The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Conner)
Presently before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) in which petitioner, Myles Ramzee ("Ramzee"), challenges a Pennsylvania state conviction. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.
On March 22, 1999, following a jury trial, Ramzee was convicted of first-degree murder and related crimes in connection with the shooting death of Tyrone "Carona" Hill. Ramzee filed a direct appeal pursuing a multitude of trial court errors. On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court summarized the facts as follows:
Five individuals, including [Ramzee], were charged with the murder of Tyrone Hill a/k/a "Carona". At trial, Verna Russman, a cocaine addict who sold drugs for [Ramzee], testified that the day before the murder, [Ramzee] and other defendants met and discussed a plan to rob Carona. Ms. Russman testified that on the morning of the murder, [Ramzee] and the others went to the apartment where Carona was staying; [Ramzee] walked up behind Carona and shot him in the back of the head. An autopsy revealed Carona died of a gunshot would to the back of the head. When the police arrested [Ramzee], he gave a false name and birth date.
(Doc. 12-2, pp. 2-3) (citing Commonwealth v. Ramzee, 758 A.2d 724 (Pa. Super. 2000) (unpublished memorandum)). The superior court affirmed the judgment of sentence in an unpublished memorandum on April 19, 2000. Ramzee then pursued the following issues of court error in his appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court:
1. Misapplication of the law in determining that the prosecution properly questioned Ramzee's right to remain silent.
2. Error in holding that the Commonwealth could declare a witness hostile to achieve a tactical advantage.
3. Overbroad interpretation of the parameters of bad acts evidence.
4. Error in denying a mistrial when the Commonwealth violated Ramzee's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
5. Error in denying Ramzee's request for various jury instructions. The supreme court denied allocatur on November 14, 2000.
Ramzee pursued his post conviction collateral remedies by filing a timely pro se Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA") petition. The petition was dismissed on April 15, 2003. He appealed to the superior court raising seven issues. (Doc. 12-2, pp. 3-5). The order dismissing his PCRA was affirmed. (Id. at p. 20). He then appealed to the supreme court raising the following five questions for review:
1. Was PCRA counsel ineffective in failing to call trial counsel at the PCRA evidentiary hearing?
2. Did the superior court err in denying petitioner's petition to proceed pro se with his appeal when he claimed PCRA counsel's ineffectiveness?
3. Did the trial court err in denying petitioner's request for appointment of a private investigator for the purpose of locating a witness?
4. Was trial counsel ineffective in failing to investigate or call Terrell Owens and Eric Baldwin or request a continuance of the trial?
5. Was trial counsel ineffective in failing to request a bench warrant for Judith Kehl and William Kile, who failed to appear, or by seeking a continuance? (Doc. 18-5, p. 5). The supreme court declined to consider the appeal. (Doc. 27-2).
On February 7, 2005, Ramzee filed his second PCRA petition raising the issue of whether PCRA counsel was ineffective in failing to call trial counsel at the PCRA evidentiary hearing. The trial court denied the petition as untimely. (Doc. 18-6). The superior court affirmed the denial on November 14, 2005. (Doc. 18-7). Ramzee then filed the present petition.
II. Claims Presented in Federal Petition
Ramzee raises claims of court error on the part of both the trial and PCRA courts and ineffective assistance of trial and PCRA counsel.*fn1
Ramzee sets forth a number of state court error claims in his federal petition. The issues found at IV and VII were exhausted during the direct appeal process. (Id. at p. 4, 6).
It is argued that the trial court erred in allowing the Commonwealth to produce evidence that the petitioner refused to give a recorded statement after his arrest. (Doc. 11-1, p. 4, issue IV). ...