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Anderson v. Superintendent Britton

June 1, 2009

MICHALE J. ANDERSON, BH-9234, PETITIONER,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT BRITTON, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mitchell, M.J.

Memorandum and Order

Michale J. Anderson, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale has presented a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed and because reasonable jurists could not conclude that a reasonable basis for appeal exists, a certificate of appealability will be denied.

Anderson is presently serving a life sentence imposed following his conviction, by a jury of criminal homicide at No. CC198912989, in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This sentence was imposed on August 18, 1998.*fn1

The history of this prosecution is somewhat complex. The petitioner was originally convicted on June 18, 1990. On appeal, the Superior Court vacated the sentence and remanded for a new trial, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the award of a new trial.

On remand, a suppression hearing was conducted on April 29, 1998, and the petitioner's motion to suppress his statement was denied. He proceed to trial and on June 12, 1998, a jury convicted him of first degree murder and the instant sentence was imposed. A notice of appeal to the Superior Court was filed in which the issues raised were:

I. The trial court erred in admitting into evidence statements made by the appellant without the benefit of consulting an informed and interested adult prior to waiving his constitutional rights.

II. The trial court erred in admitting into evidence inflammatory photographs of the victim at the scene as well as autopsy photographs.

III. The trial court erred in admitting into evidence inflammatory anti-semitic material purported to belong to appellant.

IV. The verdict of guilty of murder of the first degree was against the weight of the evidence.

V. The evidence was insufficient to sustain a verdict of guilty to murder of the first degree.*fn2 On February 2, 2000, the judgment of sentence was affirmed.*fn3 Leave to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was sought in which these same issues were raised.*fn4 Leave to appeal was denied on July 11, 2000.

A post-conviction relief act petition was filed on or about July 1, 2001. That petition was amended on April 7, 2005 and dismissed on February 21, 2006.*fn5

An appeal was taken to the Superior Court in which the issues presented were:

I. Prior counsel gave ineffective assistance for failing to argue that Dr. Michael Welner's testimony was improper.

II. Appellant counsel gave ineffective assistance for failing to raise the ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failing to file a suppression motion to suppress the physical evidence.*fn6 The Superior Court remanded the matter to the post-conviction court for a supplemental opinion and possibly an evidentiary hearing but retained jurisdiction.*fn7 In a supplemental opinion, the post-conviction court again denied relief and a supplemental appellate brief was filed in the Superior Court in which the issues presented were:

I. Prior counsel gave ineffective assistance for failing to argue that Dr. Michael Welner's testimony was improper.

II. Appellate counsel gave ineffective assistance for failing to raise the ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failing to file a suppression motion to suppress the physical evidence.

III. The PCRA court abused its discretion in permitting the Commonwealth to present inadmissible testimony from Dr. Bruce Wright at the PCRA hearing.*fn8 On August 15, 2008, the denial of post-conviction relief was affirmed.*fn9 A petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was filed in which these same ...


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