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Chandler v. Folino

United States District Court, Third Circuit

September 16, 2013

RENE A. CHANDLER, CG-7414, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT FOLINO, Respondent.

REPORT and RECOMMENDATION

ROBERT C. MITCHELL, Magistrate Judge.

I. Recommendation:

It is respectfully recommended that the petition of Rene A. Chandler for a writ of habeas corpus be dismissed and because reasonable jurists could not conclude that a basis for appeal exists, that a certificate of appealability be denied.

II. Report:

Rene A. Chandler, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Greene has presented a petition for a writ of habeas corpus which he has been granted leave to prosecute in forma pauperis.

Chandler is presently serving a life without parole sentence following his conviction upon a plea of guilty to second degree murder and arson. This sentence was imposed on February 17, 1994.[1] There then proceeded a tortured appellate/post-conviction process which is not relevant here[2], but ultimately on December 12, 2008, the Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence.[3] Allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was not sought.

On September 11, 2009, Chandler filed a pro se post-conviction petition and brief.[4] On September 25, 2011, that petition was dismissed.[5] A timely notice of appeal was filed and on November 1, 2011, that appeal was discontinued.[6] However, in the interim, on October 4, 2011, the Court of Common Pleas withdrew its dismissal of the post-conviction petition and appointed new counsel to represent Chandler.[7] On February 29, 2012, the petition for post-conviction relief was denied.[8] An appeal was filed in the Superior Court and on December 13, 2012, the Superior Court affirmed the denial of post-conviction relief.[9] Leave to appeal was denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on May 29, 2013.[10]

In the instant petition executed on June 6, 2013 and received in this Court on June 12, 2013, Chandler contends he is entitled to relief on the following grounds:

1. Counsel was ineffective for not protecting the petitioner's due process rights during the preliminary arraignment proceedings, in regard to the complaint for criminal homicide...
2. Counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate the case itself, before the petitioner was induced to plead guilty...
3. Counsel was ineffective for failing to even try and get the petitioner a plea bargain before having the petitioner plea[d] guilty, and counsel was ineffective for failing to advise the petitioner that he was unable to get the petitioner a plea bargain after counsel told the petitioner that he was working on one.
4. The trial court erred in finding the evidence sufficient to support the guilty plea to second degree murder, or whether a lesser degree of murder should have been found.
5. Counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate and raise the issue of petitioner's prior history of drug and alcohol abuse that started when the petitioner was ten (10) years old. And up until the time the crime occurred, along with the petitioner's mental health history, that also began when the petitioner was very young, and up until the present day.
6. P.C.R.A. counsel was ineffective when she failed to protect the petitioner's due process rights when they filed a motion for leave to withdraw as ...

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