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Taylor v. United States

June 22, 2010

JONATHAN TAYLOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is Jonathan Taylor's ("Petitioner") motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence ("Motion"), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, alleging the following two grounds:

(1) that a "show-up" identification violated his due process rights; and (2) ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be denied and the petition will be dismissed.*fn1

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On March 10, 2006, Petitioner was convicted by a jury of the following three criminal charges: one count of armed carjacking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2119; one count of knowingly carrying a firearm, during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); and one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).

The facts established at trial are as follows.*fn2 On the afternoon of September 11, 2002, Petitioner walked up to a white Ford Taurus*fn3 parked at the intersection of Susquehanna and Fairhill Streets in Philadelphia, and used a loaded revolver*fn4 to shoot through the driver's side window. See Gov't's Resp. 2-3. Petitioner pulled the driver, Pablo Cruz ("Cruz"), out of the car; went through his pockets, taking his money; told the passengers to get out of the car; and drove away in the vehicle. Id. at 3-4. Cruz called 911 two times, stating that a black male had shot through the driver's side window and stolen his vehicle. Id. at 4.

Two Philadelphia police officers heard a police radio call about the incident, located the car, and pursued it. Petitioner led the police on a high-speed chase, which ended when Petitioner crashed the stolen car into another vehicle. Id. at 4-5. Petitioner then ran out of the car and the officers, joined by back-up, followed him on foot. When one of the officers tripped Petitioner, Petitioner got up, drew a gun, and swung it in the direction of the officers following him. The officers testified that Petitioner then attempted to discard the gun by throwing it in the direction of a train trestle overpass, beneath which Petitioner was attempting to run. The gun fell to the ground, however, and one officer retrieved the gun while other officers caught up with Petitioner and arrested him. Id. at 6.

Upon arrest, Petitioner was handcuffed and placed in a police van at the scene of the accident. See Pet'r's Mot. 6. Cruz was then brought to the scene. See Gov't's Resp. 6. During this "show-up" identification,*fn5 Cruz identified Petitioner, the stolen car, the money that Petitioner was carrying, and the gun he had used to shoot the window of the car.*fn6 Id.

Petitioner was then taken to the Philadelphia Police Department's East Detective Division. He was interviewed that evening after being given his Miranda warnings, which he waived in writing. Petitioner gave a detailed confession, which was reduced to writing and signed by Petitioner.*fn7 Id.

At trial, the jury found Petitioner guilty on all charges. On July 31, 2006, the Court sentenced Petitioner to a total prison sentence of 240 months imprisonment; five years of supervised release; and a $300 special assessment.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

After trial, Petitioner filed a timely appeal to the Third Circuit, which, on May 14, 2008, affirmed the judgment of this Court in all respects.*fn8 Id. at 10. Petitioner sought certiorari, which was denied.*fn9 Id.

On October 10, 2009, Petitioner filed the instant habeas corpus motion, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, challenging this Court's sentence and requesting that the Court vacate, set aside or correct his sentence, alleging (1) an impermissibly suggestive "show-up" identification; and (2) ineffective assistance of counsel. See Pet'r's Mot. 1.

In the Motion, Petitioner first alleges that his due process rights were violated because the "show-up" identification, during which Cruz identified him as the carjacker at the scene of the accident, was impermissibly suggestive. See id. at 6. Petitioner claims that the process was overly suggestive because he was handcuffed inside a police van when Cruz was brought to the scene; was the only suspect; and was neither brought to the scene of the carjacking, nor brought to the police station and placed in a lineup, to be identified. See Pet'r's Reply 3-4.

Second, Petitioner alleges ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, Christopher G. Furlong, Esq. ("Furlong"), on the following two grounds: (1) trial counsel was ineffective in failing to move to dismiss the indictment; and (2) trial and appellate counsel was ineffective by failing to move to suppress the allegedly suggestive identification.*fn10 See Pet'r's Reply 3; Pet'r's Mot. 6.

III. LEGAL PRINCIPLES

A. Standard of ...


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