United States District Court, D. Connecticut
DEAN B. HOLLIDAY, SR., Petitioner,
KIMBERLY WEIR, Respondent.
RULING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (DOC.
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Dean B. Holliday, Sr. (“Holliday”), currently
incarcerated at the Osborn Correctional Institution in
Somers, Connecticut, filed this habeas corpus action pursuant
to section 2254 of title 28 of the United States Code,
challenging his conviction for attempted robbery and
conspiracy to commit robbery. See Petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus (“Pet.”) (Doc. No. 1). The
respondent contends that Holliday is not entitled to federal
habeas relief on any ground for relief asserted in his
Petition. See Respondent's Memorandum of Law in
Opposition to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Application for Writ of
Habeas Corpus (“Mem. in Opp.”) (Doc. No. 11). For
the reasons that follow, the court concludes that the
Petition should be denied.
April 26, 2006, Holliday was convicted following a jury trial
in the Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District
of New Britain on two counts of attempt to commit robbery and
one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. See Pet.
at 2. He was sentenced to a total effective term of
imprisonment of forty years, twenty years on the first
attempt charge, twenty years consecutive on the conspiracy
charge, and ten years concurrent on the second attempt
charge. See id.
to filing a direct appeal, Holliday sought review of his
sentence by the Sentence Review Division of the Superior
Court. See State v. Holliday, 982 A.2d 268, 270
(Conn. App. 2009), cert. denied, 989 A.2d 605 (Conn.
2010). On April 26, 2005, the Sentence Review Division
remanded the case to the trial court with an order to
resentence Holliday to thirteen years on the first attempt
charge and twelve years consecutive on the conspiracy charge,
for a total effective sentence of twenty-five years. See
id. The sentence on the second attempt charge was not
altered. See id.
the sentence review was pending, Holliday appealed his
conviction. See State v. Holliday, 856 A.2d 1041
(Conn. App.), cert. denied, 861 A.2d 1178 (Conn.
2004). On direct appeal, Holliday challenged his conviction
on four grounds: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support
his conviction, (2) the trial court improperly admitted
evidence of prior misconduct, (3) the trial court improperly
admitted Holliday's statement to the police, and (4)
prosecutorial misconduct. See id. at 1044. The
Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed the conviction, and the
Connecticut Supreme Court denied certification to appeal.
August 2005, Holliday filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus in this court. See Holliday v. Martin, No.
3:05-cv-1243 (JCH), Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc.
No. 1). When the respondent moved to dismiss the Petition as
containing some unexhausted claims, Holliday sought to
voluntarily withdraw the Petition without prejudice to
refiling. See Holliday v. Martin, Notice of
Voluntary Dismissal (Doc. No. 29). The court granted this
request. See Holliday v. Martin, Order Granting
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal (Doc. No. 30).
March 2006, Holliday filed a Petition for New Trial in state
court. See Holliday v. State of
Connecticut, No. HHB-CV06-4012524-S, 2007 WL 1121270, at
*1 (Conn. Super. Ct. Mar. 29, 2007). In support of his
Petition, Holliday cited newly discovered evidence, namely
two redacted United States Department of Veterans Affairs
(“VA”) police reports. See id. The state
court found that the Petition was time-barred. See
Id. The appellate court affirmed the state court's
decision on appeal. See Holliday v. Connecticut, 960
A.2d 1101, 1103 (Conn. App. 2008), cert denied, 967
A.2d 112 (Conn. 2009).
2008, Holliday filed a Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence in
the criminal case, on the ground that his consecutive
sentences violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments. See State v. Holliday, 982 A.2d 268, 269
(Conn. App. 2009). The trial court denied the Motion, and the
judgment was affirmed by the Connecticut Appellate Court.
also filed three state habeas actions. Holliday filed the
first action in July 2005, asserting several ineffective
assistance of counsel claims that are not included in this
action. See Holliday v. Warden, No.
TSR-CV05-4000577-S, 2009 WL 6022059, at *14 (Conn. Super. Ct.
Nov. 30, 2009), appeal dismissed, 37 A.3d 170, 171
(Conn. App.), cert. denied, 44 A.3d 182 (Conn.
2012). Holliday filed the second state habeas action in July
2010, asserting a claim of actual innocence. The trial court
noted that the petition was a reiteration of claims already
presented and denied the petition. See Holliday v.
Warden, State Prison, No. TSR-CV10-4003667-S, 2012 WL
7656639, at *1 (Conn. Super. Ct. Nov. 16, 2012).
Holliday's appeal was denied. See Mem. in Opp.,
App. B, Appellate Court Docket (Doc. No. 11-2) at 29-30.
Holliday commenced a third state habeas action in April 2016,
but withdrew his petition in July 2017. See Mem. in
Opp., App. B., Superior Court Docket (Doc. No. 11-2) at
commenced this action by petition filed July 5, 2017.
Connecticut Court of Appeals determined that the jury
reasonably could have found the following facts. On April 4,
2001, Holliday was cleaning a retail store in anticipation of
selling a failed business that he owned with his
fiancée. Holliday, 856 A.2d at 1044. Between
noon and 1:00 p.m., Holliday drove his fiancée's
car to the Veterans Administration Federal Credit Union
(“the Credit Union”) in Newington, Connecticut.
Id. He parked in a no parking zone. Id.
Holliday was wearing latex gloves, heavy clothing, and a
backpack. Id. Before entering the Credit Union,
Holliday put the dust mask he had been using while cleaning
the store over his face. Id.
manager was called when an employee became alarmed at
Holliday's appearance. Id. When the manager
approached him, Holliday lifted the mask slightly and asked
if a person could cash a check if he were not a member of the
Credit Union. Id. When the manager stated that he
could not cash a check there, Holliday thanked her and left
the Credit Union. Id. He got into his car and drove
away. Id. The encounter lasted about forty-five
seconds. Id. The manager contacted the police and
told them of Holliday's suspicious behavior. Id.
That evening, Holliday called his friend and told him that
the security in the Credit Union was poor. Id.
following day, in response to her encounter with Holliday,
the manager advised her employees to be prepared for trouble.
Id. Holliday met his friend at the store, and the
two men went to the Credit Union. Id. When they
arrived, Holliday parked the car close to the building, again
in a no parking zone. Id. The day was warm and the
front door to the Credit Union was propped open. Id.
An employee of the Credit Union was walking to the front door
as Holliday and his friend exited the car. Id. Both
men were wearing latex gloves and dust masks. Id.
The employee saw the men and saw Holliday reach into the back
seat of the car and remove a black bag. Id. In
response to the earlier warning from her manager, the
employee slammed and locked the front door of the Credit
Union. Id. Another employee contacted the manager
who activated the alarm and called the police. Id.
and his friend fled. Id. Holliday drove at a high
rate of speed toward West Hartford. Id. He drove
through traffic lights, wove through traffic, and drove on
the pedestrian walkway. Id. Newington and West
Hartford police responded to the call and pursued Holliday
and his friend into West Hartford. Id. Holliday
tried to avoid the police by driving into an industrial area,
where the men abandoned the car and fled on foot.
Id. A police dog tracked Holliday and his friend to
a dumpster about two miles from the car. Id. The men
were arrested. Id. at 1045. The police brought the
Credit Union manager and two employees to the dumpster where
they each identified Holliday, his friend, and the car.
were taken to police headquarters in separate police cars.
Id. The police searched Holliday's
fiancée's car and found two pairs of latex gloves,
two dust masks, two duffel bags, another bag containing
marijuana, and a .22 caliber shell. Id. At police
headquarters, Holliday told the police that he knew his
friend was planning to rob the Credit Union and that his
friend frequently carried a large military knife and a silver
handgun. Id. The police took Holliday back to the
area where the men had abandoned the car and found a silver
.22 caliber handgun. Id. The police returned to
headquarters with Holliday, and he gave another statement.
confessed as follows: he had spoken with his friend the night
before and told his friend that the security at the Credit
Union was weak; he went to the Credit Union with his friend
that morning; he gave his friend the dust mask; his friend
had put on the dust mask and got out of the car; he knew that
his friend was going to rob the Credit Union; when the
employee slammed the door, he thought they had been detected
and the police had been called; he fled from the Credit Union
because the car had illegal marker plates and there was
marijuana in the car; he had broken several traffic laws when
fleeing from the police; and he knew his actions were wrong.
Connecticut Appellate Court also noted that the jury could
have found that, on August 30, 1995, Holliday entered a West
Hartford bank wearing a stocking over his head and carrying a
BB gun. Id. Holliday robbed the bank and put the
money in a backpack he was carrying. Id. He was
caught the same day and confessed. Id. The jury
could have considered this information only in determining
Holliday's intent. Id.
Standard of Review
federal court will entertain a petition for writ of habeas
corpus challenging a state court conviction only if the
petitioner claims that his custody violates the Constitution
or federal laws. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (2016).
federal court cannot grant a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus filed by a person in state custody with regard to any
claim that was rejected on the merits by the state court