, “Tell this kid [Correia] who I am. I'm from the old school.” Other witnesses recalled more remarks in a similar vein (“Stop trying to play me.” “Tell them I'm not to be fucked with.” “I ain't no joke”). One of Correia's friends then advised Correia to give [Reaves] his money back, observing that [Reaves] was probably unaware of the efforts to end drug selling in the park. Correia handed the money back.
This gesture did not mollify [Reaves]. He pulled out more money and said, “If you want to beat me, beat me right.” [Reaves] then began arguing with another of Correia's companions, Shane Arnum. The argument ended abruptly when Shane Arnum punched [Reaves] in the jaw, knocking him unconscious. . . .
. . . .
Scott Rose then picked up [Reaves], carried him to [Rose's] car, and placed him in the back seat, still unconscious. Rose threatened, “We'll be back to spray it up.” He was also heard asking the others, “Who got the strap [gun]?” Landon Arnum testified that he saw [Reaves] “coming through” as the four prepared to leave. As they left, the men in the car, including [Reaves], repeated the threat, “We'll be back.”
Two hours later, [Reaves], Rose, Coull, and Hazard arrived at the home of Patricia Chaney and William Watson in Taunton, some twenty-five miles away . . . . When Watson arrived, Rose met him in the driveway and said, “I need a favor.” [Reaves], whose face was still bloodied from the earlier blow, went to the bathroom to clean up. Rose and Watson proceeded into the parlor, at which point Rose told Watson, “I need one of your guns. All of my boys are packing and I don't have one.” . . . .
Patricia Chaney testified that [Reaves] and Coull soon joined the others in the parlor, and that all four men were in the parlor with William Watson for ten to fifteen minutes. . . . A short while later, [Chaney] saw the four men emerge from the parlor with the gun. They concealed the weapon in a plastic trash bag and left the house carrying the concealed shotgun.
Around 7 P.M. that evening, [Reaves], Rose, Coull, and Hazard returned to Magnet Park in Rose's car. Rose was driving. Hazard was in the front passenger seat with the shotgun. Coull was sitting behind the driver, and [Reaves] was sitting behind Hazard. The two in the front had bandanas pulled over their faces. The men in the back seat wore sunglasses and caps.
Many people were still outside in front of the housing development adjacent to the park, including Joseph Correia and the companions who had been with him during the confrontation earlier that afternoon. Correia was sitting on the hood of a parked car. His younger brother, Daniel Correia, was sitting on the trunk of the same car.
As Rose drove up the street toward Joseph Correia's group, gunshots rang out from the car. Two weapons were firing, one out the front driver's side window and another out the rear driver's side window. As Joseph Correia ducked behind the parked car, he was shot in the leg. Another shot hit Daniel Correia, who fell to the ground. Other shots were fired in the general direction of the housing development striking a car, a door, and windows as high as the third floor. Joseph and Daniel Correia were the only two people hit. Daniel died shortly thereafter of a single bullet wound through the heart.
The car carrying the gunmen sped from the scene, but was followed by a man on a motorcycle. Specific information about the car, including its whereabouts and direction, were soon relayed to the police. As police cars came into view of Rose's vehicle, the driver in the car behind Rose saw a black object thrown out one of the passenger side windows. The witness later brought police back to the spot, where they retrieved a nine millimeter handgun. A ballistics expert opined that the bullet taken from Daniel Correia's body had been fired from that same handgun. Rose led police on a chase with speeds in excess of one hundred miles an hour, breaking through a police roadblock in Taunton. The chase ended when Rose's vehicle crashed into another car. Hazard got out of the front passenger side and attempted to flee on foot. Rose was slumped over the steering wheel. Coull had been ejected part way out the rear driver's side window. [Reaves] was in the rear passenger seat, having suffered a spinal fracture. As police came upon the accident scene immediately following the crash, an officer saw a shotgun thrown out a passenger side window. The shotgun was later identified as the one Rose had borrowed from William Watson earlier that evening.

Reaves, 434 Mass. at 384-87 (footnotes omitted). In a footnote, the SJC stated further:

[Reaves] was removed from the car by police and taken to the hospital. According to the police officer who saw him at the hospital, and according to the medical records, [Reaves] was still moving his arms at that time. He was unable to move his legs. The accident has rendered [Reaves] quadriplegic, with no ...

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