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Baker v. Ricci

January 14, 2010

RALPH BAKER, PETITIONER,
v.
MICHELLE RICCI, RESPONDENTS.



Hon. Susan D. Wigenton

MEMORANDUM OPINION

It appearing that:

1. On July 21, 2009, Ralph Baker, a state-sentenced inmate incarcerated at New Jersey State Prison, executed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Clerk received it on July 22, 2009, together with voluminous exhibits. The Petition challenges a judgment of conviction filed on June 18, 2004, and amended on July 16, 2004, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County, imposing a seven-year term of imprisonment for theft and unlawful possession of a weapon on the following grounds:

Ground One: DENIAL OF THE RIGHT TO CONFRONT WITNESS. THE VICTIM NEVER APPEARED IN ANY PRETRIAL PROCEEDINGS, NEVER APPEARED AT TRIAL IN FACT THE VICTIM FLED THE COUNTRY, BACK TO HIS NATIVE HOMELAND OF TURKEY.

Ground Two: DENIAL OF COUNSEL ON DIRECT APPEAL, PURSUANT TO REMAND MOTION PER THE APPELLATE COURT.

Ground Three: DENIAL OF ACTUAL INNOCENCE, AFTER DNA IMPLICATED A THIRD PARTY.

Ground Four: DENIAL OF TRANSCRIPTS FOR TRIAL AND OR TRANSCRIPTS ON MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL BASED ON NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE TO PREPARE APPEAL, INTERFERENCE WITH THE RIGHT TO DEFEND.

Ground Five: PETITIONER WAS ILLEGALLY DETAINED, SEIZED AND SEARCHED FOR DNA WITHIN HIS INTERNAL ORGANS IN VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT, DUE IN PART BECAUSE THE PETITIONER DNA WAS TAKEN ON SEPTEMBER 4, 2004, BY THE NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND UPLOADED, INTO THE STATE DNA DATABASE. (Docket entry #1-2 at pp. 10-13.)

2. Petitioner asserts that he appealed the conviction and sentence to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. A copy of the opinion of the Appellate Division is attached to the Petition. See State v. Baker, Docket No. A-3855-04T4 slip op. (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., Feb. 21, 2007) (Docket entry #1-5 at pp. 24-30.); see also State v. Baker, 2007 WL 517380 (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., Feb. 21, 2007). Petitioner challenged the conviction in the Appellate Division on the following grounds: (1) Defendant was denied a fair trial as a result of testimony elicited by the prosecutor from defendant's wife indicating that he had been incarcerated; (2) the trial court erred by failing to merge certain weapons charges; (3) the sentence was excessive; and

(4) defendant is entitled to a remand pursuant to State v. Natale. (Docket entry #1-5 at p. 26.)

3. Petitioner asserts that he sought review by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which denied certification on October 20, 2008. See State v. Baker, 196 N.J. 592 (2008).

4. Petitioner asserts that he filed a motion for a new trial, which the Law Division of the New Jersey Superior Court denied on September 12, 2007. (Docket entry #1-2 at pp. 3-8.) It is not clear from the Petition that Petitioner appealed the September 12, 2007, decision to the Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court. (Docket entry #1-2 at p. 8.) This Court's independent research did not reveal any information regarding a ruling by the Appellate Division or the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding Petitioner's motion for a new trial.

5. Section 2254(a) of Title 28 provides in relevant part:

(a) [A] district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of ...


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