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Beltran v. Martin

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

March 20, 2018

JIMMY MARTIN, Warden, Respondent.



         Petitioner, a state prisoner appearing pro se, has filed this Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is challenging his conviction for Rape in the First Degree, entered in the District Court of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, Case No. CF-2014-3229. Respondent has responded to the Petition and filed the relevant state court records, including the transcript of Petitioner's trial (hereinafter "TR __"). The matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). For the following reasons, it is recommended that the Petition be denied.

         I. Background

         To celebrate their impending graduation, Emily Long and some of her sorority sisters rented a party bus on the evening of April 18, 2014, to take them from Norman, OK, to Bricktown in Oklahoma City. They invited some male friends, including Tanner Chance, to accompany them. They arrived at Club Candy in Bricktown around 10:30 p.m. Ms. Long and Mr. Chance, both intoxicated at this point, were seen kissing at the bar.

         Later, Ms. Long was escorted out of the Club Candy by its bouncers, and Mr. Chance left with her in case she needed help. They walked around Bricktown several minutes before arriving at Crabtown. Mr. Chance started to go inside to get another beer, but when he saw Ms. Long talking to a man he did not know, he went back outside. As Ms. Long and Petitioner walked to the other side of Bricktown, Mr. Chance followed. The three sat down on a ledge, and Ms. Long began kissing Petitioner. Mr. Chance left when he got a text that the party bus was about to depart for Norman. He tried to get Ms. Long to go back with him, but she refused. Mr. Chance left Ms. Long with Petitioner.

         Jason Carson, Ryan Farris and two girls they had met that evening left the Wormy Dog bar in Bricktown through the back door into the alley around 2:00 a.m. Mr. Carson went behind a dumpster in the alley to urinate. He later testified he saw a man and a woman, later identified as Ms. Long and Petitioner, who appeared to be engaged in sexual intercourse. He told his friends about the encounter. Mr. Carson testified at trial that Ms. Long was lying on her back with her head against the fence, and Petitioner was on top of her with his left hand over her mouth. Petitioner's pants were down, and he was lying between her legs, apparently having sex with Ms. Long. Petitioner slowly got up when he saw Mr. Carson, pulled up his pants, and walked away. TR vol. II, 214.

         Mr. Carson approached Ms. Long and she looked "dazed, " "glazed-eyed, " and "halfway conscious/unconscious." Ms. Long mumbled "he's raping me" after she got up. TR vol. II, at 218. As she walked out from behind the dumpster, she also said, "Help me." TR vol. II, at 189. Ms. Long was not wearing shoes, and her body suit had been ripped open, exposing her crotch.

         After Petitioner casually walked past Mr. Carson as if nothing had happened, he began to run. Mr. Carson and Mr. Farris ran after him, but they could not catch up with him. Mr. Farris had attracted the attention of a police officer, however, and reported the possible rape.

         Sgt. Scott Sanders was in his patrol car when Mr. Farris ran by and said a guy had just raped a girl. Sgt. Sanders saw Petitioner run by and recognized him as a man he was familiar with from the Bricktown area who was frequently seen jogging there at night. When he lost sight of Petitioner, Sgt. Sanders released a radio description of the man he was pursuing as "our jogger" because most of the police officers who worked in Bricktown knew who he was.

         Sgt. Jonathan Lapuzza heard the call that Petitioner was a suspect in a rape in Bricktown. He and his partner drove to the area of the Deep Deuce section of Oklahoma City north of Bricktown. The two found Petitioner, detained him, and took him back to the scene of the Bricktown crime for questioning. Lt. Balderrama asked Petitioner what happened, and the Petitioner told him:

[h]e was walking down the alley and saw our victim. She was squatting down trying to urinate. She had dirt all over her and she fell to the ground. [Petitioner] tried to help her up and she started to scream. He then, [Petitioner], saw the victim yelling at him. Then the police got there, and he got scared and ran basically.

TR vol. Ill. at 32.

         After consulting with the supervisor for the sex crimes unit, Lt.

         Balderrama arrested Petitioner. He was incarcerated in the Oklahoma County Detention Center. Several days later, Petitioner was questioned a second time through a translator.[1] Before the questioning began, Petitioner was advised of his Miranda rights in Spanish, his native language. He was questioned only after signing a form written in Spanish, specifically stating he was waiving his rights under Miranda. TR vol. I, at 14.

         Petitioner told police he had met Ms. Long and a man he referred to as the Italian earlier in the evening. He asked Ms. Long if he could help her, but he did not say why he thought she needed help. Petitioner said he and Ms. Long began kissing, and she bit him on the neck. Petitioner said Mr. Chance got jealous, began kissing Ms. Long and penetrated Ms. Long's vagina with his finger. Later, according to Petitioner, Mr. Chance got mad, made an obscene gesture and left. Petitioner said he stayed with Ms. Long and tried to help her urinate. He said a couple arrived and asked what was happening. At that point, he and Ms. Long stood up. Petitioner said something happened that caused the couple to call the police, and because he did not want any trouble with the police, he ran. When asked what happened to cause the men to call the police, Petitioner said maybe they heard what was going on. Petitioner stated he did not know if Ms. Long's DNA would be found on his penis, and he said he did not know whether his penis touched her vagina.

         In 2015, Petitioner was tried before a jury on one count of first degree rape arising from the sexual assault of Ms. Long. Consistent with the jury's recommendation, Petitioner was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment.

         On appeal, Petitioner raised three grounds for relief from the conviction, asserting first that the admission into evidence of his first statement to police violated his right to due process and privilege against self-incrimination in violation of the federal and state constitutions. Second, Petitioner asserted that insufficient evidence was presented at his trial to convict him of the crime of first degree rape. Finally, Petitioner alleged the trial ...

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