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Smith v. Brooks

August 4, 2008

STEVEN SMITH, PETITIONER
v.
MARILYN BROOKS, ET AL., RESPONDENTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christopher C. Conner United States District Judge

(Judge Conner)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the court is a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, filed on May 17, 2007, by petitioner Steven Smith ("Smith"), an inmate currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Forest in Marienville, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1.) Smith is challenging a 2002 Pennsylvania state court conviction. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

I. Background

Smith was charged in the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County with terroristic threats, simple assault by physical menace, recklessly endangering another person, and harassment. (Doc. 11, at 1.) On October 11, 2002, a jury found Smith guilty of endangering another person. (Id.) The following month, he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of eleven months to two years. (Id. at 2.)

He appealed his judgment of sentence to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania raising the following issues:

1. Whether the [trial] court erred in denying the Motion to Recuse or Disqualify the District Attorney's Office where the Appellant was initially represented by an Assistant Public Defender who then transferred to the District Attorney's Office?

2. Whether the [trial] court erred in denying the requested mistrial where members of the jury saw the Appellant outside the courtroom being escorted by Sheriff's deputies? (Doc. 11, at 5.) The superior court affirmed the judgment of sentence on October 23, 2003. (Id. at 6.)

On July 1, 2004, he filed a petition pursuant to the Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 PA.CONS. STAT. §§ 9541-9545 (1982). (Doc. 11, at 26.) He amended his PCRA petition on October 18, 2004. Smith contended that his counsel was ineffective because he failed to introduce police reports at trial that would demonstrate that the victim had assaulted and harassed him in the past. (Id. at 49.) In October 2005, the PCRA court issued an order notifying Smith of its intent to dismiss the petition. The PCRA petition was dismissed on November 1, 2005. (Doc. 11, at 59.)

Smith filed a timely appeal with the superior court raising the sole issue that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by not presenting evidence of the victim's past violent behavior. (Id. at 68.) The superior court affirmed the denial of the PCRA petition on April 17, 2007. (Id. at 73.) Smith did not pursue an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The present petition, which was filed on May 17, 2007, seeks relief based on the following grounds:

1. Illegal sentence.

2. Ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to obtain police reports demonstrating ...


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