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Clemmons v. Capoza

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

November 18, 2014

CHARLIE CLEMMONS, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT CAPOZA, et al., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM

JOHN E. JONES, III, District Judge.

On July 1, 2014, Petitioner, Charlie Clemmons, an inmate currently confined at the Greene State Correctional Institution in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, ("SCI-Greene"), filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 6). Clemmons challenges his 1980 conviction and 1981 sentence imposed by the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. (Doc. 6). By Order dated October 27, 2014, this matter was transferred from the Western District of Pennsylvania to the Middle District of Pennsylvania and was electronically received in this Court on October 28, 2014.[1] (Docs. 9, 10). The petition is presently before the Court for screening and, for the reasons set forth below, will be dismissed.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW - SCREENING

Habeas corpus petitions must be promptly screened[2] and are subject to summary dismissal "[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court." See Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. "A petition may be dismissed without review of an answer when the petition is frivolous, or obviously lacking in merit, or where... the necessary facts can be determined from the petition itself....'" Belt v. Scism, 2010 WL 3715717, *1 (M.D. Pa. 2010) (quoting Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 906 (1970)).

II. BACKGROUND

A. State Court Proceedings

The underlying crime in this case occurred on June 8, 1980 when Clemmons, a long distance truck driver, fatally shot another man on interstate 81 after an argument over the C.B. radio. Commonwealth v. Clemmons, 479 A.2d 955 (1984). On November 13, 1980, following a jury trial in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, Clemmons was found guilty of first degree murder. (Doc. 6). On January 28, 1981, Clemmons was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. ( Id. ).

Clemmons filed a direct appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Commonwealth v. Clemmons, 312 Pa. Super. 475, 459 A.2d 1 (Pa. Super. 1983). On direct appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court vacated Clemmons' conviction and remanded the case for a hearing to address claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Id. On June 28, 1984, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the Superior Court's Order and reinstated the judgment of sentence. Clemmons, 479 A.2d 955.

In July 1986, Clemmons filed his first petition under Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541, et seq., ("PCRA"). The PCRA Court denied the petition on April 21, 1988. (Doc. 6). Clemmons appealed the denial to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. On October 11, 1988, the Superior Court affirmed the PCRA Court's denial of relief, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied allowance of appeal on September 1, 1989. Commonwealth v. Clemmons, 384 Pa. Super. 639, 551 A.2d 893 (Pa. Super. 1988) (Table), appeal denied, 522 Pa. 623, 564 A.2d 915 (Pa. 1989) (Table).

In June 1989, Clemmons filed a second PCRA petition. (Doc. 6). The PCRA court denied the petition in August 1990. Clemmons appealed the denial to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which affirmed the PCRA Court's denial of relief on December 5, 1991. Commonwealth v. Clemmons, 418 Pa. Super. 628, 606 A.2d 1226 (Pa. Super. 1991) (Table).

Clemmons then filed a third PCRA petition, which was denied by the PCRA Court. (Doc. 6). He appealed the denial to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Commonwealth v. Clemmons, 453 Pa. Super. 679, 683 A.2d 309 (1996) (Table). On June 14, 1996, the Superior Court affirmed the PCRA Court's denial of relief. Id.

On February 4, 2002, Clemmons filed his fourth PCRA petition. (Doc. 6); Commonwealth v. Clemmons, Criminal No. CP-22-CR-0000918-1980 (Dauphin Cty. Ct. Com. Pl. filed June 20, 1980). On May 13, 2002, the PCRA Court dismissed the petition. ( Id. ).

In November 2004, Clemmons filed a fifth PCRA petition. (Doc. 6); Clemmons, CP-22-CR-0000918-1980. On May 18, 2005, the PCRA ...


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