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McCarthy v. Manson

August 9, 1983

ROBERT J. MCCARTHY, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
JOHN MANSON, COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTIONS OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from a judgment entered in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Cabranes, J., granting by consent decree appellee's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Affirmed.

Before:

MANSFIELD, MESKILL AND KEARSE, Circuit Judges.

Per Curiam:

John R. Manson, Commissioner of Corrections for the State of Connecticut (Commissioner), appeals from the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Cabranes, J., granting by consent decree Robert J. McCarthy's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Affirmed.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner Robert J. McCarthy was arrested on April 5, 1975 in Norwalk, Connecticut and charged with murder and attempted murder. McCarthy pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected to be tried by a jury. Although his trial was originally scheduled for July 10, 1975, it was delayed at the request of the state until November 3, 1976 -- some nineteen months after McCarthy's arrest.

Petitioner was incarcerated throughout the nineteen month period and requested on several occasions that he receive a speedy trial. McCarthy filed a speedy trial motion on August 28, 1975 and, after that motion was denied, he filed at least three additional motions seeking dismissal of his case on constitutional speedy trial grounds. The state trial judge denied each of these motions. After his first trial ended in a mistrial, McCarthy was retried on January 11, 1977. The jury returned a guilty verdict three weeks later and the judge sentenced McCarthy to concurrent terms of ten to twenty years on the attempted murder charge and twenty five years to life on the murder charge. See J. App. at 537.

McCarthy subsequently appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, claiming among other things that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated. After his conviction was affirmed by that court, see State v. McCarthy, 179 Conn. 1, 425 A.2d 924 (1979), McCarthy petitioned for habeas corpus relief in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. His case was assigned to Magistrate Eagan for a hearing and recommended decision pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) (Supp. V 1981).

Magistrate Eagan filed his proposed findings of fact and recommended decision on October 29, 1981. In his opinion, the magistrate found that petitioner had exhausted available state remedies with respect to his speedy trial claim and that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated by the actions of the state. Applying the Barker v. Wingo test, 407 U.S. 514, 92 S. Ct. 2182, 33 L. Ed. 2d 101 (1972), the magistrate held that (1) the nineteen month delay was "presumptively prejudicial;" (2) McCarthy had vigorously and timely sought a speedy trial; (3) there was no justifiable explanation for the delay; and (4) McCarthy's substantive rights were materially prejudiced by the delay. See J. App. at 267-89. The magistrate recommended that the writ of habeas corpus be granted and that McCarthy be released from prison.

The state did not object to the magistrate's recommended decision. Under the federal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (Supp. V 1981), and rules of procedure governing federal habeas corpus cases, Rule 8(b)(3), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, objections must be filed within ten days of service of a magistrate's recommended decision. Rule 2, Local Rules for Magistrates of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, provides that objections must be submitted within fifteen days after the filing of the recommended decision.

Judge Cabranes did not act on the recommended decision of the magistrate immediately upon the expiration of the "objection period." See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (Supp. V 1981). McCarthy subsequently filed a motion on December 10, 1981 seeking immediate review and acceptance of the recommended decision. Judge Cabranes scheduled a hearing for January 13, 1982 to consider that motion.

At the hearing, the Assistant State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Fairfield, acting as duly authorized counsel for the Commissioner, conceded that McCarthy's constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated.*fn1 Counsel agreed that McCarthy should be released from prison and, consistent with the express wishes of both parties, Judge Cabranes entered judgment in favor of McCarthy on January 18, 1982. An amended judgment was entered on January 19, 1982 for the sole purpose of "stating with particularity that the judgment was entered at the urging" of both parties. J. App. at 540. No appeal was taken from either judgment.

On January 26, 1982 -- eighty-nine days after the magistrate's recommended decision and eight days after judgment was entered -- the Office of the Chief State's Attorney for the State of Connecticut filed a motion to open and amend judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). The state argued that McCarthy had failed to exhaust his speedy trial claim in state court because he introduced new and material evidence for the first time in federal court. The state further claimed that trial counsel was not ...


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