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Woolley v. Ashbridge

January 3, 2006

MARK A. WOOLLEY, PETITIONER,
v.
DONNA ASHBRIDGE, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

Petitioner, Mark Woolley, currently a patient at the State Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania, commenced a pro se civil rights action (Civil Action No. 3:03-CV-1031) pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which the Court summarily dismissed on screening. Petitioner filed an appeal of the dismissal, and while the appeal was pending, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which was erroneously docketed in the civil rights case. Subsequently, the error was discovered, and this Court issued an Order (Civil Action No. 3:03-CV-1031, Doc. 31) directing the Clerk of Court to strike the petition from the civil rights action and open a new habeas corpus case to a new docket number. Pursuant to that Order, the Clerk of Court opened the instant action as a petition for writ of habeas corpus; since Petitioner is challenging his continued detention pursuant to an order of a state court, it was opened as a habeas petition filed pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondents are the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, and three individuals: Donna Ashbridge, Pat Paquara, and Robert Bruenes. The Court issued a show cause order, Respondents filed an answer to the petition with Exhibits (Doc. 25), and the answer was not traversed. The matter is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the petition will be denied.

II. Background

The following allegations, set forth in Respondents' answer to the habeas petition, are accepted by the Court as true.*fn1 Petitioner is currently involuntarily held at Danville State Hospital ("Danville") pursuant to a civil commitment Order obtained in proceedings under Pennsylvania's Mental Health Procedures Act ("MHPA"), 50 Pa.C.S. § 7301, et seq. (Doc. 25, Ex. A at 1, ¶ 1.) His current treatment at Danville began after he displayed aggressive behavior while a patient at Clarion Psychiatric Center, and he was taken into custody pursuant to a petition filed under § 304 (c) (50 Pa.C.S. § 7304(c)) of the MHPA. Petitioner has been hospitalized several times in the past, including stays in Pennsylvania at Clarion Psychiatric Center, The Meadows, and Warren State Hospital, as well as hospitalization in Ohio, Kansas, Colorado, and California. (Id., ¶ 3.) He has been diagnosed as having schizophrenia, paranoid type; continuous polysubstance abuse; personality disorder; hyperlipidemia; chronic headache; chronic mental illness; and "lack of insight." (Id. at 4, ¶ 7.)

Petitioner is seeking his immediate release from Danville, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel and denial of due process. Specifically, he raises the following issues:

[1.] Does Petitioner's confinement in Danville State Hospital remain an (sic) unconstitutional in violation of [his] 14th amend (sic) rights;

2. Was petitioner afforded ineffective assistance of counsel;

3. Does Petitioner's continual incarceration remain a violation of [his] 14th amend (sic) substantive due process rights;

[5.] Does Petitioner's continual confinement remain in violation of [his] 14th amend (sic) substantive due process;

[6.] Does Petitioner's unconstitutional confinement remain a violation of [his] 14th amend (sic) due process;

7. Is Petitioner's unconstitutional confinement remain in violation of [his] 14th amend (sic) equal protection of the laws. (Doc. 1 at 4-5.)

III. Discussion

A. Scope of ...


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