Friday, November 15, 2013

Mosby v. Senkowski case brief

Mosby v. Senkowski case brief summary
470 F.3d 515 (2006)

Petitioner inmate appealed a judgment of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The instant court granted a certificate of appealability limited to the issue of whether failure to raise the suppression issue on direct appeal constituted ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.

The inmate argued that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of appellate counsel when, on direct appeal, his counsel failed to raise a suppression issue arising under the Fourth Amendment and the New York State Constitution. The state trial court ruled that the inmate lacked standing to challenge his warrantless arrest as he did not live in the house where he was arrested, and denied his motion to suppress a confession and photo identification that ultimately led to his murder conviction.


  • As the underlying suppression issue, when considered in accordance with the attenuation analysis of Brown, lacked merit, appellate counsel's omission did not prejudice the inmate. 
  • The state courts would in all probability have found that the inmate's custodial confession was too attenuated from his warrantless arrest to require suppression. 
  • Consequently, the failure to raise the issue did not prejudice the inmate within the meaning of Strickland. 
  • As the trial court's denial of the inmate's motion to suppress that evidence did not deprive him of any right under current New York law, his appellate counsel's failure to raise the issue did not render the proceeding unfair.

The district court's denial of the inmate's petition for a writ of habeas corpus was affirmed.

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