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Story v. Scott

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

September 30, 2014

STANTON T. STORY, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN WILLIE SCOTT, Respondent.

ORDER

ALAN N. BLOCH, District Judge.

AND NOW, this 30th day of September, 2014, upon consideration of Petitioner's "Motion for Leave to Amend Original Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254, and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6), (d)/ Rules 15(c)(1)(b)(2)" (Doc. No. 43), filed in the above captioned matter on November 1, 2013, and upon further consideration of the Commonwealth's response to said motion, and Petitioner's reply thereto,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that said Motion is DISMISSED.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Court sets forth only those facts necessary to its adjudication of this motion, as this case involves a lengthy and undisputed procedural history that is comprehensively set forth in the parties' briefs. See (Doc. Nos. 43, 48).

State Court Proceedings

On March 29, 1975, a jury sitting in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas convicted Petitioner of First Degree Murder and Criminal Conspiracy and sentenced him to the death penalty. On May 7, 1976, Petitioner was sentenced to death for his First Degree murder conviction and received no further penalty for his conspiracy conviction. Petitioner appealed his conviction and sentence, and on January 26, 1978, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed and remanded for a new trial after finding that the trial court's error in admitting certain evidence was not harmless.

After a series of pretrial issues were resolved, [1] Petitioner was retried on October 22, 1979. On October 26, 1979, a jury found him guilty of First Degree Murder and sentenced him to death. After the trial court denied his post sentencing motions, Petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.[2] On December 28, 1981, the Court affirmed his conviction, but vacated his death sentence and imposed a term of life imprisonment.

Between October 14, 1983 and March of 1994, Petitioner attempted to pursue relief in state court pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), and his petition ultimately was denied by the trial court on March 27, 1994 after an evidentiary hearing was held.[3] Petitioner appealed[4] the trial court's denial of his petition to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and on April 5, 1995, the Superior Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

On May 9, 2007, Petitioner filed a pro se Motion for Post Conviction Collateral Relief in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. On April 16, 2012, through counsel, he filed an Amended Petition for Habeas Corpus Relief Pursuant to Article 1, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and for Statutory Post-Conviction Relief under the Post Conviction Relief Act. Petitioner filed a pro se Amended Petition on April 19, 2012, and on September 19, 2012, Judge Sasinoski dismissed the petition. Petitioner subsequently filed a pro se Motion for Post Conviction Collateral Relief in the Court of Common Pleas seeking reinstatement of his appellate rights as to the September 19, 2012 dismissal of his PCRA petition, which Judge Sasinoski granted on January 24, 2013. Petitioner's appeal is currently docketed in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 314 WDA 2013.

Federal Court Proceedings

Sometime between December 4, 1991 and February 12, 1992, [5] while his PCRA petition was pending in state court, Petitioner filed his first pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, docketed at Civil Action No. 92-0281. Petitioner claimed, among other things, that his constitutional rights had been violated because he was tried before a death qualified jury. On August 14, 1992, Magistrate Judge Sensenich issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") that recommended the petition be dismissed because Petitioner had raised both exhausted and unexhausted claims. On September 6, 1992, District Judge McCune issued an Order that dismissed the petition, denied the request for probable cause, and adopted the Magistrate's R&R as the Opinion of the court.

Petitioner appealed and on May 28, 1993, the Third Circuit granted a certificate of probable cause and appointed Michael Bartko of the Federal Public Defender's Office to represent him.[6] On May 27, 1994, the Circuit reversed the District Court's dismissal of his petition and remanded the case for consideration on the merits because of inordinate delay in state court.[7]

Following remand, Petitioner, through attorney Bartko, filed an Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, arguing, among other things, that his rights had been violated because he was tried before a death qualified jury. On February 7, 1997, Magistrate Judge Sensenich denied Petitioner's request for an evidentiary hearing, and issued a R&R recommending that the petition be denied but that a certificate of appealability be granted as to the death qualified jury claim.[8] On March 31, 1997, this Court adopted the Magistrate's R&R as the Opinion of the Court, denied the petition, and granted a certificate of appealability as to the issue of whether ...


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