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Jeffrey Thompson v. Richard Southers

October 25, 2012

JEFFREY THOMPSON
v.
RICHARD SOUTHERS, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stewart Dalzell, J.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 25th day of October, 2012, upon consideration of petitioner Jeffrey Thompson's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (docket entry # 1), Thompson's motion for discovery (docket entry # 7), United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth T. Hey's Report and Recommendation (docket entry # 8), to which Thompson filed objections (docket entry # 10), and the Court finding that:

(a) On October 3, 2006, Judge Anthony A. Sarcione of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas conducted a plea hearing at which Thompson pled guilty to the second degree murder, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2502(b), and robbery, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3701(a)(1)(i), of sixteen-year old Gregory Paschall, Junior on February 12, 2005;

(b) As to the second degree murder charge and its predicate robbery charge, the parties agreed as to the necessary elements of these offenses, Oct. 3, 2006 Tr. 27:14-29, 31:4-32:19, 43:5-47:4;

(c) At the plea hearing, the Commonwealth offered to prove the following at trial:

This incident occurred in the early morning hours of February 12th, 2005 at 14 Railroad Street in Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania. On that date, Jeffrey Thompson caused the death of Gregory Paschall, whose date of birth was February 13, 1988, while Thompson was engaged in the perpetration of a felony, that being a robbery. And the robbery statute is inflicting serious bodily injury in the course of committing a theft.

Thompson caused Gregory's death by striking him in the head at least twice with a metal bar approximately four feet long, resulting in fatal head trauma to Gregory's head. Thompson then took approximately $100 from Gregory's pocket.

Dr. Ian C. Hood, a forensic pathologist, determined the cause and manner of death to a reasonable degree of medical certainty. Thompson did confess to these acts in a statement to police. id. 86:1-24;

(d) Judge Sarcione then asked Thompson if he heard, agreed, and admitted to the facts as stated by the district attorney and Thompson replied, "Yes, I do", id. 87:1-5;

(e) Thompson also expressed his understanding that "by admitting those facts and pleading guilty . . . [he was] saying, Judge, you can treat me as having committed the crime of second degree murder, felony murder that is the subject of this plea agreement", id. 87:6-12;

(f) Judge Sarcione's colloquy leaves no doubt that Thompson knowingly and voluntarily entered into his guilty plea, id. 21:12-15,24:11-20,58:17-62:9, 111:5-112:14;

(g) Indeed, at the same proceeding, Thompson himself read a statement in open court wherein he admitted: "I killed Gregory Paschall, Junior", 113:6-7; see also id. 113:22-23 ("I took your son's life"); id. 114:4-7 ("I'm sorry I took the life of your G. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I killed your boyfriend G.");

(h) Now, several years later, Thompson has changed his tune and filed a petition for habeas corpus relief under section 2254 alleging, among other things, that his plea was coerced;

(i) The case was referred to Judge Hey for a Report and Recommendation (the "R&R");

(j) After thoroughly reviewing the parties' submissions and the record in this matter, Judge Hey's R&R reasons that Thompson's federal habeas corpus petition is untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) because he had until November 2, 2007 to file his petition but did not do so until January 3, 2012, R&R 5-6;

(k) The R&R concludes that the federal petition should be dismissed as untimely because there is no applicable statutory or equitable tolling ...


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