FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. George A. O'Toole, Jr., U.S. District
Catherine J. Hinton, with whom Rankin & Sultan was on
brief, for appellant.
Matthew P. Landry, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal
Bureau, with whom Maura Healey, Attorney General, was on
brief, for appellee.
Torruella, Kayatta, and Barron, Circuit Judges.
BARRON, Circuit Judge.
Walker appeals from the dismissal of the federal petition for
writ of habeas corpus that he brings pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. In his petition, he challenges his convictions
under Massachusetts law for murder and other offenses on the
ground that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in
violation of the Sixth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. We affirm.
convictions arose out of the following events, which are not
in dispute. On September 16, 2000, Francis Stephens and
José Astacio were shot at the corner of Glenway and
Harlem Streets in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston,
Massachusetts. Astacio received one gunshot wound to the
chest but survived, while Stephens suffered multiple gunshot
wounds and died.
February of 2004, in connection with these shootings, Walker
and Willie Johnson were indicted in Suffolk County Superior
Court in Boston, Massachusetts for murder and other related
Massachusetts law crimes. The joint trial began on November
the trial, the prosecution introduced testimony from Boston
Police Department Detective John Martel and eyewitness
Sylvester Harrison. Detective Martel described an interview
with Harrison, who picked Walker's picture out of an
array of photographs that Martel had presented to him,
identifying Walker as the man whom Harrison had observed at
the scene of the shootings. Harrison, for his part,
corroborated some of Martel's testimony but testified
that he had been pressured by the police into making a
selection from the array. In addition to Martel's and
Harrison's testimony, the prosecution also relied at
trial on testimony from three other witnesses -- Sharod
Clark, Terence Dotson, and Michael Boyd -- each of whom
testified to having known Walker and to having, at one point,
resided with Walker in the neighborhood surrounding the
Franklin Hill housing projects in Boston. Both Clark and Boyd
testified that Walker had been involved in the shootings and
that he had described to them his involvement in those
shootings. All three acknowledged during their testimony that
they expected that their cooperation with the
Commonwealth's investigation would result in their
receiving lenient treatment for unrelated charges that were
then pending against each of them.
the jury began deliberations, it sent a message to the trial
judge that noted that the jurors were "deadlocked."
The jury explained in that message that it feared that it
would be unable to reach a unanimous decision. In response to
the message, the trial judge instructed the jury to continue
deliberating, and the jury responded by asking the trial
judge to permit it to review the notes from Detective
Martel's interview with Harrison. The trial judge replied
that those notes were not in evidence but that the jurors
should rely on their "collective memory" of both
Detective Martel's testimony concerning Harrison's
identification of Walker and the testimony that Harrison
himself provided at trial about the identification.
December 9, 2005, after eight days of deliberations, the jury
returned verdicts that found Walker guilty of the following
Massachusetts law offenses: first degree murder, armed
assault with intent to murder, and carrying an unlicensed
firearm. The jury acquitted Johnson of all charges.
trial judge sentenced Walker to life imprisonment for murder,
three to five years of imprisonment for possession of a
firearm, and six to eight years of imprisonment for armed
assault with intent to murder. Walker both appealed his
convictions and filed a motion for post-conviction relief,
claiming, among other things, that his defense counsel had
provided ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of
the Sixth Amendment to the federal Constitution by failing to
move to suppress testimony concerning Harrison's
same judge who conducted Walker's trial presided over an
evidentiary hearing on his post-trial motion. In a 137-page
order, the judge denied the motion. Commonwealth
v. Walker, No. 2004-10099, 2009 WL 335930, at *1
(Mass. Supp. Feb. 11, 2009). Walker then appealed that
decision. That appeal was subsequently consolidated with his
direct appeal before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
("SJC"). Among other things, Walker challenged his
convictions on the ground that he had received ineffective
assistance of counsel in violation of both Massachusetts law
and the United States Constitution in consequence of his
counsel's failure to move to suppress the evidence of
Harrison's out-of-court identification of Walker.
Commonwealth v. Walker, 953 N.E.2d 195, 199
September 21, 2011, the SJC unanimously affirmed Walker's
convictions and affirmed the order denying his motion for
post-conviction relief. Id. at 199-200. In doing so,
the SJC rejected, among other things, his ineffective
assistance of counsel claims. Id.
December 17, 2012, Walker filed this federal habeas petition
in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In that
petition, he brought a number of claims for relief, including
a claim that he had received ineffective assistance of
counsel under the federal Constitution. The District Court
denied relief on all of ...