District Judge Joseph F. Bianco


Read Full- Text Decision

Love pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and to a reduced charge of third-degree conspiracy. He was sentenced–as a second felony offender–to a bargained for determinate sentence of seven years in prison and a concurrent indeterminate term of three to six years in prison on the conspiracy charge. Rejecting Love’s claims that an unconscionable breakdown in the state’s Fourth Amendment mechanism occurred precluding his litigation of an illegal search and seizure claim prior to entry of his guilty plea and also his ineffective assistance of counsel claim, district court denied Love 28 USC §2254 habeas relief. All habeas claims were procedurally barred and without merit. Love’s Fourth Amendment claim was unexhausted. He challenged the constitutional validity of a search warrant—as issued absent a thorough investigative basis for its applications—in the context of asserting counsel’s deficiency in seeking the warrant’s suppression. Love did not separately argue in state court that the underlying mechanism for contesting unlawful search and seizures was unconscionably broken. His ineffectiveness claim was procedurally defaulted as a result of his guilty plea and also failed to satisfy both Strickland prongs.