The opinion of the court was delivered by: LINDA CARACAPPA, Magistrate Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Now pending before this court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus, filedpursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, by a petitioner currently
incarcerated in the State CorrectionalInstitution at Laurel Highlands,
Pennsylvania. For the reasons which follow, it is recommendedthat the
petition be denied and dismissed.
On March 8, 1995, petitioner pled guilty to rape, two counts of
aggravatedindecent assault, and corruption of minors.*fn1 Specifically,
petitioner admitted to committingsexual assaults on his two and one half
and nine year old daughters. On May 4, 1995, theHonorable Anthony R.
Semeraro of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas sentencedpetitioner
to nine to eighteen years imprisonment for these offenses.
Petitioner directly appealed his sentence to the Superior Court,
arguing that it washarsh and excessive. On January 4, 1996, petitioner's
sentence was affirmed, and his appeal denied.
Petitioner then filed a petition under the Post Conviction Relief Act
(PCRA), andan evidentiary hearing was held on June 21, 1996, before the
Honorable Harry J. Bradley.*fn2 Petitioner testified that he had not
knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered his guiltyplea.
Rather, petitioner claimed that he was merely following the directions of
his attorney.Trial counsel testified to the contrary, arguing that
petitioner, after having been read andexplained the guilty plea
statement, chose to plead guilty to all charges under oath in open
court.On February 4, 1997, the PCRA court denied the petition.
Petitioner appealed the decision, which was later affirmed by the
Superior Courton February 5, 1998. The court permitted appointed counsel
to withdraw his representationunder Commonwealth v. Turner. 518 Pa. 491,
544 A.2d 927 (1988) and Commonwealth v. Finley, 379 Pa. Super. 390,
550 A.2d 213 (1988).
Petitioner filed a second PCRA petition, pro se, on May 20, 1998. On
June 30, 1998, the Honorable Judge Keeler dismissed the petition, and
petitioner failed to file an appeal.
Petitioner filed a third PCRA petition on November 19, 1998, claiming
that hisguilty plea violated his constitutional rights and Criminal Rule
of Procedure 319(a). Thispetition was also dismissed.
The Superior Court affirmed the above dismissal on June 5, 2000. On
November 21, 2000, the court denied petitioner's request to file a
petition for allowance of appeal, nunc pro tunc, to the Pennsylvania
Petitioner filed a fourth PCRA petition on June 11, 2002. The Honorable
Judge Keeler appointed counsel and then subsequently denied petitioner's
request for relief.
Petitioner executed his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on February
2, 2004, setting forth the following claims:
(1) Petitioner's conviction was obtained through a
coerced confession; and
(2) Petitioner's counsel was ineffective in that
he failed to object to unlawfulevidence, assert
due process, and call certain witnesses requested
Respondent retorts that petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
was filedafter the one-year grace period subsequent to the effective date
in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) was exhausted, and thus, is untimely.
Notwithstanding petitioner's allegations of substantive grounds for
relief, oneprocedural obstacle precludes federal review of those claims
timeliness. Under theAntiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act of 1996, ("AEDPA"), enacted April 24, 1996:
A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an
application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person
in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State
court. The limitation period shall run from the
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by
the conclusion of directreview or the expiration
of the time for seeking such review.*fn3
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) (1996). If direct review of a criminal conviction
ended prior to thestatute's effective date, ...