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Speck v. Munley

United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

July 28, 2014

WILLIAM E SPECK, Plaintiff
v.
THOMAS J MUNLEY, et al., Defendants

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

THOMAS M. BLEWITT, United States Magistrate Judge

I. BACKGROUND.

On May 23, 2014, Plaintiff William E. Speck, formerly a prisoner at SCI-Albion, located in Albion, Pennsylvania, filed, pro se, this action on a 10-page form civil rights Complaint, under 42 U.S.C. §1983.[1] Plaintiff was recently released from prison and he now resides at 2 High Street, Oil City, PA. (Docs. 9 & 10). Also on May 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2), and signed a form in which he did not Consent to Jurisdiction by United States Magistrate Judge (Doc. 3). Plaintiff was then issued a Standing Practice Order by this Court (Doc. 4). On May 28, 2014 the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a 30 Day Administrative Order directing Plaintiff to pay a filing fee or submit the necessary forms required to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 5).

On June 16, 2014, Plaintiff submitted an Authorization form and a certified copy of his trust fund account for the past six months to the Clerk of Court for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 6). On June 19, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a letter indicating he was no longer incarcerated at SCI-Albion and he was residing in Warren, PA. (Doc. 8). Plaintiff also inquired about what he would need to do in order to obtain legal representation. (Id.).

On June 25, 2014, Sandra L. Gorniak, Accountant for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, filed a letter stating that: “On 6/14/14, Mr. William Speck HM1387, an inmate of State Correctional Institution at Albion, was released. The last known address for him is: 215 Hoffman Street, Oil City, PA 16301. Our records indicate that there is a balance due of $350.00 for case #3:14-cv-992; no funds have been deducted from his institutional account.” (Doc. 9). Also, on June 25, 2014, Plaintiff notified the Court that his permanent address is 2 High Street, Oil City, PA 16301. (Doc. 10).

Named as Defendants in the instant case are: President Judge of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas, the Honorable Thomas J. Munley; Trial and Sentencing Judge of Lackawanna County Court, the Honorable Michael Barrasse; Lackawanna County District Attorney Andrew J. Jarbola III; Lackawanna County Assistant District Attorney Lisa A. Swift; former Lackawanna County Assistant District Attorney Michelle L. Olshefski; and Lackawanna County Clerk of Courts Mary F. Rinaldi.[2] (Doc. 1, p. 1).

II. ALLEGATIONS OF COMPLAINT (DOC. 1).

In the Statement of Claim of Plaintiff’s present Complaint, Doc. 1, pp. 2-8, Plaintiff simply avers:

1. Trial Court (Judge Michael Barrasse) committed reversible error when it granted PCRA Counsel’s request to withdraw as counsel (dated 12/31/09) on the basis of a Turner-Finley letter that failed to fully comport with applicable standards governing withdrawal in post-conviction/PCRA proceedings, without a hearing, where counsel failed to explain, in detail, the nature and extent of his review, failed to list each issue, failed to argue or mention the charge of simple assault and failed to explain the Defendant’s claim lacked merit.
2. The Motion to Withdraw, Motion granting this said motion and the order denying PCRA are all docketed on the same date, 8/26/10.
3. Judge Michael Barrasse answered this said PCRA only because there was a letter sent to him from the District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dated 8/16/10, from the Honorable Judge Chester Harhut.
4. PCRA/Trial Court (Judge Michael Barrasse) committed reversible error when it dismissed the said PCRA Petition without first considering Defendant’s Motion for Objection to Turner-Finley letter [].
5. PCRA/Trial Court committed reversible error when it denied Defendant’s Motions and/or requests for case file on numerous occasions, which were necessary for PCRA Proceedings and Appeal process [].
6. PCRA/Trial Court has inordinately and/or inexcusably delayed disposing of Defendant’s Notice of Appeal, nunc pro tunc, filed 5/3/11, docketed 7/11/11, answered on or about 12/16/13, 31 months after said motion was filed, claiming said Motion was untimely.
7. PCRA/Trial Court committed reversible error when it prolonged/delayed Defendant’s PCRA and Appeal, nunc pro tunc, until Defendant’s prison term of three to seven years was served and expired [].
8. Defendant received (from Kurt T. Lynott, Court Appointed Attorney) a Turner-Finely letter dated 12/31/09 received 1/11/10. This said letter did not get docketed until 8/26/10.
9. Defendant filed an Objection to Turner-Finely letter dated 1/28/10 and time stamped 2/2/10, in accordance with the prisoner mailbox rule. Said motion does not appear on the docket.
10. On 9/21/10, Defendant attempted to appeal dismissal of PCRA Petition by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Clerk of Courts in accord with the prisoner mailbox rule.
11. On 9/27/10, Defendant attempted to file a Petition For Leave to Appeal In Forma Pauperis (IFP) to the Clerk of Courts.
12. Although Defendant’s Appeal and IFP Petition’s were mailed to the Clerk of Courts almost a week apart, the clerk time stamped both said Petitions received on 11/18/10, causing them to be time-barred.
13. Despite the Clerk of Courts delay in time stamping said Petitions on 3/2/11the Clerk returned both said Petitions back to Defendant. Subsequently, 3/2/11 is the date the (IFP) Petition appears on the Docket.
14. Defendant’s said Petitions contained no defects that would have prevented them from being transmitted to the Appellate Court named in the notice, therefore, the Clerk of Courts committed an abuse of discretion by sending said Petition back to Defendant, rather than accepting and transmitting them to the [sic] Prothonotary of the Superior Court showing the actual date of receipt, as required by Pa.R.A.P 405(b), causing said Petitions to be time barred.
15. On 5/3/11, Defendant filed a Notice of Appeal, nunc pro tunc, attempting to correct the Clerk of Courts error. This said Notice does not appear on the docket until 7/11/11.
16. The Clerk of Courts did not send to Defendant many Orders/Decisions/Denials from the PCRA/Trial Court, throughout the litigation process for PCRA and Appeal proceedings; In truth there has been nothing but delay’s and failure to properly docket Defendant’s filings throughout this litigation of PCRA and Appeal proceedings by the PCRA/Trial Court and the Clerk of Courts.
18. (Sic) Therefore Defendant believes and avers that there is a breakdown in the Clerk of Courts duty prescribed by Pa.R.A.P.905(a)(3), 905(b), and Rule 576, filing, requiring the Clerk, upon receipt of the Petition, shall immediately time ...

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