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Matthew C. Weigle v. Michael Curley

April 29, 2011

MATTHEW C. WEIGLE,
PETITIONER,
v.
MICHAEL CURLEY, ET AL., RESPONDENTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

On December 23, 2010, petitioner Matthew C. Weigle, ("petitioner") filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, attacking his April 10, 1999, Pennsylvania convictions for Murder and Conspiracy. (Doc. 1.) Respondents filed an Answer and motion to dismiss the petition as untimely. (Doc. 14). Petitioner maintains that the petition is timely. (Doc. 16.) Following careful consideration of the parties' submissions (Docs. 1, 14, 16), and for the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant respondents' motion to dismiss because the petition is not timely filed. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).

I. Background

On April 10, 1999, following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County, petitioner was convicted of murder in the third degree (18 PA. CONS. STAT. § 2502(a)) and conspiracy (18 PA. CONS. STAT. § 903). (Doc. 14, ¶ 1.) On June 10, 1999, he was sentenced to eighteen to thirty-eight months incarceration. (Id. at ¶ 2.)

Post trial motions were filed on June 16, 1999, and denied on October 15, 1999. (Id. at ¶ 3.) On November 9, 1999, he filed a direct appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

The appeal was dismissed on October 11, 2000, for failure to file a brief. (Id. at ¶ 6.) He filed a petition for allowance of appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which was denied on March 28, 2001. (Id. at ¶ 7.) He did not seek a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. (Id.)

On February 13, 2006, petitioner filed a petition for post conviction collateral relief pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 PA. CONS. STAT. §§ 9541-46. (Doc. 14, ¶ 8.) On March 30, 2006, the petition was denied as untimely. (Id.; Doc. 16, at 5.) Petitioner appealed the denial of PCRA relief to the superior court on April 12, 2006. (Doc. 14, ¶ 8.) On January 22, 2007, the superior court affirmed the PCRA court's decision. (Id. at ¶ 10.) He filed a petition for allowance of appeal, but it was denied.

On December 17, 2007, petitioner filed a second PCRA petition. (Doc. 14, ¶ 12.) He amended the petition on February 28, 2008. (Id.) The petition was dismissed on April 15, 2008, as untimely. (Id. at ¶ 13.) He filed a notice of appeal on April 21, 2008. (Id. at ¶ 14.) On July 1, 2009, the superior court affirmed the PCRA court's determination that the petition was untimely. (Id. at ¶ 14.) Petitioner filed a petition for allowance of appeal to the supreme court, which was denied on February 24, 2010. (Id. at ¶15.)

The instant petition was filed on December 23, 2010. (Doc. 1.) Respondents seek to dismiss the petition as untimely.

II. Discussion

The court may "entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). A petition filed under § 2254 must be timely filed under the stringent standards set forth in the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (Apr. 24, 1996). See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) (1). A state prisoner requesting habeas corpus relief pursuant to § 2254 must adhere to a statute of limitations that provides, in relevant part, as follows:

(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The 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 time for seeking such review. . . .

(2) The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under this subsection. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)-(2); see Jones v. Morton, 195 F.3d 153, 157 (3d Cir. 1999). Thus, under the plain terms of § 2244(d)(1)(A), a state court criminal judgment does not become final until appeals have been exhausted or the time for appeal has expired. See Nara v. Frank, 264 F.3d 310, 314 (3d Cir. 2001).

Petitioner was sentenced on June 10, 1999. His judgment became final on June 26, 2001, when his time to seek United States Supreme Court review of his direct appeal proceedings expired. The one-year period for the statute of limitations commenced running as of that date and expired one year later. Hence, the federal petition, which was filed on December 23, 2010, appears to be untimely. However, the ...


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