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House v. Warden, Sci-Mahanoy

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 24, 2015

ROBERT J. HOUSE, Petitioner
v.
WARDEN, SCI-MAHANOY, Respondent

MEMORANDUM

EDWIN M. KOSIK, District Judge.

Robert J. House, an inmate confined at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy, seeks for the third time in this court to reopen his federal habeas proceeding pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). For the second time, he attempts to rely on the Supreme Court's holding in Martinez v. Ryan, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1309, 182 L.Ed.2d 272 (2012). For the reasons that follow, his motion will be denied.

I. Background

Following a jury trial in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, House was convicted of Aggravated Assault and Criminal Conspiracy on June 17, 2004. He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 13½ to 27 years on September 9, 2004. He thereafter pursued a direct appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court raising the issue of trial court abuse of discretion when it allowed the Commonwealth, over defense objection, to introduce evidence of an offense for which he had previously been acquitted. On August 9, 2005, the Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence on direct appeal. (Id; Commonwealth v. House, No. 1572 MDA 2004.) No petition for allowance of appeal was filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

On October 28, 2005, House filed a pro se petition for relief under the Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 9541 et seq. The PCRA court appointed counsel on November 9, 2005, and granted leave to file a supplemental PCRA petition. On January 30, 2006, appointed counsel filed a Motion to Withdraw under the PCRA. On July 7, 2006, the PCRA court issued a Memorandum and Order finding the issues raised by House in his PCRA petition lacked merit, granting counsel's Motion to Withdraw, and providing House with notice of the intent to dismiss his PCRA petition. On August 31, 2006, the PCRA court dismissed the petition.

House thereafter filed a pro se appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court from the denial of PCRA relief. In the appeal, the following grounds were raised:

1. Denial of effective assistance of trial counsel for failing to obtain and/or utilize prior inconsistent statements of Brent Mosley.
2. Denial of effective assistance of trial counsel for failing to call Keith Campbell as a witness.
3. Denial of effective assistance of trial counsel for failing to object to the trial court's coercive instruction to the jury.
4. Denial of effective assistance of trial counsel for failing to object to the improper admission of non-testifying co-defendant's inculpatory statement.
5. Denial of effective assistance of counsel on direct appeal for failing to preserve a valid sentencing issue.
6. Denial of effective assistance of counsel on direct appeal for failing to argue the lack of sufficient evidence to support the conspiracy verdict.
7. Denial of effective assistance of counsel during PCRA proceedings for failing to raise direct appeal counsel's ineffectiveness regarding trial ineffectiveness.

(Doc. 10, Ex. K.) On October 30, 2007, the Superior Court affirmed the denial of PCRA relief. ( Id., Ex. L, Commonwealth v. House, No. 1720 MDA 2006.) A petition for allowance of appeal was ...


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