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WHITE v. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

July 15, 2004.

MELVIN WHITE, Petitioner
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al Respondents.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORMA SHAPIRO, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Melvin White ("White") is a state prisoner currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution in Huntington, Pennsylvania. White, filing a pro se petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, claimed he was actually innocent of the charges for which he was convicted. The Commonwealth, responding to the petition, asserted that White's claims were procedurally defaulted and untimely. The court referred White's petition to Magistrate Judge Linda Caracappa (Judge Caracappa) for a Report and Recommendation (R & R), and Judge Caracappa recommended the petition be denied.*fn1 Presently before the court are the petitioner's Objections to the R & R. II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  On September 26, 2000, White entered a negotiated plea agreement to charges of rape and endangering the welfare of a child*fn2 with a sentence of five to ten years' imprisonment. The written plea colloquy informed White that he had a right to a trial and by accepting the plea he was waiving his pre-trial rights and right to a trial by a judge or jury. The written plea colloquy also informed him of his right to appeal and that he could have faced twenty-seven years in jail if he were found guilty at trial.

  In addition to the written plea colloquy, White acknowledged that his plea was voluntary and knowing. White admitted orally to the facts presented by the Commonwealth supporting the underlying charges. The judge advised White that he had ten days to ask the judge to reconsider acceptance of the negotiated sentence and thirty days to appeal to the Superior Court. White did not file a state court appeal or petition under the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA") 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9541, et seq.

  In his habeas petition, filed August 5, 2002, White claimed he was actually innocent of the rape charge because the factual basis of his conviction could support only the charge of "attempted rape." He also asserted his constitutional rights were violated when he pleaded guilty, his lawyer was ineffective because she did not seek any post-conviction relief, and the trial court failed to inform him of the maximum sentence.

  Judge Caracappa concluded that White's claims had not been exhausted because they were not raised in state court and the claims had been procedurally defaulted because review by any state court was foreclosed. Judge Caracappa also concluded that White's habeas petition was untimely.

  III. DISCUSSION

  In his Objections, White argues his lawyer "deceived him into believing that a direct appeal was pending," and he is actually innocent of the rape charge.*fn3 A. Timeliness of the Habeas Petition

  White's petition is governed by the federal habeas statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2241, et seq., amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"), effective April 24, 1996. Section 2244(d) of the statute creates a one-year time limitation on filing:

  (1) 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 latest of —

 
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by the State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

  White was sentenced on September 26, 2000; his direct appeal time expired on October 26, 2000. See, Pa. R.A.P. 903(a) (requiring notice of appeal to be filed "within thirty days of the entry of the order from which the appeal is taken."). Because no appeal to the Superior or Supreme Court was filed, White had until October 25, 2001, to file a timely federal habeas petition, absent statutory or equitable tolling. White filed his petition on August 5, 2002, more than nine months after the statutory deadline.

  There are statutory exceptions to the one year time limitation. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(B)-(D). However, White fails to satisfy any of these. He does not allege that any state action prevented him from filing his petition or that any claim ...


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