Vega v. Walsh, No. 10-2540 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Petitioner was convicted, inter alia, of murder and appealed the denial of his petition for a wit of habeas corpus brought under 28 U.S.C. 2254. Petitioner alleged that his rights were violated by the trial court's admission of (1) evidence of uncharged crimes and a tattoo featuring the word "Enforcer" and (2) the testimony of a medical examiner about an autopsy she had not performed. The district court rejected both claims. The court affirmed the judgment, holding that petitioner's first claim was without merit where, in admitting the contested evidence, the trial court reasonably applied New York law in a manner that was not contrary to or an unreasonable application of United States law or the Constitution. The evidence at issue was at least arguably relevant, and even assuming there was error, the evidence was not "so extremely unfair that its admission violate[d] 'fundamental conceptions of justice[.]'" The court also held that petitioner's second claim also failed because the state court's rulings were not contrary to clearly established federal law at the time.