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Poaches v. Camaron

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 15, 2015

STEPHEN POACHES,
v.
CAMARON, et al.

ORDER

STEWART DALZELL, District Judge.

AND NOW, this 14th day of April, 2015, upon consideration of petitioner Stephen Poaches's pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (docket entry #1), our October 23, 2014 Order referring this matter to the Honorable Henry S. Perkin for a Report and Recommendation, Judge Perkin's February 18, 2015 Report and Recommendation (docket entry #10), petitioner's pro se "Traverse in Response to Commonwealth's Answer to Writ of Habeas" (docket entry #13), and petitioner's pro se objections to the Report and Recommendation (docket entry #14), and the Court finding that:

(a) In his February 18, 2015 Report and Recommendation ("R&R"), Judge Perkin recommends that we deny petitioner's Section 2254 habeas petition without an evidentiary hearing and decline to issue a certificate of appealability because the petition is time-barred, R&R at 1, 9;

(b) Local Civil Rule 72.1 IV(b) provides that "[a]ny party may object to a magistrate judge's proposed findings, recommendations or report under 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(B)... within fourteen days after being served with a copy thereof" by filing "written objections which shall specifically identify the portions of the proposed findings, recommendations or report to which objection is made and the basis for such objections;"

(c) On February 25, 2015, petitioner mailed a document designated "Traverse in Response to Commonwealth's Answer to Writ of Habeas, " which was received on March 4, 2015 and docketed on March 6, 2015, see Traverse;

(d) As of March 4, 2015, which was the deadline for the petitioner to submit his objections, the Clerk of Court reported that no objections to the R&R had been filed, see March 4, 2015 Notice;

(e) But on March 13, 2015, the Clerk of Court docketed petitioner's pro se objections to the R&R, which was dated March 8, 2015 and postmarked March 11, 2014, see Objections at unnumbered page 3;

(f) Petitioner included with his objections the envelope in which he received the R&R and Clerk of Court's Notice, indicating that the letter was not postmarked until February 25, 2015, or one week after Judge Perkin issued his R&R, see Objections Ex. A;

(g) We will therefore consider petitioner's objections timely filed;

(h) We make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which petitioner objects, see 28 U.S.C. § 636;

(i) We briefly rehearse the factual and procedural history of petitioner's case, as drawn from the R&R, which comprehensively cited to the state court record;

(j) After a bench trial, petitioner was convicted of first degree murder as a result of strangling his victim, who was pregnant at the time with a child the petitioner fathered, see R&R at 1 (citing Commonwealth v. Poaches, 988 A.2d 727 (Pa.Super. Ct. 2009) (unpublished memorandum at 1-2), appeal denied, 996 A.2d 491 (2010));

(k) On October 17, 2006, petitioner was sentenced to two concurrent terms of life imprisonment, and since he did not file a direct appeal, his judgment of sentence became final on November 16, 2006, id. at 2;

(l) On May 2, 2007, petitioner filed a pro se petition for collateral review under the Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 9541, et seq., id.;

(m) Petitioner was appointed counsel, who filed a "no merit" letter pursuant to Commonwealth v. Finley, 550 A.2d 213 (Pa.Super. Ct. 1988), and on February 1, 2008, the PCRA Court notified petitioner of its intent to dismiss his petition pursuant to Pa. R. Crim. P. 907, id.;

(n) Petitioner filed a response to the PCRA Court's Rule 907 notice, seeking to add another claim to his petition, but on March 7, 2008, the PCRA Court formally dismissed the petition as frivolous after denying his request because he had failed to submit the required documentation to support the substance of the new claim, id.;

(o) Petitioner appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and on September 22, 2009, the Superior Court vacated the PCRA Court's dismissal of the petition and remanded, see Commonwealth v. Poaches, 988 A.2d 727 (Pa.Super. Ct. 2009), after finding that the PCRA Court should have permitted petitioner to add his claim and then allowed him to later submit documentation, id.;

(p) On remand, petitioner received new appointed counsel, who again filed a no-merit letter pursuant to Finley on April 15, 2011, R&R at 3;

(q) The PCRA Court found appointed counsel's investigation insufficient and appointed new counsel who, after a more thorough investigation, agreed that the claim lacked merit and filed his own Finley letter, id.;

(r) The PCRA Court, upon its own review, agreed with counsel and sent a notice of intent to dismiss pursuant to Rule 907, id.;

(s) The PCRA Court denied and dismissed the PCRA petition as meritless and permitted counsel to withdraw representation, id.;

(t) Petitioner filed a timely pro se appeal in the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and on November 18, 2013, the Superior Court affirmed the PCRA Court in an unpublished memorandum opinion, see Commonwealth v. Poaches, 91 A.3d 1287 (Pa.Super. Ct. 2013) (table);

(u) Petitioner did not seek review in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by the filing deadline of December 18, 2013, but after his filing deadline, petitioner filed a nunc pro tunc allocator petition seeking permission to file a petition for allowance of appeal, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied, R&R at 3;

(v) On October 7, 2014 petitioner signed his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus, and the Clerk of Court docketed it on October 14, 2014, see Petition;

(w) On December 31, 2014, petitioner filed a "Motion for Permission to File An Addendum to the Writ of Habeas Corpus, " see Pet. Motion;

(x) In its response, the District Attorney for the County of Philadelphia argues that the petition is time-barred, as even with statutory tolling to account for petitioner's PCRA proceedings, petitioner filed his petition ninety-five (95) days late, Response at 7;

(y) In his Traverse, petitioner claims that he did not seek review in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court but instead filed a nunc pro tunc allocator petition because he only learned of the Pennsylvania Superior Court's decision with one and a half weeks' time to seek review, and therefore claims he "suffered an Administrative ...


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