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Riddick v. Clarke

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

January 30, 2014

Ronald DeAngelo Riddick, Petitioner,
v.
Harold W. Clarke, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GERALD BRUCE LEE, District Judge.

This Matter comes before the Court on respondent's Motion to Dismiss this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254, filed pro se by Ronald DeAngelo Riddick, a Virginia inmate. Petitioner challenges the constitutionality of his conviction of possession with intent to distribute heroin following a bench trial in the Circuit Court for the City of Portsmouth. After respondent moved to dismiss the petition, Riddick was given the opportunity to file responsive materials, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison , 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) and Local Rule 7(K), and he filed a response. After careful consideration, for the reasonsthat follow, respondent's Motion to Dismiss will be granted, and the petition will be dismissed with prejudice.

I. Background

By final order entered February 18, 2010, Riddick was convicted of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and received a sentence of twenty (20) years in prison with four (4) years suspended. Case No. CR09-1576; Resp. Ex. A. The facts underlying the conviction were described on direct appeal as follow:

Based on information received from a confidential informant, police obtained a search warrant for appellant's home. As they entered, appellant was exiting the bathroom where several heroin capsules were circling in the toilet and two hundred more capsules lay on the floor. In all, nearly six hundred capsules of heroin were recovered. A Portsmouth police officer testified:
Once the Tactical Response Unit secured the residence, [appellant] was placed in the living room area of the residence on the couch. I looked at him and while he was handcuffed, I told him that we would be going into my office to talk about the heroin that was recovered, and at that time he made a spontaneous statement, AH of it is mine.' At that time I advised him, I don't want to talk to you here at your house. We'll talk at my office.'
Right before trial, appellant moved the court to require the Commonwealth to disclose the identity of the confidential informant. While the informant had notified police that he had seen heroin and a firearm in appellant's home, he did not testify at trial. Appellant also argued his All of this is mine' confession should have been suppressed because he had not received the warning required by Miranda v. Arizona , 382 U.S. 436 (1966). After denying both motions and hearing the evidence, the trial court convicted appellant of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute.

Riddick v. Commonwealth, R. No. 0406-10-1 (Va. Ct. App. Sept. 2, 2010), slip op. at 1-2; Resp. Ex. B.

On direct appeal, Riddick argued that: (1) and (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to require the Commonwealth to disclose the identity of the confidential informant; and (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his admission that "All of it is mine." The petition for appeal was denied on September 2, 2010. Id . A three-judge panel concurred in that result on November 23, 2010. Resp. Ex. B. Riddick sought further review by the Supreme Court of Virginia, but his petition was refused on May 20, 2011, and rehearing was denied on September 23, 2011. Riddick v. Commonwealth, R. No. 102298 (Va. May 20, 2011).[1]

On May 24, 2012, Riddick filed a petition for a state writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia, raising the following claims:

A. There was no probable cause for a warrant to search his residence based on the information the magistrate received from the confidential informant.
B. He received ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with a motion to require the Commonwealth to disclose the confidential informant's identity.
C. He received ineffective assistance of counsel at the suppression hearing.
D. His Fourth Amendment rights were violated when there was no probable cause to ...

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