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Campaneria v. Reid

decided: December 12, 1989.

RUBEN CAMPANERIA, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
THEODORE REID, SUPERINTENDENT, FISHKILL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, ROBERT ABRAMS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Duffy, J., dismissing appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Affirmed. Judge Kearse dissents in a separate opinion.

Author: Meskill

Meskill, Circuit Judge:

Petitioner Ruben Campaneria appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Duffy, J., dismissing his petition for a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (1982). After a jury trial in the Supreme Court of New York, Campaneria was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 125.20 (McKinney 1987), criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 220.16 (McKinney 1980 & Supp. 1989), criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 265.03 (McKinney 1980), and criminal possession of a weapon in the third and fourth degrees, N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.02, 265.01 (McKinney 1980 & Supp. 1989). His conviction arose out of the events surrounding the killing of Juan Sanchez on January 10, 1984.

Campaneria claims that he is being held in respondent's custody unlawfully because the state trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain statements he made to law enforcement officials and in failing to instruct the jury on a lesser included offense. We find these claims to be without merit and affirm the judgment of the district court.

BACKGROUND

The facts leading to the petitioner's state court conviction are for the most part undisputed. At approximately 9:40 a.m. on January 10, 1984, New York City Police Officers Wieboldt, Caponigro and Pierno received a radio call about a shooting at the Holland Hotel in Manhattan. Upon arriving at the hotel, the officers found Campaneria in the hotel lobby, bleeding from a stab wound in the back. Campaneria told the officers that he had been stabbed and that he had shot his assailant, who was now lying in the hallway on the tenth floor. Wieboldt ordered Campaneria to get on the elevator and accompanied him to the tenth floor. Wieboldt admitted on cross-examination that if Campaneria had asked or tried to leave, he would not have been permitted to do so. Wieboldt did not indicate this to Campaneria, however. In the elevator, Wieboldt asked Campaneria where the gun was, and Campaneria told him that he had thrown it into a trash can in the lobby. A .22 caliber revolver was recovered later from the trash can.

When Wieboldt and Campaneria arrived at the tenth floor, they found Sanchez lying in the hallway twenty feet from the doorway to Campaneria's room. Sanchez was still bleeding from the head, but he was dead. Wieboldt asked Campaneria what had happened. Campaneria answered that he and Sanchez, whom he knew only as "Morro," had had an argument in his room over Campaneria's girlfriend and that when Sanchez tried to stab him, he shot Sanchez. Wieboldt then asked if he could go into Campaneria's room. Campaneria said he had locked his key in the room, but did not object to the officers obtaining a key from the hotel clerk. After obtaining the key, the officers found the room in disarray and a bloody knife on the floor. A search of the room also uncovered one-half ounce of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and brass knuckles.

At about this time, the ambulance arrived, and the emergency medical services personnel began to treat Campaneria's wound. Detective Cianfrone also arrived and observed that Campaneria appeared dazed and in pain. Campaneria was placed in the ambulance, and officer Caponigro accompanied him to the hospital. On the way, Caponigro read Campaneria his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694, 86 S. Ct. 1602 (1966), in English. Campaneria indicated that he understood the rights and that he was willing to answer questions. He said that the fight was over a girlfriend and that drugs were involved. He also said that he was in pain and occasionally lapsed into Spanish. The medical report relating to the ambulance transfer indicated that his status was "critical" but that he was "alert/observant."

At approximately 11:45 a.m. that same day, Detective Cianfrone arrived at the hospital to speak with Campaneria, who was in the intensive care unit (ICU). In response to Cianfrone's inquiry, Campaneria said that he was not ready to be interviewed, and Cianfrone agreed to return later. At about 12:15 p.m., Cianfrone returned, and Campaneria consented to an interview. Cianfrone then read Campaneria his Miranda rights again in English. Caponigro also was present through most of the questioning. Campaneria answered the questions in broken yet understandable English, sometimes lapsing into Spanish. He said that he had shot Sanchez after Sanchez had suddenly stabbed him in the back while they were discussing Campaneria's girlfriend. The two then struggled, and Sanchez's knife fell to the floor. Sanchez tried to run away, and Campaneria shot him. Campaneria also indicated that he was in pain during this interview.

At about 7:00 p.m. that evening, Cianfrone returned to the hospital to ask Campaneria if he felt well enough to be interviewed by Assistant District Attorney DiNatale, but found that Campaneria had just undergone surgery. Some time after 9:00 p.m. that same evening, Cianfrone and DiNatale, accompanied by a video technician with video recording equipment, visited Campaneria and asked him if he felt well enough to be interviewed. Campaneria said that he was not, and the detective and the assistant district attorney left.

They returned the next morning at 10:00 a.m. with an audio technician and audio recording equipment. Although Campaneria was still in the ICU with various tubes running into his body and had received pain medication earlier in the morning, the nurse at the ICU said Campaneria should be alert enough to be questioned. Cianfrone asked Campaneria if he wanted to talk with them, to which Campaneria responded, "No, I don't want to talk to you now, maybe come back later." DiNatale then told Campaneria that "If you want to talk to us, now is the time to do it." Campaneria then agreed to the interview. The audio tape recorder was set up, and DiNatale read Campaneria his Miranda rights, which Campaneria stated he understood, and began questioning him.

At this interrogation, Campaneria said that when Sanchez entered his room, Campaneria turned, and Sanchez stabbed him in the back. Campaneria then fought to protect himself, cutting his hands in the process. The knife fell to the floor. Because Sanchez tried to get Campaneria's gun, which was sitting on his bed, Campaneria grabbed the gun and fired a shot at Sanchez. Sanchez then fled the room, and Campaneria fired again as Sanchez ran into the hallway, hitting Sanchez in the head. Campaneria then told a hotel employee to call the police and threw the gun into the trash can in the lobby. Campaneria stated during the interrogation that he thought the fight was over a girlfriend. He admitted that the cocaine and drug paraphernalia in the room were his but denied that he was dealing in drugs or that the fight with Sanchez was about drugs. Towards the end of the interview, he was asked how he felt, and he responded that he felt dizzy, yet indicated a willingness to continue. He also asked for water. DiNatale said that they could not give him water because of orders from his doctor, although the record appears to indicate that DiNatale had not spoken to any doctors. Campaneria occasionally wrinkled his face during the interview, showing discomfort. His medical records show that, despite having a serious wound, Campaneria was at all times alert and oriented and that his condition was stable.

Campaneria was charged by indictment with murder in the second degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, N.Y. Penal Law § 220.16, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second, third and fourth degrees, N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.03, 265.02, 265.01. Prior to trial, the state trial court held a hearing on Campaneria's motion to suppress the statements he had made to the various law enforcement officials. At that hearing, Police Officers Wieboldt, Caponigro and Pierno, Detective Cianfrone, and Assistant District Attorney DiNatale all testified. At the completion of the hearing, the trial court denied from the bench Campaneria's motion to suppress. However, the court did not make any specific factual findings on the record and did not file a written opinion.

At trial, Campaneria's statements, including the audio recording which was played for the jury, were offered into evidence against him. Campaneria testified on his own behalf through an interpreter, stating that he was twenty-three years old and had emigrated from Cuba three years earlier. He testified that Sanchez had knocked on the door and that he had let Sanchez in, leaving the door open. He turned away, and Sanchez suddenly stabbed him in the back. The two struggled, and the knife fell to the floor. Campaneria reached for his gun, which was lying on his bed at the time, because he was afraid that Sanchez would try to grab it. They continued to struggle and moved towards the open door. The two were almost out of the room when Campaneria was able to fire off a shot. The gun happened to be pointed at Sanchez's head when he fired the shot. Sanchez stumbled out the door and down the hallway and fell dead. Campaneria denied having shot Sanchez as he tried to flee and could not recall how many shots he had actually fired at Sanchez.

Campaneria explained the contradiction between his testimony and his prior statements as the result of his inability to articulate his account of the events with any precision during his interrogations and because he was not fully aware of what he was being asked. He also testified that he had asked DiNatale during the recorded interview to stop the interview because he did not understand English.

The trial court denied Campaneria's request to submit to the jury the lesser included offense of second-degree, or "reckless" manslaughter. During their deliberations, the jury had the recorded interrogation played back. The jury subsequently found Campaneria had acted under extreme emotional disturbance and convicted him of manslaughter in the first degree. It also convicted him of the cocaine and weapons charges.

Campaneria appealed his convictions, challenging the voluntariness of his statements, their admissibility under Miranda, and the failure to instruct on the lesser included offense. The Appellate Division affirmed the convictions, but reduced the minimum term of his indefinite prison sentence from nine years to six years. People v. Campaneria, 123 A.D.2d 271, 506 N.Y.S.2d 344 (1st Dep't 1986). Leave to appeal this decision to the New ...


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