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Jones v. McGrady

April 27, 2010

CHAUNCEY JONES PETITIONER
v.
JAMES MCGRADY, ET AL. RESPONDENTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lowell A. Reed, Jr., Sr. J.

MEMORANDUM

A pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus, (Doc. No. 1), has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by Chauncey Jones ("Jones"). Respondents have answered the petition and Jones has filed a reply thereto. (Doc. Nos. 12 & 15). Jones is an individual currently incarcerated in the Retreat State Correctional Institution in Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be dismissed.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

After a jury trial before the Honorable Kathryn S. Lewis, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Jones was convicted of attempted murder, aggravated assault, burglary, terroristic threat, two (2) counts of unlawful restraint, two (2) counts of simple assault, possessing an instrument of crime and criminal conspiracy. On June 5, 2001, Jones was sentenced to an aggregate of 19 to 38 years of imprisonment.

Jones filed a direct appeal. On October 15, 2002, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence. Commonwealth v. Jones, No. 1742 EDA 2001 (Pa. Super. Oct. 15, 2002) (unpublished memorandum), attached as Ex. "B" to Respondents' Answer. On February 11, 2005, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Jones' petition for allowance of appeal. Commonwealth v. Jones, 870 A.2d 320 (Pa. 2005).

On December 12, 2005, Jones filed a pro se petition under Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa. Con. Stat. § 9541, et seq. Counsel appointed to represent Jones in his PCRA matter subsequently filed a letter pursuant to Commonwealth v. Finley, 550 A.2d 213 (Pa. Super. 1988), certifying that he had reviewed the entire record and concluded that there were no meritorious issues to advance before the PCRA court. Counsel was permitted to withdraw from representation. After Jones filed a supplemental pro se petition, the PCRA court dismissed Jones' petition as meritless on July 18, 2007. On October 1, 2008, the Superior Court affirmed the denial of Jones' PCRA petition. Commonwealth v. Jones, No. 1956 EDA 2007 (Pa. Super. Oct. 1, 2008) (unpublished memorandum), attached as Ex. "C" to Respondents' Answer. Jones filed a petition for allowance of appeal in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which was denied on February 23, 2009. Commonwealth v. Jones, 966 A.2d 571 (Pa. 2009).

On November 13, 2009,*fn1 Jones filed the instant petition for a federal writ of habeas corpus claiming:

1) the evidence was insufficient to prove that he was guilty of attempted murder;*fn2

2) counsel were ineffective during pretrial investigation, at trial and on appeal; and

3) the proceedings were held in a tribunal without jurisdiction.

Respondents' answer asserts that Jones is not entitled to federal habeas relief because his petition is untimely, and that, in the alternative, his claims are unexhausted and procedurally defaulted or non-cognizable. (Doc. No. 12).

DISCUSSION:

Section 101 of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"), effective April 24, 1996, amended habeas corpuslaw by imposing a one (1) year limitation period to applications for writ of habeas corpus filed by persons in state custody. 28 U.S.C.A. § 2244(d)(1). Section 2244, as amended, provides that the one (1) year 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 ...


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